97

I have to admit I’m somewhat new to the world of Pu-erhs. My first taste of Pu-ehr was the Kim Fung Brand. I knew when I bought it that it was going to be very different. I am now trying to expand my tea horizons by delving into the 2 samplers that Verdant offers. It will be trial and error I’m sure. How much tea and how long to brew it?? I have been watching numerous videos on YouTube to learn. For this tea I washed it once in the Yixing. The first steeping was a lite orange liquor with a lite aroma. I broke the leaf up which I did not do with my tasting of the Artisan Revival. Verdant states that the samples are good for 2 or 3 tastings. Maybe I should increase the leaf in my brewings. The second steeping was a darker liquor and the aroma was more intense. When I was pouring the water on the leaves for the 3rd I could tell I was in for a treat. I was getting the Redwood and the numbing which Geoffrey spoke of. When I brew again I will definitely not be as stingy with the tea. Each sampler will yield 2 brewing sessions for me to better evaluate these precious teas. Until then, I can only say I am still too Green to render a rating. One thing I can say is when I do brew again I know I will be in for a treat….

Geoffrey

The Farmer’s Cooperative tea is very interesting! For my part, I found that less is more with this one. If you can break off a piece that is about the size of a teaspoon, it will quickly come apart by itself with a couple rinses. I always rinse this one twice before drinking it. I think at larger leaf quantities this one can get unruly for some people. In that sense it is a “loaded” tea. Once you hit your own sweet spot with brewing it though, prepare yourself for a fascinating 15+ steeping journey! Many repeated steepings have a synergistic effect with this one; it grows on you the more you drink it, with the previous infusion priming your senses to experience the next one. I have to return to this one myself now! You note is making me remember how good it is…

Charles Thomas Draper

Thank you Geoffrey your advice is appreciated….

Kashyap

love Banzhang pu erhs….lovely and complex

Charles Thomas Draper

Ok. I had to mention this. I brewed 4 maybe 5 pots and then decided to go out. I left the wet leaves in the Yixing. I came home and decided to boil some water and make iced tea out of the rest. I used boiling water and I let it steep for maybe 15 to 20 minutes. The result was a fruity, peachlike nectar. I am steeping another so I can fill the Mason Jar. I think I have a winner….

Geoffrey

Fruity, peachlike nectar… Amazing. I’ve not encountered that face of it yet. Further testimony to this tea’s complexity.

I gotta say, Charles, some of your intrepid adventures in tea brewing just captivate me. I recall the old tagline from Star Trek, “To boldly go where no man has gone before!”

Jim Marks

In my opinion, and please know that I am a minority of one on this point as far as I am aware, this business of “washing” pu-erh accomplishes nothing but ruining the first steep. As far as I can tell, it is a tradition borne out of priorities related to hospitality, not good cups of tea. You’re ensuring your guest doesn’t get dust or fannings in their cup (and probably in an era before quality control systems and procedures also making sure they didn’t get a twig, bat droppings, or whatever else accidentally ended up in or on the brick while it aged in the cave).

But with a tea where your first steeping is usually less than 2 minutes, sometimes as little as 1 minute, the 10-15 seconds you spend rinsing — that can be upwards of 20% of your total first steep time and you’re letting all that liqueur go down the drain.

Try a short first steep without rinsing sometime and see if you don’t prefer the results. Purists yell at me every time I bring this up, but what harm can it do to “just try it”?

I used to steep pu-erhs for 20-30 minutes even on the first steep, and then just treat the result like a concentrate, adding hot water to it in measures out into a cup to make many cups of tea. So it doesn’t surprise me that your long steep produced a great cup, especially late in the number of steepings.

Charles Thomas Draper

Jim I like your way of thinking. @ Geoffrey, I was going to use that Star Trek line….

