I have so been on a gongfu kick lately. It’s like, I kinda figured it out eventually and now I want to use my little ru kiln set all the time. I usually drink black teas first thing at work, so I figured, let’s do this one gongfu.
I tried to guestimate the amount of tea for my 6oz pot, since again I don’t have a scale handy, so I ended up eyeballing the tea and about 4.5tsp looked right again. Black teas seem to steep so fast that I can’t really rinse them without resulting in a dark, aromatic brew, so I end up drinking the rinses because who can waste that? This time the rinse smelled chocolatey and sweet potato-y. Like my western steeps of this tea, it tastes a bit chocolatey, but in this steep even more of the woody, minerally, smoky, peppery notes come out.
The first real steep (still only like 2-3 seconds) is dark, whoa, and the liquor has a piney smell to it. It smells kind of like the pine barrens (a type of forest we have here on Long Island, basically pine trees and little else). The flavor is bold and strong and I feel like I could have probably gone easier on the leaf in the pot, heh. The “roughness” that I perceived when brewing this western style really have come out, even in this super short infusion. I treated the subsequent steeps to extremely short pour-in-pour-out steep times. I did quite a few where more of the sweet potato came back, but the flavors were still a bit harsh for me.
At least in this sitting, I preferred this one western to gongfu style, but I think that has a lot to do with the amount of leaf I used. In another gongfu session I would definitely use less. But I also think gongfu has a tendancy to bring all the flavors to the foreground in various steeps, so they can’t just hide out like they can in a western steep. So the marginal elements that aren’t as appealing when you steep a tea western, aren’t marginal anymore. I enjoy this tea but it’s definitely not quite my style, and that is definitely emphasized in the gongfu session.