82

Tried a number of variations and found that whether brewing gongfu or western, water should be very hot to boiling (definitely no lower than 90 C) and start out with a fairly long first infusion – 1 min in gaiwan, 3 minutes western. Lower temps and shorter brewing times just don’t bring out the flavors.

Gongfu (90 C, 3g, 50ml) – start with 1 min steep, then 30, then adding 10/15 seconds after. First infusion has a light, buttery aroma & flavor at front, then sweet florals, then creamy finish. Aftertaste keeps creamy, sweet, floral. Second steep brings out honey/syrupy aroma, and honey is now present with the buttery florals. Finish is honeysuckle & a little cashew? Third steep keeps these flavors & adds a hint of grassy bitterness in the middle, which then complicates the previously smooth finish. By steep 5 the creamy flavors & textures are receding, giving a “cleaner” finish. By 7 & 8, the grassy florals are growing, a bit more bitterness, but still pleasant. Steep 9 has first hint of dryness. These impressions remain through 10-12, but it seems like a tiny bit of smooth creaminess returns on the finish with these. Flavors overall are growing weaker by 12, so stopped there.

Western (boiling, 4g, 250ml) – start with 3 minutes, adding 1 min after.
Has pretty much all the same flavors & aromas as in gongfu, but not as layered. Starts creamy & buttery floral, sweeter florals in middle, lingering aftertaste of sweet floral & buttery cashew nuttiness. Second steep has less floral, less butter, but still creamy, nutty, and a little grassy sweetness. Steeps 3 & 4 are about the same, just growing a little thinner & losing flavor by 4.

Cold brew – 1g/100ml, overnight chill. Quite nice flavor, though creamy butter might be a tiny bit rich as iced tea. Florals present but not as strong, very smooth overall.

Bluegreen

Quite a review: the variety of the preparation methods tried is outright impressive.

Girl Meets Gaiwan

Thanks! I’m trying to make the most of my samples. It helps me justify to myself the number of little packets I’m hoarding!

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Comments

Bluegreen

Quite a review: the variety of the preparation methods tried is outright impressive.

Girl Meets Gaiwan

Thanks! I’m trying to make the most of my samples. It helps me justify to myself the number of little packets I’m hoarding!

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Bio

I’ve been a tea drinker for at least twenty years, but only began to explore fine teas in the last few. Learning to brew gongfu style in my first gaiwan made me aware that not only is there an amazing array of teas out there to try, but each tea has the potential to have a great variety of flavors revealed by different preparations.

I’m still figuring out what works for me as far as tasting notes/ratings, but whenever possible (tiny sample sizes and time commitment often being limiting factors), I like to brew each tea I try a few ways: gongfu style, western style, cold brewed. I’ve enjoyed seeing how these treatments change any given tea, especially since some teas may fall flat in one preparation but improve or shine in others.

I’m hoping to gain more education in greens and whites. I’m intimidated by (but curious about) pu-erh. Oolong and black teas are my go-tos.

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North Carolina

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