Kashyap

Jim,
I’m not certain but I believe that the first ‘wash’ is also to make sure that ‘storage impurities’ are washed away, packaging dust, fannings, concrete dust/uncured ceramic powder, ect…things that are not actually tea that might have accumulated on the tea during storage, transport, handling, and sale. It also illiminates lingering pollen, so depending on the type/style this can also blanch or wash away floral elements and ‘pollen’ texture/throat coat (but then using water that is over 200 can do that a bit as well). While I don’t generally wash teas in that way, I do believe it has a purpose that helped to inform cultural considerations towards ‘guest respect and service’, but I would tend to think that such considerations originated with the individual perception that the tea might be ‘unclean’ with transport dust and storage and it was a ‘safety-cleanliness’ issue 1st and a guest consideration second.

Jim Marks

Yes, this is what everyone always says. And, as I said, I think that was probably a much more real concern decades or centuries ago than it is today. This is why I have a point of view, and near as I can tell, hardly anyone agrees. There’s basically one line of support for the rinsing process, and I’m highly skeptical about that line. Most people aren’t, for whatever reason. It isn’t a big deal, one way or another.

What I don’t understand, though, is that any tea is just as likely to have some form of “non-tea” presence and yet rinsing is only done with pu-erhs. In fact, one could argue that other teas are more likely to have such concerns because pu-erh spends much of its life wrapped up, whereas other teas do not.

Additionally, there’s very little reason to believe that simply rinsing and dumping off the water will actually clear those impurities from the leaves. Particulate matter is even more “sticky” when wet than it is when dry. If you have concrete or ceramic dust in your tuocha when it is dry, running water over it isn’t going to wash that away from the leaves, it is going to hydrate it into concrete or clay, which is going to cling to the leaves.

I think what’s really being rinsed away are fannings and tea dust which are unsightly in the cup — something you wouldn’t want a guest to have to see.

It’s just an opinion, though. :-)

Geoffrey

@ Jim – I usually do many very short steepings when drinking Chinese teas in particular. My first infusion is 3 to 5 seconds, and I increase the time by that measure with each additional infusion. It takes a while for me to get up to 1-minute+ infusions. I prefer this method for gaining a comprehensive sense of a tea’s flavor profile. In the context of the way I drink, the 3-second rinse I do doesn’t have as much impact as the scenario you mention. I’ve tasted the rinse from a lot of my teas, and in many cases it’s not all that interesting to me.

But why rinse, when I could do a 6-9 second initial infusion instead? I suppose I enjoy the ritual of it. They way I drink, I don’t really think it’s wasting anything. I’ve been told that aside from the hospitality considerations you mention, pouring off the rinse was traditionally a sacrificial offering to ancestors, which I guess is hospitality of another kind. I like being somewhat of a traditionalist in most things, to the degree that I can be, but I understand where you’re coming from and don’t think your approach is any less valid. To each his own enjoyment. It’s too bad that people yell at you over this stuff. I think those kind of folks need to just stop and smell the tea. Happy drinking!

Jim Marks

I don’t begrudge anyone who is being traditional for the sake of being traditional. I’m just skeptical of people who are participating in a tradition who insist it has practical purpose when physics and chemistry would suggest that to be extremely unlikely.

Steeps that short are definitely not on my radar. I haven’t met anyone else who engaged such practices. That being said, the length of the steep isn’t the issue, it is the physical act of the rinse that’s in question.

Anyway, I’ll stop rambling.

Charles Thomas Draper

LOL. I enjoy your " Rambling "

Charles Thomas Draper

@ Geoffrey, interesting notes as well on tradition….

Charles Thomas Draper

@ Kashup, I am truly enjoying the various viewpoints

Geoffrey

I know what you mean, Jim. I mentioned the “sacrifice” aspect of pouring off the rinse because I sometimes wonder if this was perhaps the original purpose of it, and if – by extension – all the practical explanations people now make for it are ways of rationalizing a purely symbolic act with a metaphysical significance that people no longer have any frame of reference to understand. Studying a lot of history, myth and comparative religion, this kind of stuff fascinates me. Other instances of the modern rationalizing of old, essentially non-rational, practices have occurred.

