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A lotta tea questions (one about gyokuro, others about sanitation)

Hey guys! I haven’t been on here in a while, but I have some questions to make sure I’m doing the right stuff with my teaware.

First a question about Gyokuro:
My favorite green tea has always been Gyokuro but I’m starting to notice something that I noticed before but didn’t really pay any attention to: The first infusion is heavenly. It always is. But for some reason, it’s like every infusion after that is a completely different tea. I can’t even describe the taste, it’s just.. meh. I steep it for 45 seconds in 150 degree water. It’s not bitter, it’s just odd tasting. Is this what Gyokuro does? If it’s supposed to do this, could you suggest a different oolong or green that stays vegetal and strong consistently? Because I don’t really wanna keep spending $20 for 2 ounces if this is what Gyokuro is supposed to taste like :(

Now about teaware:

1) How should I be cleaning yixing? I used to just rinse it out when I was done with the pot with regular water, but then I learned that I’m supposed to rinse it with boiling water. Anything else I should do?

2) In between infusions, I just put the strainer in a cup and sit it there until I’m ready for more, sometimes it stays like this over night. Is this bad?

3) Sometimes I leave tea sitting in my yixing overnight just do to forgetfulness, how much does this tamper with the flavoring of the Yixing?

4) Should I be cleaning strainers in between uses? If so, how?

12 Replies

Gyokuro: The flavor of tea will change with each infusion. This is the nature and beauty of tea. That said, gyokuro does not resteep well. You can go maybe 3, depending on amount of leaf and steep time. Try going for longer steeps in the later infusions. If that doesn’t work out for you, try to green oolongs. They have more steeps in them and get more vegetal with each infusion. Though it’s a different kind of vegetal than gyokuro. Man, I really want some gyokuro now. :)

I’m not experience with your other questions so I’ll leave it for others. Good luck!

Thanks! I think I’ll look into Oolongs instead of greens, after I finish the 8 ounces of Gyokuro I have of course :)

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Garret said

No need to clean yixing. A rinse after your session with some hot water and then a thorough air dry is all I’ve ever done and some of my pots are many years old.

I would cover your leaf in between steeps so it does not begin to dry out. overnight, if covered should be just fine.

Leaf overnight in yixing will not harm the pot or its seasoning.

Strainers can also be rinsed with hot water. Over time you may experience discoloration and eventually the strainers, if not cleaned will clog. Try the product link below. It was designed by one of our tea customers who creates products for the wine and beer making industry. The stuff works wonders. Use on all tea gear, but not on yixing!!

http://shopmandalatea.com/tea-wares/tea-accessories/smart-soak-tea-stain-dissolver.html

I hope this all helped!

My very best,
Garret

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Nicole said

I clean my infuser about once a month or more often if I’ve been ill or brewing unusually flavorful or spiced teas. Some people tend to frown on this, but I use a diluted bleach solution to clean my metal infuser. Growing up my mom washed dishes all the time with a little bleach in the water so it doesn’t freak me out to use bleach. I rinse it super thoroughly with really, really hot water afterwards and have never noticed it affecting the taste of my tea.

And I often leave teas out overnight in the infuser. My house is rarely hot or humid, though, or I might think about putting them in a well sealed plastic bag for refrigerator storage. There have been several threads here on Steepster about leaving teas out overnight or longer to reuse. Some of us do, some don’t.

The infuser I use for Tea Club at work I take home and clean and sanitize every weekend just because it makes everyone else who uses it feel better about it. :)

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sandra said

i am a gyokuro drinker :)
every cup should be heaven. For me, it’s the best tea there is- simple.

personally, I’d use cooler water to steep (approx. 50C.); approx. 1.5gr tea per 200ml. water, and let it steep for about 3 min. (longer than with sencha teas)

following steeps are different from 1st, but just as good. I prefer the 2nd and 3rd.

maybe you can have a look at this site:

http://www.hibiki-an.com/default.php/cPath/21?osCsid=5te8lns2taqb29pggp3u799hr3

(i buy my senchas and gyokuro teas from them).

there are other gyokuro teas on the market, have you tried a gyokuro karigane for instance?
it’s well worth the try.

leaving your tea in the pot overnight should not affect taste that drastically. I would experiment with amount, steeping time, etc….

hope this helps

Sandra, you use very little tea and a lot of water, you must have great tastebuds :)

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Your steeping time for the first infusion of gyokuro seems to low. Try 2-3 minutes and see if it tastes better for you. You didn’t say how many grams of tea nor the volume of water. I recommend 4 grams per 20 ml (0.6 oz) of water per cup, gyokuro is usually served in very small cups.

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OMGsrsly said

I usually put my used tea leaves in the fridge between steepings, especially if it’s overnight or I’m going out for a bit. This is mostly so the cats don’t decide to eat the tea leaves, but I find it works well for me!

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Love the suggestions guys! And another question: How well do Black Teas resteep? The reason I’m trying a new tea is because I don’t like how my Gyokuro resteeps :(

Lala said

It depends on the tea you use and on your taste preference. I generally do not like the taste of re-steeps, but many people do. I find for black tea you generally need to steep it for longer on the second, third, etc, re-steep. Fiddle around with it and see what you like.

Uniquity said

I steep most black teas (I drink Chinese blacks) for 2.5 – 3 minutes first infusion, and add about a minute for each subsequent infusion. I am really sensitive to bitterness though, so my system might be a bit light for you. I like the second steep of most blcak teas but I find the third underwhelming more often than not. Increasing the amount of leaf you use initially (and decreasing the steep time so it doesn’t oversteep) can really change the flavour profile, you might want to try that.

Garret said

I frequently drink my black teas in gong fu style. I use a lot of leaf in a small brewing vessel and do 5 to 10 steeps. I rinse the tea/heat the brewing vessel with 208 degree water for 5 seconds or so. Then my first infusion is 20 seconds or so. 2nd steep around the same. I increase times from there by 10 seconds (approx). I like to drink most of my tea in this way, getting to taste the liquor from the leaves at various stages of their unfolding. And believe me, you get a full-bodied cup because of using plenty of leaf.

Other times… with black teas when I don’t have the time to be so mindful with them, I’ll do a 1 minute, 2 minute and 5 minute steep in a larger pot.

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