Whole Leaf Tobacco

Can't Tea(ch) an old dog new tricks.

ChinaVoodoo

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But you can teach him old ones. The Indian/British way of making tea is to put 3 or 4 grams of leaf for each cup (250mL) of water that your pot fits, let it sit for 2 to 6 minutes, depending on the tea, and done. We ain't going to do that. We're doing Chinese tea method. And I kid you not, even non-Chinese whole leaf tea made this way is significantly better than what you're used to.

Part 1
I only have a little bit of Chinese tea knowledge. I was taught by an English guy how to do this. But let's try it.

Depending upon your unnameable personality characteristics, you will accumulate a certain number of tea pots. One for each tea? one for each kind of tea? one for each volume of tea? One for all tea? Knock your socks off.
Chinese tea pots are generally smaller than Indian/British tea pots. They are made from a range of materials, but the porous clay pots are the real signature. They claim there's different grades, and that different clays and makers will fetch crazy prices, but to be honest, I think there's some mystifying involved. My best brewing vessel is the little brown three piece clay thing that looks like a bowl with a lid on a saucer. It's called a gaiwan.

IMG_20180529_230206773_HDR~2.jpg

The easiest way to do it is with a modern glass "gongfu" thing that looks like this:
IMG_20180529_231427473_HDR~3.jpg

So here's the tea. It's a "ripe" puerh tea. It came as a compressed flying saucer looking thing, but I broke it up long ago. It was from the 2005 crop of which factory? If it matters to you, I'll figure it out. Actually it does matter. This tea is really good and has been in the cellar for 5 years. I simply forget.
IMG_20180529_230259694~2.jpg

IMG_20180529_230451447_HDR~2.jpg
 

Charly

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Good idea to talk a bit about tea !
I am not an expert on this subject, but I drink tea very often, and I use this type of method quite often.

I have a couple "zhong" (that's the name I use for the little mugs and the little pots, well... that's the name under witch we find it in France :) ), they are very fragile (I already broke a few)... but they allow you to use a good amount of leaves with each tea.
I like this method because the tea is more flavorfull and (as you said) less astringent.

With green tea, I usually only do up to too or three successive infusions, because I like when it is flavorfull :)
 

ChinaVoodoo

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Part 2
So put about this much tea in a gaiwan about that big. Clear? Good. For the record, it's about 6g (1/5oz) of tea, and the gaiwan is about 90mL (3oz). But really just try to not worry about measurements.
IMG_20180529_230640060_HDR~2.jpg

Pour boiling water in, wait 10-ish seconds and pour it down the drain. Sorry, no pics, but it's the same as the brewing photos, ahead. This, some people say, cleans the tea, but it's so compacted that not much cleaning is actually happening. The important thing is that it allows the compressed bits to swell and more readily absorb water. So wait a minute after draining. If it's loose-leaf tea, you don't really have to do this for long, and I would only rinse for a second, if at all, for non-puerh tea.

Now you're ready to brew. Pour in hot water, and wait until it's brown (if it's a black tea). Green and oolong, will be different. Maybe do a little bit of gentle stirring or poking at the tea leaves with a chop stick. I usually just use the lid.
IMG_20180529_231005180~2.jpg

Then you drain it like you drain your potatoes. With the lid not quite on.
IMG_20180529_231018397~2.jpg
 

ChinaVoodoo

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I got about this much.
IMG_20180529_231045558_HDR~3.jpg

That's the first steep which took about thirty seconds. The next few will get darker as the chunk of tea gradually breaks up. Here is three steepings.
IMG_20180529_231414201_HDR~2.jpg

IMG_20180529_232717275_HDR~2.jpg

How long it brews depends on the tea, and your preference. Mine were around thirty for the first two and about forty five for the third. You can brew a tea like this at least 8 to 10 times, and each time will get a little bit longer.

This method extracts all the flavor without much of that astringency that comes from brewing tea for too long. You might not have Chinese tea, but try it with a Darjeeling. It'll blow your mind.
 

ChinaVoodoo

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A note on puerh. There are two major classifications. Ripe and raw. Dark tea like this is ripe. It has undergone a controlled microbiotic fermentation. Raw puerh starts out almost as green tea, and as it ages, gradually gets darker. It hasn't gone through this fermentation, but also hasn't gone through any sort of pasteurization or heat treatment that would either keep it green indefinitely, (like green tea, and Taiwanese oolong, (and flue cured tobacco), have), or prevent long term aging.

