Saturday, December 06, 2008

Little tea brewing trick

As you are brewing tea, what happens when you let hot water inside the teapot for a long time?
The tea overbrews. Unless it is excellent, it will become bitter and/or astringent. The same also applies to leftovers, tea that stays inside the teapot because it hasn't been completely emptied.
See for yourself! Next time you make tea, see if you pour all your tea out. Once you think you're done, open the lid and pour again over a cup while slowly moving your teapot right and left. Do so until the very last drop.

How did you do? How much tea still came out?
- Nothing: high marks! You know the Way of the Tea! Lu Yu has reserved a seat and a tea cup for you in Heaven.
- 1 or 2 drops: quite good, you're almost there!
- Several drops: OK. Be more focused next time!
- A little stream: Bad. It's time to read all my tea lessons again or, at least, finish this article.

It wasn't easy to get all the tea out when the lid was closed. So, the first solution is to use your finger (thumb or index) to open the lid when you finish pouring your tea. See here:
Secondly, be patient and relaxed. Take a few more seconds to slowly move the pot in different direction to get all the tea to come out. It will both bring more flavors to this cup (since the last drops are the most concentrated) and make the next brew better!

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

hmmm, i have seen this article before in your blog. i wonder what made you decide to rehash this article again?

Stephane said...

I guess you refer to my article of March 29, 2007. I used the same picture again, that's true, but the content of my article is somewhat different. And it is written in French.
Also, if you notice that I repeat some ideas, it means you're following me quite closely! That's really a compliment! Thanks. I guess that, as I teach, I also often repeat the same principles.

Anonymous said...

i value this blog very highly. some of us do read nearly most of your articles and try to learn from reading them.

Arno said...

Envisages-tu de réintégrer dans ta liste des théières Xishi ou autres d'un volume de 1O cl ou moins ? :)
Ce serait une aubaine pour tous ceux qui comme moi en cherche désespérement (en France en tout cas)!

edp said...

@ arno

C'est vrai que dans beaucoup de cas, pour les pu er, des contenances entre 60 et 80 ml sont idéales.

On peut en trouver en France (mail moi sur mon mail blogger si tu veux, je te dirai), après tout le problème est d'en trouver de très bonne qualité et à prix raisonnables ; et pour cela, ce site est idéal !

odin said...

Mon commentaire n'a rien à faire ici mais je tiens à dire que le Oriental Beauty que Stéphane propose dans sa sélection cette année est tout simplement délicieux. Je n'ai pas goûté le Top mais je suis totalement sous le charme de la version basique !

Félicitations à toi stéphane pour avoir sélectionné de thé. Mes papilles te disent merci.

Israel said...

I have been trying this trick for the last few days and I find that both of the pots I have been using continue to drip and dribble for about 30 seconds after most of the tea is in the pitcher. I wonder if this speaks of my lack of skill/patience or the quality of the pots? Or all of the above.

best,
Israel

Stephane said...

Israel,
Or how packed with leaves your teapot is. The more leaves, the easier for the liquid to get trapped. So, to some extent, I would say this is quite unavoidable. It's probably a combination of all 3. Teapot and especially filter design may also have an impact.

Israel said...

I have noticed that pots with a ball filter drain much more easily (with puerh and balled oolongs)than those with a multiple hole design. I imagine that pots of the multiple/single-holed variety take more skill to drain gracefully.

p.s.-- I received the holiday package from you today and, again, I thank you for your unparalleled generosity. The teapot is lovely! Warm wishes to you and your family.

Entropyembrace said...

Does this little trick apply to all kinds of tea? I often hear that green and white teas taste best if some water is left in the pot between brews. I haven't tried both with the same green and white teas to be sure either way...maybe some experimenting is in order. :)

Stephane said...

Entropyembrace,
For roasted and aged teas, this trick has another purpose. The additional air lightens the brew and dissipates too heavy smells.

For light green tea, it is best to keep as much fragrance as possible. So, the lifting of the lid should only happen at the very end of the pour, for the last drops.

My brewing advice for green/white teas differs from most other sources, though. I use hotter water, always boiled first. I would reduce the temperature a bit if the leaves are not top grade.

Leaving water inside the pot may be a way to reduce the temperature of the infusion and have the leaves release less flavors during the next brew. So, this way may be consistent with low temperature brewing (and lower grade greens), but I prefer the other way.