Regarding the short steeps, I learned it directly from David at Verdant Tea about a year ago, and he in turn learned it from his tea friends and mentors in China during the years he lived there. Apparently it’s pretty widespread practice there. Doing tea this way blew my mind. Completely changed the game for me.

Jim Marks

Yes, that’s exactly what I’m referring to. “Reverse engineering”, in a sense, a modern(ist) rational justification for a pre-rational act. I’m all for participation in myth, tradition and religion — I can’t very well be a member of the Orthodox church and not be in favor of those things — but to do that you have to abandon the rational(ist) context to participate.

The super-short steeping, is that just with pu-erh teas or is that with all Chinese teas? I’ve interacted with some fairly hardcore tea wizards and never heard anyone talk about such things — but none of them were pu-erh people.

How does that idea jive with the use of the gaiwan?

Geoffrey

On the mentioned steeping method, it’s the standard method I use for almost all Chinese teas, regardless of type. I always a gaiwan or yixing pot for this. For the more delicate whites and greens, I typically get about six really good infusions this way. For oolongs, depending on the kind and quality, the method is good for 10 to 20+ infusions. Blacks typically go through their profile in about 10 infusions. And with pu-erh I’ll normally do a 15-20+ infusion session, given their complex flavor profiles. The upper limits I’m mentioning are not when the tea completely loses flavor, but rather when the profile has gone through its full arc and the flavor is starting to wane. Although there are some pu-erhs that will stand up to being steeped almost indefinitely, such as the Ya Bao late-winter budset pu-erh.

Keep in mind though, this is certainly not the only way that people brew tea in China. It’s probably most common to the tea culture in southern China, and among tea market people especially – the folk who live and breathe tea all day, every day. Some tea brewing methods are different, like with David’s green tea from Jingshan the locals customarily brew it by trowing a small bunch of leaves in a glass tumbler filled with boiling water, and just wait for the floating leaves to fall to the bottom and sip directly from there with the leaves still in cup. Given the proliferation of language dialects in China, I imagine there may be a comparable proliferation of tea preparation methods. Gongfu Cha itself has different schools of thought about the detailed practices, but the general methodology has a many centuries old history of development and refinement. With regards to pu-erh in particular, this short steep Gongfu approach is in my opinion the most suitable way to fully appreciate it, but the proof is in the pudding, so I’d recommend trying it sometime and forming your own conclusions. Cheers!

P.S. Interesting perspective on participation in myth, etc. My thinking on it is pretty similar. Thanks for sharing, Jim.

Jim Marks

I guess my question wasn’t well articulated. My understanding of the “typical” (although clearly we are to some extent in this conversation problematizing the very notion that any one practice is typical) use of a gaiwan is that leaves are placed into the gaiwan, and then water, and then after “some” amount of time, one begins to drink directly from the gaiwan without in any sense straining the liqueur away from the leaves. In other words, sip #10 from the gaiwan is going to be a tea that has steeped longer than sip #1 was.

So, what I’m wondering is if you’re using a gaiwan but “steeping for just a few seconds”, do you mean that after a few seconds you are straining off into some second vessel, or do you mean that after a few seconds you begin sipping the tea, but that of course the tea is in some sense continuing to steep as you finish the cup?

Charles Thomas Draper

I will return soon….

Geoffrey

Ah, I see. The method I use is to use the lid of the gaiwan to hold the leaves in and pour the liquor into another vessel. In my case, I pour the tea from my gaiwan into a small (8oz.) glass serving pitcher, and then serve my guests if I have any, or fill one of my small (3oz.) Gongfu cups 3-4 times when I’m drinking alone. For me, one cup of tea is really just a few sips. Some Gongfu tea cups only allow for one full sip! When drinking with five or six people, sometimes one or two sips is all you get of a given infusion. I think it works to make you appreciate what you have in front of you with full attention, and not take the tea for granted.

I’ve heard that some people drink directly out of the gaiwan, but I don’t do that. When using a yixing teapot, some people don’t use an extra pitcher, and will just fill all the cups directly by clumping them close together and pouring a little of the tea out to each cup in a circular motion so to avoid one cup being weaker and another being stronger, but I think the pitcher is still easier to use for managing consistency. Does that make sense?

