I have wondered if citric acid might work. Luckily, mine hasn't been building up too much yet, but I've never heard a good answer to whether (and how) to safely descale clay / stoneware kettles.

For those who are interested, btw:

[new topics]
http://teadrunk.org/extern.php?action=new&type=rss
[recently active topics]
http://teadrunk.org/extern.php?action=a … p;type=rss

I will try to put some actual links to this somewhere. It doesn't work perfectly, but should give you an idea of new posts and / or updates if you subscribe in your feed reader. Only downside is that you may get notified when there's spam, even if an admin deletes it.

Try using spring water, at least a few times, even if you're not willing to use it all the time. See if the results are better, just to rule out other possible problems, i.e., if the tea still tastes bad with spring water, maybe the problem is elsewhere in your brewing setup or technique (or with your tea). That may seem wasteful, but I do find that I get somewhat better results making tea with spring water, even compared to my 3 stage, non-RO filtration system at home. If there are local outfits that do spring water delivery, that might help cut down your guilt about all the packaging involved in buying spring water by the gallon bottle, though there are still cost and "carbon footprint" issues that I totally respect.

You can also try leaving your filtered water in a container for a few days, and see if that helps.

Personally, I'd avoid the fridge, even if it means getting a separate water filter (I have had Ok results with Pur, though the on-faucet ones tend to get clogged). For one thing, no matter how clean your fridge is, there are probably some food smells in there. Maybe common sense, but also make sure the Brita filter has been changed sometime recently.

Do let us know how it turns out.

Thought this was worth pointing out, just for the photo porn.
Chinglish link: http://www.china-xmtea.com/doccen/cywh.asp
Simplified Chinese: http://www.china-xmtea.com/docccn/cywh.asp

Good to see this thread coming back!

I drank the Menghai 2002 "Natural Habitat" (bok choy picture) mini-bing. Expensive, and, as marshaln says, probably over-priced, but still a very pleasant tasting tea. I didn't get the characteristic Banzhang bitterness in the first steep after 2 rinses, and then on the second brew.... whoomp, it hit me. Brewing a little darker than I expected for a 2002 cake with fairly dry storage. I enjoyed this, but glad I only have one piece (at $75/200g cake).

Not exactly puer, but yesterday had a blend of 1970s - 1980s guang yun gong (sample from a tea friend). Really delicious stuff. Absolute lack of bitterness, sharpness, astringency, mustyness, and a very pleasant sweet and medicinal taste. Plus it brewed dark and thick, and lasted forever. The original price of this blend was pretty cheap, and even now, the price is not bad.

56

(3 replies, posted in Oolong Tea / 乌龙茶 (青茶))

But my impression is that you want to start with a stronger-tasting tea as the flavor will mellow with age.

I think there's some truth to that. But one big plus of aging more delicate tasting (or at least less roasted and / or oxidized) oolongs is that they tend to change more and in more noticeable ways.

For aging teas you don't want to use an airtight container like you would for green or black teas.  An unglazed ceramic container is probably porous enough.  I've also seen the recommendation, if you use a glazed or non-porous container, to place the tea in it loosely and leave the top open, covering it with a cloth.

I think many people would disagree with you w/r/t airtight containers, but I think it really depends on the specific tea, your climate, whether you're planning to re-roast the tea or not, and what kind of result you're trying to get (i.e., whether or not you like sour, musty, and / or "medicinal" tastes).

I have heard of people doing half and half (at least for Fenghuang dancong), aging the tea in unglazed pots that aren't sealed that tightly for 5-6 years, then sealing them for more storage.

Two things, storage related. First, want to link to an interesting post (and accompanying discussion) about storage here:

http://www.marshaln.com/2011/01/traditional-not-wet/

Secondly, since I finally got pictures of my humid storage up, thought I'd post some photos here:
[click for larger image]
http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5042/5306976207_6c90c19c86.jpg
http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5242/5307570080_1d3b38d8d1.jpg

Still too soon to see what kind of effect it will have on the tea. I've had teas in here since about the summer of '09. It's not ideal, but given how dry it is here in Southern California, seems like the best approach for now. I'm mostly keeping the humidity moderate - 60s in the winter and 70s in the summer.

