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Shake said

How long should you wait between steeps?

Hey! I’ve been drinking tea forever but just recently started trying more varied and higher quality teas. I bought a gaiwan and several teas from teavivre (a green, white, and black). I’m getting pretty decent at using my gaiwan however when I fill it high I almost always have trouble pouring due to the heat when I hold it (I hold the rim with my thumb and middle finger and have my index on the top of the lid). Should I not fill the gaiwan high? I might just have sensitive hands because the water I’m using isn’t overly hot.

More important I wanted to ask how long I should be waiting before steeps. I’ve been leaving the leaves in the gaiwan after pouring our the tea, and have been steeping a new cup every 3 or 4 hours. Is that too long to wait? Is it bad that the tea leaves stay moist from the older water throughout that period? should I dry them between steeps?

Thanks!

9 Replies
looseTman said

Trying to prevent burned fingers is a common question with traditional gaiwans:
- http://www.teanerd.com/2007/03/beginners-guide-to-gaiwans.html
- http://teaguardian.com/how-to-make-tea/tea-accessories-gaiwan-1.html#.UZk0-b7D8qR

Another possibility to consider is an “easy gaiwan” with insulated finger grips such as this one: http://www.taiwanteacrafts.com/product/travel-gaiwan-set/.

Note: A gaiwan is supposed to be a closed vessel for brewing. However, some “easy gaiwans” have a spout that is not covered by the lid. Consequently, heat, aroma, & flavor retention may be suboptimal.

Time between steeps:
mrmopar, who uses larger size Yixing teapots for brewing multiple infusion Pu-erh teas, lets the used tea leaves sit out over night after pouring off all the water and continues to use these tea leaves the next morning.

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ifjuly said

I would try not filling it so high—what capacity is your gaiwan? I think with Teavivre teas they’re pretty good about specifying how much water you should use when using a gaiwan, and it’s often very little (like 2-3 oz or something like that). Some gaiwans are that small to begin with, but many are more like 5-6 oz capacity so it shouldn’t be a problem to use less water and avoid burnt fingers that way.

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Shake said

Thanks, what about my question regarding time between steeps?

ifjuly said

Only answered your first question because I don’t have an opinion about the other part.

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looseTman said

see above

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I’ve heard with pu’er to wait a minute after the rinse before doing your official drinking steeps.

Other than that, I’m not sure which is best in terms of retaining flavor for inbetween steep times.
I’ve heard some people here pop their steeped leaves in the fridge if they are going awhile inbetween steeps. Some people say to keep the leaves moist. Others just leave the leaves in the vessel and not do anything fancy. I’m on the latter camp as I’m lazy when I’m not reviewing tea. I’ve left a tea for almost 2 days in my gaiwan and resteeped it.

re: gaiwan. What type are you using? I found glass ones to be wayyy hotter on the lid that sometimes I use a tea towel to help pour.
where is it hot for you? It’s always the lid for me. One other thing I’ve noticed, especially when you’re on like the 15th infusion so the steep time is extended, and you’ve been chain steeping, the gaiwan gets pretty hot. I take the lid off say in the last 30 seconds to cool off, then pour.

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I don’t think it’s too long to wait, but is there a reason you are waiting 3-4 hours? Do you just not want another cup just yet? Because I have re-steeped immediately, and the flavour will change.

There may be a point where I would worry about mold, but within a day? Nah.

Although I did once leave an oolong in my gaiwan that went VERY bitter after I left it for a few hours. I do think the leaves were too moist, although I’m not sure why that happened with that oolong and not with others I’ve had. Maybe I didn’t quite pour enough liquor out, and the leaves sat in a “puddle”? Dunno, but ever since I have made sure to drain as much moisture out as possible if I am going to leave the leaves for a bit.

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Hikari said

I’m agreeing with all the comments above me. I myself leave leaves in my gaiwan/ mug very often, but never with oolongs, black, or any other tea that can get bitter if accidentally left in “puddles”. I’m not sure it does any good, but at least I’ve avoided sipping bitter tea this way.

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Uniquity said

I leave tea leave in the pot, infuser or gaiwan for up to a day or two with no problems. If you see mold or it smells off then toss it. Otherwise you should be okay.

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