Jim Marks

Serving multiple people isn’t confusing at all, the technique is basically the same (in terms of raw mechanics) in both China and Japan (and I have a strong understanding of chado — both matchado and senchado) and “makes sense” in both the pre-rationalist hospitality sense and in the post-rationalist sense of chemistry and physics.

But I’ve only ever seen people drink directly from a gaiwan, so that’s where the disconnect was.

And yes, the longer I have drank tea, and the more tea I drink, the smaller both the pots and the cups get. ;-) Those uber-long pu-erh steeps were done in large pots as a way of making tea in the corporate office environment without having to go through the ritual every 15 minutes and ending up in front of a manager who was curious about my productivity, but now that I work from home I have a lot more flexibility to do things more correctly.

We need a chat room or a BBS forum…

Jim Marks

AHA. Now I see an additional gap in our communication.

Rinsing in the gongfu style has a very specific meaning. Most Western folk I have talked to who insist on the practical value of “rinsing” are not doing it in the gongfu manner, but are pouring hot water into the pot with the leaves, and then pouring it out as one would pour out the actual liqueur, rather than via the over-flowing method. I am willing to concede that this overflow method might have practical value ;-)

Geoffrey

Haha! That office anecdote is funny. I work from home too, and sometimes my productivity suffers a bit from preoccupation with the tea ritual. :P

It’s interesting that you’ve only seen people drink out of the gaiwan. I guess it’s pretty common, but I find the gaiwan always gets too hot for me to comfortably drink from directly. The depression in the handle of most gaiwan lids is well designed for holding in such a way as to keep the leaves in while you pour the liquor out. David did a couple youtube videos on gaiwan use that pretty much cover all the same stuff I learned from him directly. He actually addresses some of the questions that came up here as well. You can check them out here if you want:

(How to Use a Gaiwan, Part 1)
http://www.youtube.com/user/VerdantTeaChannel#p/a/u/1/F58dWrhTkRo

(How to Use a Gaiwan, Part 2)
http://www.youtube.com/user/VerdantTeaChannel#p/a/u/0/qkhdJoZUUh0

Charles Thomas Draper

I am enjoying this….

Jim Marks

If you hold it via the saucer and the lid, you aren’t touching the part that’s in direct contact with the hot water, which helps.

Then again, I fairly calloused finger tips that seem to handle heat much better than most (white collar, Western) people.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

Comments

Geoffrey

The Farmer’s Cooperative tea is very interesting! For my part, I found that less is more with this one. If you can break off a piece that is about the size of a teaspoon, it will quickly come apart by itself with a couple rinses. I always rinse this one twice before drinking it. I think at larger leaf quantities this one can get unruly for some people. In that sense it is a “loaded” tea. Once you hit your own sweet spot with brewing it though, prepare yourself for a fascinating 15+ steeping journey! Many repeated steepings have a synergistic effect with this one; it grows on you the more you drink it, with the previous infusion priming your senses to experience the next one. I have to return to this one myself now! You note is making me remember how good it is…

Charles Thomas Draper

Thank you Geoffrey your advice is appreciated….

Kashyap

love Banzhang pu erhs….lovely and complex

Charles Thomas Draper

Ok. I had to mention this. I brewed 4 maybe 5 pots and then decided to go out. I left the wet leaves in the Yixing. I came home and decided to boil some water and make iced tea out of the rest. I used boiling water and I let it steep for maybe 15 to 20 minutes. The result was a fruity, peachlike nectar. I am steeping another so I can fill the Mason Jar. I think I have a winner….

Geoffrey

Fruity, peachlike nectar… Amazing. I’ve not encountered that face of it yet. Further testimony to this tea’s complexity.

I gotta say, Charles, some of your intrepid adventures in tea brewing just captivate me. I recall the old tagline from Star Trek, “To boldly go where no man has gone before!”

