is there really a difference?
is there really a difference in flavor between the yixing, gaiwan, and western style method of brewing tea? i’ve brewing tea western style ever since i got into tea. i’m thinking of buying a yixing teapot to try out the method, but i’m not sure if it’s worth buying.
I would definitely try the Gaiwan style for oolong tea, but you don’t need a special pot. I just double the amount of tea I use and steep it in the same pot I use for western style. I steep for 60 seconds at a time, which is a bit long compared to what some people do. A good oolong will provide three or four good steeps; sometimes more. I use an 8 ounce glass pot, but any relatively small pot will work.
I don’t think there is much difference in flavour as such.
I mean if you compare western style to a gaiwan, of course there will be some differences, because the western style has a long steep and the gaiwan makes a very very short one, but many of them. I tend to think of the gongfu process as similar to ‘slicing the flavour up like a sausage’, if you get what I mean. It gives you specific nuances of the notes during the various stages, where as in the western style you get the whole picture all at once. Personally I prefer western style, because I like that fullness.
As for yixing versus other sorts of brewing vessels, I think it’s mostly a matter of style and personal preference. I certainly can’t tell a difference in the flavour, but I prefer using fine bone china primarily because I like china.
Good question and interesting discussion!
I also don’t think it makes much difference. I use a Japanese porcelain pot and use less water so I can make multiple steeps. In my opinion, the full flavor of a high mountain Taiwanese oolong really comes out in the third and fourth steeps as the leaf unfurls. I start at 30 seconds and add 5 to 10 seconds for each following steeps. From a high quality oolong, I can get 8 really good steeps. After that, it starts to loose its flavor yet often times, I will drink up to 15 or 16 steeps, with the flavors changing from one steep to the next,