A Tea Addict's Journal

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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11 responses so far ↓

  • Anonymous // July 20, 2010 at 6:36 pm | Reply

    Just what types of tea can be brewed this way?

  • Anonymous // July 29, 2010 at 2:38 pm | Reply

    Hello Marshal,

    My name is Björn and I am currently discovering the world of Chinese tea and stumbled over your blog. Since it seems that you are a real connoisseur I would like to ask you some questions, if I may 🙂

    1) Which types of tea would you recommend to start with? Green tea, Oolong, Pu-Erh, or something else?
    2) I really wanna try a pu-erh tea. Which one would you recommend trying? Which one would you say is one of the best pu-erh teas available? Which are the best producers? Do you have a good source in China who you trust or how do you get pu-erh?
    3) Which green teas are the best to try? Which are the most expensive and which have a better price-quality level? Do you have a trustworthy source in China or how do you get your tea? Which are the best producers/ farms?

    As you can probably see from my questions, I am really curious about teas. But since I am a beginner, I would like to learn more from someone who knows about it. I don’t wanna learn wrong things or fake things that you find mostly online. I wanna meet the real teas 🙂

    I have no problem ordering from China, in fact I would like to order straight from the source.

    So with all that being said, I really hope that you will help me. Maybe you can be some sort of mentor 🙂

    Thank you!

  • MarshalN // August 12, 2010 at 10:22 pm | Reply

    @Björn – 

    Hi Bjorn, I think for your questions

    1) It should really be what you like. There’s no “good” or “bad” tea to start.
    2) I think for puerh — your best bet, at the moment, would be to try sampling from various places. Since you sound like you haven’t tried much, getting a feel for the variety of teas out there is a good first step.
    3) I personally like Longjing more than others, but Longjing also tends to be more expensive and have lots of different grades. What’s more available for you?

  • Taiwanese Tea Compendium | TeaDB // August 4, 2013 at 1:35 am | Reply

    […] water in the cup. Use a lidded cup if possible. Check out Marshaln’s highly-informative posts (1,2) on grandpa-style […]

  • Wuyi Oolong Compendium | TeaDB // February 1, 2014 at 1:35 pm | Reply

    […] water in the cup. Use a lidded cup if possible. Check out Marshaln’s highly-informative posts (1,2) on grandpa-style […]

  • Matt Flickinger // January 8, 2015 at 11:06 pm | Reply

    Should you be rising with grandpa style, especially with pu erh? If so, what’s the most effective say to do so, in your opinion?

    • MarshalN // January 13, 2015 at 2:14 am | Reply

      I do rinse with grandpa style sometimes – you could buy a lid, or use a plate to cover the mouth of the cup, or even a bigger spoon. Whatever works for your wares.

  • Carlos // November 22, 2016 at 7:55 am | Reply


    First of all, thank you for your blog. For a beginner like me, it’s an invaluable information source.

    As for the Grandpa style, a question… I don’t know where did i caught in with this info, but i drag the notion with me that a stale tea is not very healthy to brew, giving way to bacteria and other micro-organisms.

    As an old tea drinker, what are your thoughts on that?

    Thanks in advance


    • MarshalN // November 22, 2016 at 10:51 am | Reply

      What do you mean by stale tea?

      • Carlos // November 23, 2016 at 12:34 pm | Reply

        Maybe “stale” it’s not the right word for it.

        I mean tea that spoils for being wet and cold for some time (the time between infusions on your grandpa style).

        When i brew some tea, not gong fu style, i normally never re-use the leafs more than 2 or 3 times, because i get the feeling that’s not a good idea to store moist tea leaves for long, although i also feel it to be a waste of leaves…

  • DR // June 12, 2019 at 8:25 pm | Reply


    Thank you for being one of the only people to shed light on this rather arcane topic!

    Although I have never been to China, I have seen Chinese people brew tea this way in Chinese restaurants, social settings, etc.

    Having both an instinctive sense of respect for the methodologies employed in the home of tea as well as a strong desire to brew tea in the most convenient way possible, “grandpa style” is my favored approach. But I have run into a hitch.

    This works well for some teas and poorly for others. By which I mean, that some teas float and others sink.

    I have heard that teas that are more moist will tend to float, which makes sense. But I was wondering if there was anything more than that to it and whether, in your experience, things like the type and grade of tea, region, etc, have had an impact.

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