Jim Marks

In my opinion, and please know that I am a minority of one on this point as far as I am aware, this business of “washing” pu-erh accomplishes nothing but ruining the first steep. As far as I can tell, it is a tradition borne out of priorities related to hospitality, not good cups of tea. You’re ensuring your guest doesn’t get dust or fannings in their cup (and probably in an era before quality control systems and procedures also making sure they didn’t get a twig, bat droppings, or whatever else accidentally ended up in or on the brick while it aged in the cave).

But with a tea where your first steeping is usually less than 2 minutes, sometimes as little as 1 minute, the 10-15 seconds you spend rinsing — that can be upwards of 20% of your total first steep time and you’re letting all that liqueur go down the drain.

Try a short first steep without rinsing sometime and see if you don’t prefer the results. Purists yell at me every time I bring this up, but what harm can it do to “just try it”?

I used to steep pu-erhs for 20-30 minutes even on the first steep, and then just treat the result like a concentrate, adding hot water to it in measures out into a cup to make many cups of tea. So it doesn’t surprise me that your long steep produced a great cup, especially late in the number of steepings.

Charles Thomas Draper

Jim I like your way of thinking. @ Geoffrey, I was going to use that Star Trek line….

Kashyap

Jim,
I’m not certain but I believe that the first ‘wash’ is also to make sure that ‘storage impurities’ are washed away, packaging dust, fannings, concrete dust/uncured ceramic powder, ect…things that are not actually tea that might have accumulated on the tea during storage, transport, handling, and sale. It also illiminates lingering pollen, so depending on the type/style this can also blanch or wash away floral elements and ‘pollen’ texture/throat coat (but then using water that is over 200 can do that a bit as well). While I don’t generally wash teas in that way, I do believe it has a purpose that helped to inform cultural considerations towards ‘guest respect and service’, but I would tend to think that such considerations originated with the individual perception that the tea might be ‘unclean’ with transport dust and storage and it was a ‘safety-cleanliness’ issue 1st and a guest consideration second.

Jim Marks

Yes, this is what everyone always says. And, as I said, I think that was probably a much more real concern decades or centuries ago than it is today. This is why I have a point of view, and near as I can tell, hardly anyone agrees. There’s basically one line of support for the rinsing process, and I’m highly skeptical about that line. Most people aren’t, for whatever reason. It isn’t a big deal, one way or another.

What I don’t understand, though, is that any tea is just as likely to have some form of “non-tea” presence and yet rinsing is only done with pu-erhs. In fact, one could argue that other teas are more likely to have such concerns because pu-erh spends much of its life wrapped up, whereas other teas do not.

Additionally, there’s very little reason to believe that simply rinsing and dumping off the water will actually clear those impurities from the leaves. Particulate matter is even more “sticky” when wet than it is when dry. If you have concrete or ceramic dust in your tuocha when it is dry, running water over it isn’t going to wash that away from the leaves, it is going to hydrate it into concrete or clay, which is going to cling to the leaves.

I think what’s really being rinsed away are fannings and tea dust which are unsightly in the cup — something you wouldn’t want a guest to have to see.

It’s just an opinion, though. :-)

Geoffrey

@ Jim – I usually do many very short steepings when drinking Chinese teas in particular. My first infusion is 3 to 5 seconds, and I increase the time by that measure with each additional infusion. It takes a while for me to get up to 1-minute+ infusions. I prefer this method for gaining a comprehensive sense of a tea’s flavor profile. In the context of the way I drink, the 3-second rinse I do doesn’t have as much impact as the scenario you mention. I’ve tasted the rinse from a lot of my teas, and in many cases it’s not all that interesting to me.

But why rinse, when I could do a 6-9 second initial infusion instead? I suppose I enjoy the ritual of it. They way I drink, I don’t really think it’s wasting anything. I’ve been told that aside from the hospitality considerations you mention, pouring off the rinse was traditionally a sacrificial offering to ancestors, which I guess is hospitality of another kind. I like being somewhat of a traditionalist in most things, to the degree that I can be, but I understand where you’re coming from and don’t think your approach is any less valid. To each his own enjoyment. It’s too bad that people yell at you over this stuff. I think those kind of folks need to just stop and smell the tea. Happy drinking!

