Help with Pu-erh Steeping
I’m fairly new to the art of drinking tea. However, after several months I’ve collected quite a few Yixing pots and have explored a wide array of teas. My question is in relation to Pu erh. I have invested in some nice bricks and many of them have wonderful flavor.
However, after two steeps, they seem to loose their color and are a bit more diluted. What contributes to this? Should I increase steeping time? Increase water temp?
Also, I have a pot I keep my hot water in. I leave it on the table while I read or write. Naturally, the water cools down over time. How can I keep my water hot without constantly running to the kitchen to reheat the water? Is there a set-up for this? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
“after two steeps, they seem to loose their color and are a bit more diluted”
This is probably due to leaf/water ratio? People doing gongfu style typically use 5-10g tea leaves in every 3.5-4 oz. (100-120ml) water and get 7-?? infusions. But not everyone prefers gongfu style. With leaf water ratio decrease by every fold, the number of infusions may decrease by 1/5 to 1/3. That’s my rough estimation.
5-10 grams per 100-120ml water? Are you sure your not just trying to sell more tea? :) Kidding of course. I am however curious about your gong fu cha method, at the high end of your scale that’s 2.5 grams per ounce of water which is a bit higher than I often see recommended. You don’t happen to have a write up detailing your method do you?
If not perhaps if you have time you can shoot me a pm with some more details. Also do you actually use a scale or just eyeball your yixing? If you use a scale than why the rather large swing in variables?
Thanks, also side note looking to put in an order from you in the next week or two so I may have some questions, but I’m quite excited to try a few of your teas.
Hi STS, I am not recommending 5-10g per 120ml, but just describing what I’ve heard or observed from people. I am more on the 5g side and don’t want to handle the 10g side. I got the impression of 5-10g from this poll:
The poll is on sheng, and distribution for shu might be slightly different. I also have some data from a Chinese poll which end up with about 5-10g for 150ml.
But I don’t think gongfu is the only way and not necessarily the best way to brew puerh – and I am aware some people would not agree with me on this.
Overall I think whether you use 5g in a 120ml teapot or 500ml teapot, it’s very likely that you will eventually get about 1.5 liter tea in either way out of the 5g. So neither way is more costly on tea leaves.
I don’t use scale for my personal tea. You can never find a scale in the kitchen, or tea room, in a Chinese household :-p
I probably have written some brewing things in my highly unorganized blog. I will shoot you a message if I can find a few links :D
Also feel free to ask questions about my tea. I am in vacation now but will check message/emails frequently :D
YOU’RE WRONG!!!! Gong fu cha is the only way to brew pu erh!!! :P j/k of course.
While I myself brew my pu erh in my little yixing pots, do I think that this makes a better cup of tea? Perhaps. Do I think you could make an equally good cup of tea with another method? Again, perhaps. But the main reason I do it is because for me tea is far more than a beverage and the rituals are important to me and they are all part of why I drink tea.
Thanks for the teachat thread, I love how passionate and worked up people get about tea. :)
And yes I do feel a little guilty every time I weigh out my tea. :D
I don’t suppose you have a link to the Chinese poll? It would be interesting to see as well. Thanks for the response and you can expect an order soon.
The fact that you ask if you should increase your temperature lends me to believe that at least one of your steeping parameters are off. Boiling water should be used. Short steepings are typically used (10-30 seconds) so water cooling while steeping should not be the issue. It’s also important to use freshly boiled water for each infusion so yes, you will need to re-boil each time. I agree with Gingko to consider your leaf:water ratio, I use 1g/1oz of tea.
Thanks for the comments. I’ve been playing around with my steeping style, the amount of tea I’m using and water temperature, and I’m coming up with a wide range of different results. They’ve all been good results (even my diluted tea tastes good). I just need to perfect my process a little more (I got down my white, yellow, green and oolong tea steeping. It seems there is more a science to pu-erh than I realized—I just need to pin it down.
On another note, I am excited to have come across this site and upload my teas into my profile. Thanks again for the advice.