Here we guide you on how to brew top grade tea, specifically Puerh. Many Chinese prefer to use Gaiwan products for high end Puerh. However, the same tools and techniques can be used for other high end teas.
Taking the Tea – Extracting the Essence
- Preparing the Tea Brick: To prepare the tea, lift the tea brick and, based on its texture, insert a pin into it several times. This technique allows you to peel off an entire surface of the tea. Once the tea brick is fragmented, separate the tea leaves, aiming to maintain their integrity to avoid excessive bitterness. For brewing, select 8.5 grams of tea, focusing on the two faces and the middle section of the tea brick to control the flavor effectively.
Warming the Teaware
- Ensuring Cleanliness: The preparation process demands utmost cleanliness. Boil water to clean the tea ware thoroughly, with a particular focus on the Gaiwan. It’s crucial that the Gaiwan is entirely warmed up to the extent that you can feel its warmth when touched. This step serves as the foundation for preserving the tea’s flavor and facilitates the evaporation of excess moisture in the fresh tea. Boil enough water to brew four rounds throughout the entire process, using freshly boiled water consistently.
Wetting the Tea – Awakening the Leaves
- Tea Wetting: Place the tea into the Gaiwan and give it a brief 30-second steaming. Gradually raise the tea’s temperature before initiating the brewing process. Wet the tea for two rounds. In the first round, use a medium volume of water, as the tightness of ripe Puerh tea differs from other teas. Pour the water along the Gaiwan’s edge to facilitate tea leaf rolling within the bowl. When the water bubble speed decreases, cover the Gaiwan. This enhances the complete expansion of the tea leaves. For the second round, pour the water more slowly with a smaller quantity. During this process, the aromas of wood and caramel will emerge, promising a long-lasting flavor that lingers in the cup.
Drinking a Brew of Top Grade Tea
- A Mindful Approach: Approach your cup of tea with a serene mind, focusing on the treasure in your hand. Pour in a medium volume of water from a fixed point approximately 2 to 3 cm from the Gaiwan’s rim. Maintain a steady hand, ensuring a gradual and uninterrupted flow of water. After the first round, pour out the tea 3 to 5 seconds after covering the Gaiwan. The second round can be poured more swiftly. Adjust the waiting time as per your preference for subsequent rounds. Beyond round 12, progressively extend the waiting time to 7 to 10 seconds per round. Notice that the tea’s sweetness intensifies after round 12.
Ensuring an Optimal Experience
- Maintaining Cleanliness: To preserve the tea’s cleanliness and flavor, exercise caution during the initial rounds (up to 8 rounds). After removing the lid, wait for 3 seconds before pouring to prevent water vapor drops that could lead to soup and water separation and a bitter taste at the bottom of the cup.
Contrary to popular belief, many Chinese tea masters prefer to use a Gaiwan to brew top grade tea such as Puerh, specifically raw selections. Overall, any tea can use these techniques to bring out optimal taste and quality.