Jim Marks

I don’t begrudge anyone who is being traditional for the sake of being traditional. I’m just skeptical of people who are participating in a tradition who insist it has practical purpose when physics and chemistry would suggest that to be extremely unlikely.

Steeps that short are definitely not on my radar. I haven’t met anyone else who engaged such practices. That being said, the length of the steep isn’t the issue, it is the physical act of the rinse that’s in question.

Anyway, I’ll stop rambling.

Charles Thomas Draper

LOL. I enjoy your " Rambling "

Charles Thomas Draper

@ Geoffrey, interesting notes as well on tradition….

Charles Thomas Draper

@ Kashup, I am truly enjoying the various viewpoints

Geoffrey

I know what you mean, Jim. I mentioned the “sacrifice” aspect of pouring off the rinse because I sometimes wonder if this was perhaps the original purpose of it, and if – by extension – all the practical explanations people now make for it are ways of rationalizing a purely symbolic act with a metaphysical significance that people no longer have any frame of reference to understand. Studying a lot of history, myth and comparative religion, this kind of stuff fascinates me. Other instances of the modern rationalizing of old, essentially non-rational, practices have occurred.

Regarding the short steeps, I learned it directly from David at Verdant Tea about a year ago, and he in turn learned it from his tea friends and mentors in China during the years he lived there. Apparently it’s pretty widespread practice there. Doing tea this way blew my mind. Completely changed the game for me.

Jim Marks

Yes, that’s exactly what I’m referring to. “Reverse engineering”, in a sense, a modern(ist) rational justification for a pre-rational act. I’m all for participation in myth, tradition and religion — I can’t very well be a member of the Orthodox church and not be in favor of those things — but to do that you have to abandon the rational(ist) context to participate.

The super-short steeping, is that just with pu-erh teas or is that with all Chinese teas? I’ve interacted with some fairly hardcore tea wizards and never heard anyone talk about such things — but none of them were pu-erh people.

How does that idea jive with the use of the gaiwan?

Geoffrey

On the mentioned steeping method, it’s the standard method I use for almost all Chinese teas, regardless of type. I always a gaiwan or yixing pot for this. For the more delicate whites and greens, I typically get about six really good infusions this way. For oolongs, depending on the kind and quality, the method is good for 10 to 20+ infusions. Blacks typically go through their profile in about 10 infusions. And with pu-erh I’ll normally do a 15-20+ infusion session, given their complex flavor profiles. The upper limits I’m mentioning are not when the tea completely loses flavor, but rather when the profile has gone through its full arc and the flavor is starting to wane. Although there are some pu-erhs that will stand up to being steeped almost indefinitely, such as the Ya Bao late-winter budset pu-erh.

Keep in mind though, this is certainly not the only way that people brew tea in China. It’s probably most common to the tea culture in southern China, and among tea market people especially – the folk who live and breathe tea all day, every day. Some tea brewing methods are different, like with David’s green tea from Jingshan the locals customarily brew it by trowing a small bunch of leaves in a glass tumbler filled with boiling water, and just wait for the floating leaves to fall to the bottom and sip directly from there with the leaves still in cup. Given the proliferation of language dialects in China, I imagine there may be a comparable proliferation of tea preparation methods. Gongfu Cha itself has different schools of thought about the detailed practices, but the general methodology has a many centuries old history of development and refinement. With regards to pu-erh in particular, this short steep Gongfu approach is in my opinion the most suitable way to fully appreciate it, but the proof is in the pudding, so I’d recommend trying it sometime and forming your own conclusions. Cheers!

P.S. Interesting perspective on participation in myth, etc. My thinking on it is pretty similar. Thanks for sharing, Jim.

Jim Marks

I guess my question wasn’t well articulated. My understanding of the “typical” (although clearly we are to some extent in this conversation problematizing the very notion that any one practice is typical) use of a gaiwan is that leaves are placed into the gaiwan, and then water, and then after “some” amount of time, one begins to drink directly from the gaiwan without in any sense straining the liqueur away from the leaves. In other words, sip #10 from the gaiwan is going to be a tea that has steeped longer than sip #1 was.

