Tall Glass Brewing Method: My Variation
In the comments of a recent review of Mrs. Li’s Shi Feng Dragonwell Green Tea, I shared a variation on a technique I use for brewing Dragon Well Long Jing teas.
It seems to have gotten a positive response, so I’m reposting it here:
If you’re going with the tall glass method, I would at minimum recommend a ten to 16 oz tempered glass. I’ve used everything from a pint glass for beer to standard cooler glasses like you’d find in this image search:
I usually go with double wall tumblers that I talk about in my profile. Either way, my tall glass method for consuming all Dragonwell/Longjing teas, regardless of cup choice, is to first warm the cup with hot water and pour off. Then I introduce about 3 teaspoons of tea give or take depending on size of cup. For instance with my 10 oz I can get away with 2 to 3 teaspoons, depending on how much volume there is to the leaf (sorry this is not an exact science, but more feel). If it were a 16 oz tumbler I might go tablespoons.
Maybe this will help; most samples come 5 to 7 grams. If I were brewing this from a sample, I’d use the whole thing. Coincidentally, when I measure by eye, 3 teaspoons usually ends up to be 5-7g.
Anyway, so you warm the glass. Then drop those leaves in the glass and give it a nice swirl or shake in the warm damp environment. Give it a whiff. Right?? Let the journey begin.
Now take water in temp ranging from 175-185˚F and pour along the edges of the glass until you have about an inch of water in the bottom. Swirl the tea gently around in the glass for about 30 seconds to wet the leaves and prime them for steeping. For water temperature, if you don’t have a thermometer, I find boiled water will get into this temperature range by filling your cold glass, and then pouring it off into another while you go through the first prep stages. This warms the glass and cools the water at the same time. It’s particularly effective with thick tempered glass as the glass retains a lot of the heat. Then, while you drink, as your boiled water sits in the kettle, it will naturally fall in temp while you do multiple infusions. Mind you it may fall below temp, depending on how long you take, and heating and decanting can help get you back into the ballpark.
So, after a 30 second swirl you can now fill your glass, leaving a little breathing room. Leaving room is just civilized, and if using a filtered tumbler, it’s also practical. Some would say you let the tea steep until 80% of the leaves drop. I don’t find this to be the case, particularly with high quality teas. A 30-45 sec 1st steep is plenty, maybe even less depending on how strong you like your tea. Consider that you’ve already primed the leaves for 30 secs in the first stage…
Now decant your tea into another warmed glass. Use a filter if you must, or simply a fork to hold back the leaf. But here’s the trick, leave a “root.” A root is about 1/3 of the water, enough to keep the leaves covered. Enjoy your first infusion.
For the second infusion, I’ll fill the glass again, but this steep is usually pretty short, maybe 20-30 secs. My logic is that the root has been sitting for a bit, the leaves have yielded a lot of flavor and thus it’s not going to take much to get where I want to go. Use your nose and eyes too. How does the color look? Does it smell like it’s ready? Sometimes I’ll even give the glass a gentle swirl to distribute the leaves more evenly. Drink and enjoy. Assuming you’ve left a root and were using a 10 oz glass, you’ve just enjoyed two 5 oz cups of tea.
For the 3rd infusion time may be a bit more of a factor. Your water temp may be lower (and you may be too lazy to get water up to temp), so you may take longer. I’m usually lazy, and my waters usually dropped to about 160. So this turns into 45sec-1min steep. Leave your root, drink and enjoy.
Steep 4 is where I usually drain my brewing vessel and call it quits, but your experience may vary. Again with my lazy water temps, I might fill the glass and let brew for a while. This might sit for upward of 5 mins while I drink my 3rd infusion, or get lost in something else.
When it’s all said and done, 5-7 grams of tea yields about 24-30 oz of liquid goodness.
Now I know this is not quite the same method that David outlines at Verdant, but the results for me are quite dependable. Hope you find the same. Sometimes, when I’m on the move, I drink directly from the glass and add water as I go, but I prefer to decant. When I’m not decanting I prefer to use a filter and refill the glass even before the half way point, otherwise I find the tea too strong.
For the videos that got me started on this method, check here:
thanks for sharing here! i did see it as a reply but this is better :)
Thank goodness you posted it here! It will be much easier to find for future reference!