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Lesson #34. Brewing Oolongs in a Gaiwan

Please note!

Brew 7 grams of tea per 100 ml.

The water temperature is 100 °C.

Pour out the first steeping.

This way of brewing is especially suitable for Wuyi oolong teas, such as Da Hong Pao. But you can also brew Guangdong teas this way. Guangdong locals almost always drink «Lonely bushes from the Phoenix Mountains», but at the same time they do not use a сhahai. They immediately pour tea from gaiwan into bowls, the rest of the brewing process is almost the same.

Oolongs are always steeped with 100 °C water, we take 7 grams of tea per 100 milliliters of water. It means that we put 14 grams of tea into a 200 milliliter gaiwan. These parameters are more important for opening oolongs than the tea-ware you use. Naturally, you may use a Yixing teapot instead of a gaiwan.
We start brewing by preheating the tea-ware. Sometimes we not only preheat it, but also clean it.

One may hold a gaiwan several ways: keeping only the lid on the cup or lifting it together with the saucer. If this is the first time you use this gaiwan, try putting it in your hand, look for the best and easiest way to hold it, so that you won’t burn your fingers and will be able to pour all the infusion out. The tea-ware is warm and we can start brewing. There must be enough tea to make the taste saturated at the peak of the brewing, and the infusion fragrant.

The first steeping is used to wash the tea. To do that, we wash the tea leaf with boiling water to make it fully wet. During the first steeping a foam appears on the surface. The Chinese always dispose of it because it distorts the taste of tea. We immediately drain the water, you don’t need to keep the tea leaf in the gaiwan.
The first brewing produces a weak infusion which is not very tasty. It’s not offered to guests, but poured out. Oolongs from the Wuyi Mountains withstand 7-10 brewings. The tea leaf rapidly gives its taste and flavor to the water. We recommend you to pour it very quickly. Partly this is the reason why Wuyi teas are traditionally brewed in a gaiwan. Adjusting the position of the gaiwan lid we can manage the speed at which we pour the infusion.

Have a nice tea!

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