WAYS OF BREWING.
Ways of Brewing Tea
The right brewing method should give you the best of your leaves.
When most people think of brewing a cup of tea, they typically think about putting tea into their infuser, and steeping the leaves for 3-5 minutes before removing the tea leaves. This is a very easy and convenient way to brew tea, and is considered the western brewing method.
In details, the difference between gongfu style and western style brewing is fairly simple. Gongfu style uses 1-2 tablespoons or more of leaves in a smaller brewing vessel (around 0.2 liters), with an infusion time of 10-20 seconds for the first infusion. The gongfu method allows for upwards of 10 steeps, with each one presenting a different flavor as the water goes deeper within the leaf.
By brewing tea in a large vessel, we allow for it to open up all at once, giving us all it has in one go. You may not recognize all the subtleties we receive from opening up the tea’s taste gradually, but you will get a cup of delicious tea with a nice aroma nonetheless.
One time brewing loose tea leaves beats tea bags any day!
Prepare a teapot or any brewing vessel of choice. Place the appropriate amount of tea leaves inside.
Brew the tea using the perfect water temperature - use spring water or quality filtered water as much as possible.
After the right amount of time has passed, remove the tea leaves to prevent over-brewing (For this purpose we recommend using a teapot with a strainer).
Pour the tea into your teacups and enjoy.
For Western Brewing, we recommend using a french press - but make sure you empty the whole teapot in a pitcher because the leaves should not soak in water.
This eastern style brewing consists of using a small teapot or gaiwan (about 0.2 liters) and infusing whole leaf tea multiple times in short durations. 1/4 to 1/3 of the tea vessel is usually filled with dry leaves and after brewing, the tea is drunk in smaller cups.
Due to the larger amount of tea used and short steeping time, this method provides for a richer taste than the Western style of brewing and eliminates any bitterness that may be caused by steeping for a longer duration. Each consecutive infusion reveals distinct flavors - a phenomenon especially evident when brewing high quality teas.
Gongfu may look complicated for the first timers - in reality, it is not as difficult as it seems. It’s very likely that after trying it once for yourself, it might just become a habit!
Preheat the teapot by first pouring hot water inside. Empty the vessel, place the tea leaves inside and let them warm up for a minute.
You will notice the change in the aroma as the tea leaves start slowly opening up.
Quickly rinse the tea first before brewing.
Start brewing your tea: decant all the tea, each time, after only 10 seconds or so of steeping. Look at the color of the liquid, inhale the aroma, sip slowly, and you will feel how the tea is gradually changing. With each infusion the flavor transforms - some more robust, some sweeter, some more delicate.
We believe that the gongfu tea experience should not be so rigid as to have defined leaf amounts and a set steeping time for each infusion. Sure, there are general guidelines to begin with, but being scientific in your approach can, in our opinion, detract from the beauty of the experience.
Brewing Japanese Green Tea
Among Japanese green teas, Sencha and Gyokuro might sometimes look similar but their way of brewing is somewhat different.
High quality Sencha should be brewed around 70 C° - Gyokuro leaves should not be exposed to water hotter than 60 C°. The other difference is that you should use about twice as much Gyokuro leaves, compared to Sencha. If you really want to enjoy your Gyokuro, use a temperature-controlled kettle, set it to 70 C° (usually the minimum setting), and wait a few minutes until the water cools to the desired temperature.
If you are serving multiple guests, make sure not to fill one teacup at a time, but rather, line all teacups in a row and fill each little by little, going back and forth. This ensures that each cup of gyokuro tea tastes the same.
When you have finished - don't throw those wet leaves away: Pour a little Ponzu Soy Sauce and eat them - they are quite delicious!
There are two ways to prepare Matcha: Usucha - thin matcha, the standard way - and Koicha - strong Matcha, prepared mostly for tea ceremony.
For the most common Usucha, place 2 Chashaku - Japanese bamboo spoon or 1 regular teaspoon of Matcha into the Chawan bowl.
Add a few drops of warm water and gently whisk to form a smooth, thick paste, close to Koicha.
Add 70ml of warm - 70 C° water into the Chawan. Using the bamboo Chasen, whisk the Matcha until it has a rich foam on top. To create a rich and foamy bowl of Matcha, move the bamboo Chasen quickly like writing the letter "W." It is not a circular stirring motion. Move your wrist back and forth very quickly in short jerks. This method creates a nice frothy lather.