A Tea Addict's Journal

Entries from July 2010

Grandpa style techniques

July 19, 2010 · 11 Comments

Life has been pretty busy the past few weeks, and I’m getting ready for a trip, so things have been hectic.  Tea has been mostly confined to grandpa style tea.  Having been doing it recently though, I have a few ideas.

1) Never, ever go below the halfway point in the cup when drinking, and preferably keep it at 2/3 full at all times.  You need that amount of tea to re-add water and not end up with a really diluted cup.  This is pretty obvious.

2) Use a lidded cup, if possible.  Don’t cover when making the tea initially.  However, start covering the cup once you’re refilling the cup the 2nd or 3rd time.  This way, the extra heat retained helps extra the tea a little more.

3) When pouring the water, especially a little later (or when the tea has cooled) pour with vigor, and pour along the edge of the cup.  That way, your water will stir up the tea a little and it helps mix the old tea and new water together a little.  I noticed a difference between pouring in the middle and pouring on the side.  Pouring on the side helps the flavour a little later on.

4) It’s actually a good way to drink tea this way as a method of evaluation.  In a way, grandpa style is just a big mug of competition tasting done over a long time.  There are nuances that you’ll get from the tea that you don’t necessarily get from brewing normally.  One of my puerh, for example, displays a smokiness that is not evident when brewed “normally” but the smoke comes out in a grandpa brewing.

5) Don’t add too much leaves.  It’s very easy, when used to gongfu brewing, to use too much leaves for grandpa style.  It’s very toxic.

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Narratives and taste

July 6, 2010 · 2 Comments

I just read a post by Felix Salmon, and I must say the same phenomenon happens a lot in tea as well.  It’s probably also happening with increased frequency.  When you get a story with a tea, the tea somehow, sometimes, anyway, becomes better, or more interesting.  When I talk to friends who are not particularly interested in tea, telling a story has a way of drawing them into a particular drink than if it were simply just some generic “aged oolong”, which does not sound too glamourous.  “Stored for ten years on an organic Taiwanese tea farm”, then you’re getting somewhere.

Most of this, of course, is just some marketing claptrap.  They exist because they sell the teas in question. But then, sometimes there are stories like the old jian of Liu’an that they supposedly found in some medicine shop.  Hard to beat those.

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Running out of tea

July 2, 2010 · Leave a Comment

I’m running out of tea.

No, not completely, just at my current location.  I still have lots of tea at home, and another stash in Hong Kong, hopefully growing older (but not too much moldier) and waiting for me to consume them at some point in the distant future.

Right now, though, I’m running out of tea.  I’m down to about 1/10 of a 300g bag.  It’s very distressing.  It also tells me just about how much tea I consume over a week or a month.

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