58

(3 replies, posted in Oolong Tea / 乌龙茶 (青茶))

Since it's a very generic name, I don't think anyone will be able to tell you much. If you post some pictures of the brewed tea leaves and the dry leaf, that might help a little. Assuming it's a heavily roasted and somewhat oxidized tea, you should be able to age it for quite a while without re-roasting.

As long as the tea isn't starting to develop sour tastes, and as long as the storage environment is pretty dry, I don't think you have to re-roast it too often. And even when you do, it can be just something very mild to get the moisture out (like heating in a rice cooker on "keep warm"). One other trick I've heard to tell how moist the leaves are is to see how easily they crumble in your fingers. If they're very dry, they should crumble easily.

It also depends on your taste. Personally, I like the taste of oolongs which have been aged without much / any re-roasting.

tropheus wrote:

in the last time, I thought a lot about aging tea, especially some dark oolong called: "Fancy oolong old style". I have up to 200 grams of this tea, which I like very much. But I was wondering, how to store this tea for a longer time of aging. Just the normal metal-cans, special earthware or boxes of ceramic??

Probably best to start a thread in the oolong section if you have a question about storing oolongs.

First, though, have a look at this thread:
http://teadrunk.org/viewtopic.php?id=76

As well as this thread over on Teachat:
http://www.teachat.com/viewtopic.php?t=6386

In the second one, I provide links to some other information about the same subject. But just keep in mind, that different types of oolongs will age differently, and different people have different taste preferences. I think your best bet is a combination of guesswork, luck, and hedging your bets.

A lot of my oolong is just in heavy foil bags. Other stuff is in ceramic or pewter jars, and a few other things are in unglazed clay jars.

LaoChaGui wrote:

I have also had several people tell me that DHP is usually a blend. They may put a large number of different varietals in together to get the taste they want. Some varietals used: Rougui, Beidou #1, 105, and many others depending on what is available, and how it combines with the other varietals on hand.

"105" refers to huang guanyin (黄观音), right?

I wouldn't worry about seasoning building up on things you don't drink from (waste bowls), but I would personally avoid using non porcelain-lined tools for cups, chahai, etc (though I wouldn't mind some Yixing tea boats or teapot dishes). Just an opinion. Even the Yixing cups that have porcelain on the inside are weird for me - something about the unglazed clay doesn't feel right on my mouth, and I don't think you want people's saliva "seasoning" your cups. On top of this (and this is very subjective), the cups that are completely unglazed somehow make me feel like the taste of the tea isn't as "clear". It might just be because you can't see the color of the tea broth (which is, in and of itself, a problem) The other problem (more an aesthetic one than anything else) is that the clay may not match the clay of whatever pot you're using. Usually you see the Yixing chahai / cups / etc. as part of a matched set.

For a strainer, I doubt it would affect the taste of the tea, but I wouldn't use a Yixing strainer either. Really, though, it takes years and years for the kind of seasoning that you're talking about to build up, and much of the tea will probably be in contact with the mesh part of the strainer, and you'd be rinsing / warming with hot water all the time. If you want to use a strainer (many people don't), my recommendation would be one of the gourd ones with a nylon mesh filter part. If not that, a porcelain filter with metal mesh would probably be my second recommendation.

tropheus wrote:

Is there a place to introduce myself and get familiar with other members of this blog?
I´m writing from Germany, so please excuse the mistakes of the wirting...

There wasn't, but that's a good idea, so I've created a new sub-forum for introductions and off-topic discussion.

63

(12 replies, posted in Chinese Teaware / 中国茶器)

I haven't been myself, but I would personally be wary of buying pots in Yixing itself, especially if you're looking for older stuff, and especially if you don't have an introduction or an inside line to a specific potter. I didn't even bother going, even when I was in Shanghai, which is not that far away.

