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tea-fi / Yixing-fi

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
I'm about as into Chinese tea as headphones. I'm especially interested in mainland Chinese oolongs (Ti Kwan Yin &c) and pu-ehrs (my wallet *really* hates me for that).

Typically I use a gaiwan (a Chinese lidded tea cup...probably the most convenient brewing accessory in existance) to brew, but I'm also a fledgling Yixing teapot collector...nothing special so far, just a few functional pots for pu-ehrs.

What sort of tea / utensils does everyone else use?
post #2 of 22
Lipton Yellow Label does it more me...
post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by krmathis View Post
Lipton Yellow Label does it more me...
Hehe...a Chinese poet once said that tea's goodness is a decision for the mouth to make...so if you like a tea, it's a good tea, and no one can judge you for it. (Could that apply to headphones too? Nah...)

But if you like Lipton, try looking around Indian grocery stores for black label Lipton...I remember reading (in a James Norris Pratt book, a long, long time ago) that it's a step above the rest.
post #4 of 22
my dad tends to drink pu-ehr cha. I've tasted a few bricks he brought back from China. Good stuff but I tend to like the greener tea since the flavor isn't as bold. I was thinking about taking some home with me next time I have a chance, but I don't have a set to really drink with so I haven't bothered.
post #5 of 22
I bought some Taiwanese High Mountain Tea a couple of years back I'm slowly drinking. I don't use anything more exotic than just a pot and strainer. Other than that, there's a particular Genmai tea here I like which is mild and smooth.
post #6 of 22
Pu-erh for me, too. I was lucky enough to visit the massive Maliandao tea market in Beijing last year, and came home with some wonderful 70's Menghai 7542, among other things, from a shop run by people from Yunnan. Prices were much more reasonable than in Hong Kong or the U.S, and there was a lot more selection, including some wonderful 250g Jing Mai tuos with about 5 years of age on them.
post #7 of 22
I'm not a Pu-erh fan, unless the ones I've tried have been no good. I tend to favor Taiwanese high mountain oolongs brewed in a gaiwan or small glass teapot for less oxidized varieties, I have one yixing teapot but it doesn't get much use. I also enjoy Sencha and Gyokuro from Japan, brewed in a Kyusu then poured into a Hagi yunomi or chawan.
post #8 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zodduska View Post
I'm not a Pu-erh fan, unless the ones I've tried have been no good.
which is entirely possible, given how much junk pu-erh there is out there. Also, there are two significant categories: "cooked" aka "shu" puerh, which is artificially aged by basically treating the tea leaves as a compost pile for a while, and "green" or "sheng." While shu can be tasty, sheng that's been aged over 11 years in highish humidity is the real deal, the reason why people get seriously excited over pu-erh. If you haven't had that, then you can't yet say whether you like pu-erh.
post #9 of 22
I have some 9-10 year aged pu-erh and it is quite good. Not my favorite as of right now the Tung Ting oolong is. That milk fragrance stuff they are selling right now is also pretty darn good.
post #10 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by rangen View Post
which is entirely possible, given how much junk pu-erh there is out there. Also, there are two significant categories: "cooked" aka "shu" puerh, which is artificially aged by basically treating the tea leaves as a compost pile for a while, and "green" or "sheng." While shu can be tasty, sheng that's been aged over 11 years in highish humidity is the real deal, the reason why people get seriously excited over pu-erh. If you haven't had that, then you can't yet say whether you like pu-erh.
Here's the pu-erh I've tried so far: 1997 MengHai "Shui Lan Yin" 7542, 98 MengHai "Yieh Sheng Chiao Mu", 2001 Meng Ku "Yuan Yieh Xian" I believe these are all raw.. I just don't taste anything even remotely pleasing, in fact it reminds me a bit of what I imagine boiled bog wood might taste like. I know these are all still considered boarder line too young to enjoy but I don't see how they could transform completely in 5 to 10 more years. Everyone enjoys different things though.
post #11 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zodduska View Post
Here's the pu-erh I've tried so far: 1997 MengHai "Shui Lan Yin" 7542, 98 MengHai "Yieh Sheng Chiao Mu", 2001 Meng Ku "Yuan Yieh Xian" I believe these are all raw.. I just don't taste anything even remotely pleasing, in fact it reminds me a bit of what I imagine boiled bog wood might taste like. I know these are all still considered boarder line too young to enjoy but I don't see how they could transform completely in 5 to 10 more years. Everyone enjoys different things though.
5 to 10 years can completely change a raw pu-erh...it depends on the tea, of course, but you'd be surprised. From your description, they were probably just starting to get a little age on them (aged green pu-ehrs are supposed to taste "woody", though the bogginess probably comes from youth). If they'd been cooked, you'd probably be describing them as "earthy" if you liked them or "muddy" if you didn't.

All those are still youngish teas...the oldest would be 12 if you'd drunk it this year. While I'd start giving teas a chance at around 10 years, 15's a lot safer (and more expensive), and if it's not OK by 20, it probably wasn't any good to begin with (you can't get good aging without a good base tea...just like headphones...trash in, trash out).

At least you haven't been buying from those sketchy American vendors that claim to have "100-year-old" shu pu-erh bingchas for $100 (even if such a thing did exist, it'd be worth a fortune).
post #12 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zodduska View Post
Here's the pu-erh I've tried so far: 1997 MengHai "Shui Lan Yin" 7542, 98 MengHai "Yieh Sheng Chiao Mu", 2001 Meng Ku "Yuan Yieh Xian" I believe these are all raw.. I just don't taste anything even remotely pleasing, in fact it reminds me a bit of what I imagine boiled bog wood might taste like.
Hou De, right? Very good vendor. All of those, or at least the first and third, were brought up in an extra-wet environment and then received a much-needed spell of dryer climes for a while, to shed the "wet-stored" taste. So they are more mature than their years would suggest. While these do not represent the pinnacle of pu-erh, I think they are very respectable aged sheng teas that constitute a pretty good test for whether you like pu-erh. Apparently you do not...except there's one more thing. The brewing can be a little finicky. For aged pu-erh, you want the water to be quite hot; you should be using a small (< 160ml) yixing or gaiwan; you should be using around 4g of tea for each 80ml of your brewing container, and you should be using very short infusions, starting around 15 seconds and increasing to 45 as you get toward the later ones. One sure way to miss what pu-erh has to offer is to brew it too strong with an excessively long infusion or too much tea for the water. I once did that with a nice 60's tea and it tasted like moldy library books.

But, if you already knew the right way to brew pu-erh, heck, stick with the oolongs.
post #13 of 22
Thanks for the advice guys, yeah these came from Hou De, my favorite place to buy tea. I'll give pu-erh another try sometime, I still have some of each left. Going by what you said I likely used too much leaf but around the right temp and steeping time.. my yixing could be a little bit big too, I'll try it with a smaller gaiwan. The few times I tried I couldn't get through a pretty large cup of it, I felt pretty bad wasting such expensive tea.. especially since these are known to go for quite a few infusions.
post #14 of 22
Thread Starter 
I love Hou De! Guang's a great guy...he seems to love what he does, and he's genuinely helpful and a nice guy. One of the best tea sellers this side of the pacific, IMHO.
post #15 of 22
Celestial Seasonings Decaf Coconut Chai....surprisingly awesome. In college I used to make Masala Chai from scratch (cardamon, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, black tea, sugar, milk > in a pot on the stove), and this stuff brings back some good memories...I totally recommend it.


Oh btw, this stuff isn't sweet by itself...I have no clue why they say that.
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