Today, was my first foray into Chinese Gongfu brewing. Thus, it was also the first time I used a gaiwan http://steepster.com/teas/teaware/39240-butiki-flower-gaiwan and TeaVivre’s Double-wall Glass Tea Cups http://steepster.com/teas/teaware/39708-teavivre-double-wall-glass-tea-cups.
Recommended Brewing Instructions:Water: 3oz / 85ml 194℉ / 90℃ 5 Grams Tea (http://steepster.com/teas/teaware/37731-my-weigh-durascale-d2-660-digital-scale) 6 steeps: rinse,15s,25s,40s,70s,100s,130s Rinsing time is around 3 seconds
RO water re-mineralized with an Aptera filter http://steepster.com/teas/teaware/39532-puregen-aptera-alkamag-water-filter
I selected this tea as I’m very familiar with how it tastes brewing western-style conveniently in a tea mug with a Finum brew basket http://steepster.com/teas/teaware/29177-finum-brewing-basket. This is my regular breakfast tea. I wanted to see how changing the brewing method would affect the flavor.
As this was my first my Gongfu brewing, I had to make do with what we had on hand. We don’t yet have a water boiler http://steepster.com/teas/teaware/39783-zojirushi-ve-r-hybrid-water-boiler-and-warmer-cv-dsc40-4-liters or a variable-temp electric kettle http://steepster.com/teas/teaware/39130-bonavita-1-liter-variable-temperature-digital-electric-gooseneck-kettle. I used a classic Revere Ware SS Copper-bottom stove-top kettle to boil water, which was then poured into a tea mug with a DAVIDsTEA Thermometer/Timer http://steepster.com/teas/teaware/36677-davidstea-thermometer-and-timer in the thermometer mode. A meat cutting board served as a tea tray/desk for collecting water.
Even though all the teaware used was first rinsed with boiling water, 3oz. of boiling water when first poured into the tea mug with the thermometer immediately cooled to 190℉. (3oz. was simply not a large enough quantity of water to overcome the ambient temperature of the tea mug. Normally, 8oz of boiling water poured into a room-temperature mug will immediately cool to 197-199℉.) Thus, a 10 sec. reheat in the microwave was needed. The water was allowed to cool to 194℉, then added to the gaiwan.
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. In lieu of a tea pitcher & a matching tea strainer, a heavy Pyrex measuring cup and a small fine kitchen strainer were used.
Using the Gong-fu method produced a more nuanced flavor profile with enhanced aroma c/w Teavivre’s recommend Western brewing instructions. Steeps 4-6 were a little lighter than the first three. However, they still had more flavor than the 3rd steep using their Western method.
The obvious disadvantage to this method is the time necessary for 6 steeps each of which only produces 3oz. Additionally, since this was my first endeavor with Gong-fu brewing, I was focusing on the procedure and my technique, which somewhat distracted me from discerning the aroma & flavor differences between these two techniques.