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Chinese Tea FAQ
 
  1. First of all, why drink tea?
  2. Who shouldn't drink tea?
  3. Is there any tea that I don't want to drink?
  4. What is the best tool for tea brewing?
  5. How many classes of tea are there?
  6. Are there lots of tea brewing methods?
  7. May I have a summary of suggested brewing methods, quantity of tea to use, brewing time, etc. for specific tea classes? 
  8. Want to find out more about Kam's personal rating in the tea ordering page.

 
 
Why drink tea?

Thirst quenching! Of course there is more to it. Tea is healthy in a lot of ways. It lowers blood pressure, protects the heart, helps to prevent obesity, prevents tooth decay and increases immunity, etc. To Kam, these "help"s may seem too distant. But when Kam wakes up in the morning with a cup of tea, the world stops. Tea's impact on one's psychological health is immediate. That's why tea has become a way of life for millions of Chinese.
 
Who shouldn't drink tea?

Those who are having ulcer, constipation, calcium deficiency, anaemia, sleeplessness, etc.
 
Any tea that i shouldn't drink?
  
    • Ultra strong tea - you know, too much caffeine and other exciting elements
    • Tea with a burnt smell - Probably over processed. Nutritional value and taste are gone. Why make your tongue and body work for nothing?
    • Tea soaked overnight - Even if there is no smell, some protein in the tea may have undergone chemical reaction. You don't want your stomach to be a lab for an uncontrolled experiment, do you?
    • Over brewed tea - Kam has been drinking that for 30 years but hey, if the experts say it is not good, why not just get a smaller teapot and finish all the tea each time?
    • Cold tea - that results in some untranslatable Chinese medical terms. In short, it's "no good".

 

 
What is the best tool for tea brewing?

Clay teapot is the best. YiXing ZiSha is the best of the best. It has air pores that allows gaseous exchange and it does a good job retaining water temperature. 
 
Classification of Chinese tea

There are green, red, Oolong, white, yellow, black, flower, compressed tea and tea bag (Wait! This last one is not true though you might be drinking it everyday
).
 
Are there lots of tea brewing methods?

Method of tea brewing varies greatly with class & quality of tea, weather, eating habit, etc. Although certain tea types shouldn't be brewed with certain brewing methods, there is no "only way" to brew tea. Rule of thumb is to find the method that brings out the best taste of the tea. Non-expert Kam lists a few commonly used tea brewing methods here for your reference:
 
Gong Fu Cha - uses small teapots
  yes, you can do casual tea with this serious method of brewing
  best way to brew Oolong, no good for delicate tea types like green tea
  put tea in teapot, prepare boiling water
  run water into teapot. This is to quickly rinse the tea. Dump, don't drink, this round
  put water into teapot for second time, this round 1 is for drinking
  empty all tea from teapot between each round
  repeat putting water into teapot for round 2, 3, 4 ...
  taste of tea drops off quickly after round 4 unless you use very expensive tea
 
Glass cup brewing
  good for high quality, tender tea that are good for visual appreciation
  green, flower tea
  for tea with rolled & solid leaf, hot water in glass first, then drop tea from above
  for tea with thin & light leaf (that won't sink), put tea in glass first, then pour 1/3 hot water, wait 2 minutes for tea to expand, fill up and cover
  watch tea dance in glass, drink after 3-5 minutes (including the 2 min)
  refill when tea is down to 1/3 of glass
  taste should run out after second refill
 
Ceramic cup brewing - uses 3-piece Chinese ceramic tea cup
  casual way of brewing, for medium or lower quality tea which visual appreciation is not necessary
  convenient and to serve basic purpose of tea - thirsty quenching
  tea first in cup, pour 1/3 hot water, wait 2 minutes for tea to expand, fill up and cover
  drink after 3-5 minutes (including the 2 min)
  refill when tea is down to 1/3 of cup
  taste should run out after second refill
 
There are more, Kam will list them if he comes to using them.

 

 
Tea brewing summary:
 
    • Personal preference is king. It's better to experiment first (especially on quantity of tea to use) to find out your own preference first. Here is a table for general reference. Please don't sue Kam if it doesn't quite produce your cup of tea :
        
Tea Type Suggested
Brewing
Method
Kam's
Suggested qty.
water : dry tea
(by weight)
Brewing Time & Remarks
Oolong Gong Fu Cha 4:1 1st round 60 sec. add 15, 25, 35 ... etc for rounds after, some drinkers would use up to 2:1 tea leaves, it's up to your own preference.
Iron Guan Yin Gong Fu Cha 4:1 1st round 60 sec. add 15, 25, 35 ... etc for rounds after, some drinkers would use up to 2:1 tea leaves, it's up to your own preference.
Longevity Eyebrow glass/ceramic 30:1 This is a dim sum restaurant tea. Can be brewed in a bigger teapot and left standing for a longer period, like half an hour or so.
Jasmine glass/ceramic 70:1 Very casual tea. No specific procedure. Just hot water and a couple of minutes will do.
Rose glass/ceramic 100:1 Remove stalk, crush bud before brewing. 
Dragon Well glass/ceramic 50:1 No boiling water. 180-190F is good. Do not use YiXing teapots for DW as high water temperature will over brewed DW. Use a regular glass. 120 seconds for 1st round, 240 for 2nd, 360 for 3rd. The taste drops off quickly after the 3rd round. Spring tea of Dragon is more forgiving on tea quantity and brewing time.
Dragon Ball glass/ceramic 35:1 No boiling water. 180-190F is good. 60 sec. per round. Just 10-15 balls are enough for a glass.
Fur Tip glass/ceramic 50:1 Please follow regular glass/ceramic brewing procedure.
Spring Snail glass/ceramic 50:1 Please follow regular glass/ceramic brewing procedure.
Lone Bush Gong Fu Cha 50:1 Hottest water possible. Needs high temperature to brew.
Tian Red glass/ceramic 50:1 Heard that this red could be brewed the Gong Fu Cha way. But that could result in a very strong tea. Well, up to your own experiment.
Lychee Red glass/ceramic 70:1 Just a glass and a small fingerful of tea will do. 1-2 min. of brewing and it's all ready.
Toh glass/ceramic 50:1 No very demand on brewing procedure. Just a casual bit of tea leaves and hot water will do. No stopwatch needed as you can leave it standing in the cup.
Pu'er glass/ceramic 70:1 This is a dim sum restaurant tea. Can be brewed in a bigger teapot and left standing for a longer period, like half an hour or so.
More coming ...  More coming ...    More coming ...

 

 
Kam's personal rating in the tea ordering page:
 
    • Aroma - what the nose says (after tea is brewed)
      Excellent - Good - Light
    • Taste - what the tongue says
      Staying (lasting refreshing taste) - Heavy - Medium - Light 
    • Pleasure - Kam's subjective overall pleasure. Remember, it's subjective.  
      Sublime - V. High - High - Medium - Fair - Not Impressed 
    • More coming ...

 

 

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