Today, is my 3rd foray into Chinese Gongfu brewing and my first with Pu-erh tea.
Per TeaVivre’s Recommend Brewing Guide:
Gaiwan 3oz / Tea: 1piece / 6 steeps: rinse(10s),10s,10s,10s,15s,20s,30s / 100ºC/212ºF
I selected this tea as it seemed to be a very approachable pu-erh that’s uncomplicated to prepare.
1 mini tuocha (6g – My Weigh Durascale D2 660 )
RO water re-mineralized with an Aptera filter http://steepster.com/teas/teaware/39532-puregen-aptera-alkamag-water-filter
Butiki 6oz. Gaiwan http://steepster.com/teas/teaware/39240-butiki-flower-gaiwan
TeaVivre’s Double-wall Glass Tea Cups http://steepster.com/teas/teaware/39708-teavivre-double-wall-glass-tea-cups
A Teavana Perfect Preset Tea Timer http://steepster.com/teas/teaware/39312-teavana-perfect-preset-tea-timer was used in the count-up mode to control the brewing time.
I improvised with what we had on hand. I used a classic Revere Ware SS Copper-bottom stove-top kettle to boil water. A cutting board served as a tea tray/desk for collecting water.
In lieu of a tea pitcher & a matching tea strainer, a Noritake Bleufleur Creamer pitcher 11oz. (Japan) http://thumbs1.ebaystatic.com/d/l225/m/m7U_-XkLDGw6vqi0oOJrD1g.jpg with a Finum brew basket http://steepster.com/teas/teaware/29177-finum-brewing-basket placed in the pitcher were utilized. Every two steepings were combined in the Noritake pitcher then served. The lid on the Finum helped to retain the tea’s temperature in the pitcher between servings. No sweeteners or milk products were added.
With Gongfu brewing, one can readily appreciate the quality of the leaves and their transformation. The 10-second rinse produced light amber-colored water and the mini tuocha was still solid. After the 1st 10-sec. steep, the solid mini tuocha changed to dark brown leaves that appeared similar to the richest topsoil. The liquor was transformed into a rich dark chocolate brown.
The aroma was earthy and reminded me of a barn environment or of well-composted aged top-soil. The medium-bodied flavor was very smooth without bitterness or astringency. There was nothing objectionable about either the aroma or flavor. All six steeps were very consistent in aroma, flavor, and body especially since I was combining every two steeps in the tea pitcher before serving.
After sharing this Gong Fu session with my wife, I felt very relaxed. Both my wife and I found this to be a very enjoyable tea especially for a pu-erh novices like ourselves.
Using a tea like Pu-erh, that’s recommended to be brewed at 212℉, certainly simplifies gongfu brewing compared with teas that require a lower specific temperature. This point is especially true when one doesn’t have a thermo tea pot or kettle with a variable temperature control or presets.
Thanks to Angel Chen and TeaVivre for this very enjoyable free Pu-erh sample.