So, what I’m wondering is if you’re using a gaiwan but “steeping for just a few seconds”, do you mean that after a few seconds you are straining off into some second vessel, or do you mean that after a few seconds you begin sipping the tea, but that of course the tea is in some sense continuing to steep as you finish the cup?

Charles Thomas Draper

I will return soon….

Geoffrey

Ah, I see. The method I use is to use the lid of the gaiwan to hold the leaves in and pour the liquor into another vessel. In my case, I pour the tea from my gaiwan into a small (8oz.) glass serving pitcher, and then serve my guests if I have any, or fill one of my small (3oz.) Gongfu cups 3-4 times when I’m drinking alone. For me, one cup of tea is really just a few sips. Some Gongfu tea cups only allow for one full sip! When drinking with five or six people, sometimes one or two sips is all you get of a given infusion. I think it works to make you appreciate what you have in front of you with full attention, and not take the tea for granted.

I’ve heard that some people drink directly out of the gaiwan, but I don’t do that. When using a yixing teapot, some people don’t use an extra pitcher, and will just fill all the cups directly by clumping them close together and pouring a little of the tea out to each cup in a circular motion so to avoid one cup being weaker and another being stronger, but I think the pitcher is still easier to use for managing consistency. Does that make sense?

Jim Marks

Serving multiple people isn’t confusing at all, the technique is basically the same (in terms of raw mechanics) in both China and Japan (and I have a strong understanding of chado — both matchado and senchado) and “makes sense” in both the pre-rationalist hospitality sense and in the post-rationalist sense of chemistry and physics.

But I’ve only ever seen people drink directly from a gaiwan, so that’s where the disconnect was.

And yes, the longer I have drank tea, and the more tea I drink, the smaller both the pots and the cups get. ;-) Those uber-long pu-erh steeps were done in large pots as a way of making tea in the corporate office environment without having to go through the ritual every 15 minutes and ending up in front of a manager who was curious about my productivity, but now that I work from home I have a lot more flexibility to do things more correctly.

We need a chat room or a BBS forum…

Jim Marks

AHA. Now I see an additional gap in our communication.

Rinsing in the gongfu style has a very specific meaning. Most Western folk I have talked to who insist on the practical value of “rinsing” are not doing it in the gongfu manner, but are pouring hot water into the pot with the leaves, and then pouring it out as one would pour out the actual liqueur, rather than via the over-flowing method. I am willing to concede that this overflow method might have practical value ;-)

Geoffrey

Haha! That office anecdote is funny. I work from home too, and sometimes my productivity suffers a bit from preoccupation with the tea ritual. :P

It’s interesting that you’ve only seen people drink out of the gaiwan. I guess it’s pretty common, but I find the gaiwan always gets too hot for me to comfortably drink from directly. The depression in the handle of most gaiwan lids is well designed for holding in such a way as to keep the leaves in while you pour the liquor out. David did a couple youtube videos on gaiwan use that pretty much cover all the same stuff I learned from him directly. He actually addresses some of the questions that came up here as well. You can check them out here if you want:

(How to Use a Gaiwan, Part 1)
http://www.youtube.com/user/VerdantTeaChannel#p/a/u/1/F58dWrhTkRo

(How to Use a Gaiwan, Part 2)
http://www.youtube.com/user/VerdantTeaChannel#p/a/u/0/qkhdJoZUUh0

Charles Thomas Draper

I am enjoying this….

Jim Marks

If you hold it via the saucer and the lid, you aren’t touching the part that’s in direct contact with the hot water, which helps.

Then again, I fairly calloused finger tips that seem to handle heat much better than most (white collar, Western) people.

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I am an avid surfer, gardener, golfer and freespirit. I have been a tea drinker forever. Tea has provided me with contentment. I love White, Oolong, Green, Black and Pu’er. I do not care for flavored tea and nor will I comment on it.

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