Further variation comes from the strain of tea, growing location, grade of leaf, etc. Puerh in tea bags is disgusting. Most flavored puerh misses the point entirely. There is really good loose leaf puerh, but it's hit and miss. If you know the factory it's from, it's probably good. Those tiny little "tuo" are for convenience, and I've never been happy with them.
 

deluxestogie

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So I take my Walmart Great Value Decaffeinated tea bag and do what with it exactly?

Bob

Coffee was simple, until it got really complicated. "Cup of coffee, please." "That will be 10 cents, sir."

I suppose it's the same with tobacco. When you start poking around, it turns out to be a hidden universe of subtlety and complexity. I'm not sure if I can handle adding complicated tea to my bucket list (?teapot list?).
 

ChinaVoodoo

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So I take my Walmart Great Value Decaffeinated tea bag and do what with it exactly?

Bob

Coffee was simple, until it got really complicated. "Cup of coffee, please." "That will be 10 cents, sir."

I suppose it's the same with tobacco. When you start poking around, it turns out to be a hidden universe of subtlety and complexity. I'm not sure if I can handle adding complicated tea to my bucket list (?teapot list?).
I think I failed at explaining the simplicity, though. Let me summarize:
put tea in brewing thing, wait a short while, drain liquid into cup, drink, and /or repeat, then drink.
 

BigBonner

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I will stick to my lipton instant tea , 5 spoons of tea and tree dips of sugar make three quarts add ice to glass and drink it .

Same with my coffee , two scoops of coffee , coffee pot filled with water , push button , wait and then pour it in my cup , drink it up .
 

Charly

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I am surprised to see how some of you are reacting...
I thought you could be more interested... :(

As ChinaVoodoo pointed out, well prepared tea can be very good. Really better than supermarket tea (like Lipton for example)
I nearly no longer buy tea from supermarket.

Commercial tea is just like commercial tobacco : nearly all of them are flavored in some way that I find just not good.
If you want some good one, you have to find some "real, unflavored" one.
Exactly the same way as look at tobacco.
 

burge

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In Canada we have iced tea. Lipton good host Nestea all of them are powdered and sweetened. Do you get that in the US?
 

Knucklehead

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But you can teach him old ones. The Indian/British way of making tea is to put 3 or 4 grams of leaf for each cup (250mL) of water that your pot fits, let it sit for 2 to 6 minutes, depending on the tea, and done. We ain't going to do that. We're doing Chinese tea method. And I kid you not, even non-Chinese whole leaf tea made this way is significantly better than what you're used to.

Part 1
I only have a little bit of Chinese tea knowledge. I was taught by an English guy how to do this. But let's try it.

Depending upon your unnameable personality characteristics, you will accumulate a certain number of tea pots. One for each tea? one for each kind of tea? one for each volume of tea? One for all tea? Knock your socks off.
Chinese tea pots are generally smaller than Indian/British tea pots. They are made from a range of materials, but the porous clay pots are the real signature. They claim there's different grades, and that different clays and makers will fetch crazy prices, but to be honest, I think there's some mystifying involved. My best brewing vessel is the little brown three piece clay thing that looks like a bowl with a lid on a saucer. It's called a gaiwan.

View attachment 23726

The easiest way to do it is with a modern glass "gongfu" thing that looks like this:
View attachment 23727

So here's the tea. It's a "ripe" puerh tea. It came as a compressed flying saucer looking thing, but I broke it up long ago. It was from the 2005 crop of which factory? If it matters to you, I'll figure it out. Actually it does matter. This tea is really good and has been in the cellar for 5 years. I simply forget.
View attachment 23728

View attachment 23729
Bump. What types of stores carry the tea leaves that are like whole leaf tea. Is that what you’re using?
 

ChinaVoodoo

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The chain tea shops in Edmonton don't carry puerh, and if they do, it's flavoured. There is an independent tea shop run by a white woman that does have one good loose leaf puerh. There is a Chinese tea shop in an industrial area that carries the best stuff and lots of different kinds. In Chinatown, there are a bunch of supermarkets and herbal stores where you can get random puerh of various qualities. Usually over priced. Online, there are stores. I bought at least half of mine from a store in Shanghai called Dragon Tea House. The rest I got in San Fran Chinatown, the tea shop in Montreal next to the Notre Dam, and my guy in the industrial area in Edmonton, and a random corner store.

If it's a brick or disc or mushroom of some kind, it's worth trying. Stay away from tea bags. For real. If it smells like fish, throw it away.
 
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