Personally, I don't have any special "seasoning" that I do with a pot, other than maybe boiling it in water for a little. If you've been using it already, there is no need to do anything special to the pot. I would just keep using it, which is really the important thing.

Kingston - great to see you here. I'm pretty sure the software doesn't support uploading images (without an add-on module / patch), but you can link to an image hosted an external photo site (photobucket, flickr, or whatever), by putting the URL to the image inside the  tags.

66

(1 replies, posted in Gyokuro / 玉露茶)

Oops. Didn't even notice that. I've corrected the forum index title.

isaac wrote:

I came across a Gu JingZhou on sale for US$35,000. The question at the tip of my mind is how on earth would i know if it is genuine. There is no fake pot for comparison :) as they told me that all their products are genuine.

I did ask the question on how did they know it was genuine. They told me that their owner knows the man and used to visit China often. That is why he has a lot of his products.

Btw, he also have a lot of Jiang Rong and other Masters for sale. Again my only question is, how will i know if they are real? Is there a certification body? Or is it based on trust and reputation?

I don't think there are too many people who could reliably authenticate such a pot, though there are plenty of people who could probably spot hallmarks of a fake (if they saw the pot in person). I don't know of an official certification body (Charlie or someone else might), but I would beware of paper certificates, which are a dime a dozen and easily forged.

Collecting Yixing requires both skepticism and a willingness to trust your own judgement. If it's ever possible to be ready to buy a US $35,000 pot, I think you will know when you get to that point -- for me, I'd want to trust the source (have purchased less expensive pots from them in the past and they have all stood the test of time), have some sort of independent "expert(s)" take a look at the pot, and also be confident that the pot is worth $35,000 to me even if it turns out that Gu Jingzhou didn't make it.

Again, I would recommend (and I think many others also) using porcelain rather than stoneware / earthenware for brewing green tea. There's little benefit to using a yixing pot, and the pot will make it easier to "cook" the tea; you might also lose some fragrance.

Since you mention jasmine tea specifically, I would also caution against brewing scented teas like jasmine tea in a yixing pot, for reasons that will probably be obvious if you think about it a little.

As far as brewing different types of teas in your pot, at the beginning, it may be ok to try some different teas in your pot to see what works well, but I think most people would agree it's better to devote a pot to specific types of tea, though there is some disagreement about how specific that should get.

69

(1 replies, posted in Chinese Teaware / 中国茶器)

Kind of a grey area. You can post away, but I won't promise not to delete them.

70

(1 replies, posted in Chinese Teaware / 中国茶器)

First of all, welcome. Things are pretty quiet here these days, so you may want to also post over at Teachat if you haven't already.

I'm sure there are folks here who have more expertise than I, but I think authenticating a pot is difficult even in person, and even for experts.

As far as the clay type, I haven't usually seen even fairly coarse duanni pots have tea actually seep through the pot.

Zisha pots generally are unglazed (though there are examples of glazed or decorated antique zisha pots), but often the texture of the outside is burnished, so a different texture can be achieved between the inside and outside. Usually the inside is rougher and has toolmarks, and the outside is often smooth.

I've done a quick forum version update (just security patches). Please let me know if you experience any problems using the forum or logging in.

mayayo wrote:

Thanks again. I have noticed that as well. I just shot them an e-mail. I am crossing fingers for a delivery to Australia.

I will be using the Gaiwan for myself and maybe one guest. In this last case, can I get away with 90mL?

Again, just depends on the size of your cups and how much tea you like to drink at once. To me, 90ml is plenty big for up to 2 or 3 people; if you've got some cups that are around 30-50 ml, you should be good (the tea will take up some volume, but possibly not as much as you think, and you aren't going to fill the cups to the rim).

If Tea Gallery won't ship, you could try http://jingteashop.com/ (based in China).

They have only a limited selection of porcelain on their site, but can generally find other stuff if you contact them directly. Overall, I think the quality of their porcelain is good.

Best Tea House also has some really nice, thin blue and white porcelain gaiwans (you can see some in the pictures I posted in the teaware thread) that are about the right size; they don't have an online shop, but I can put you in touch with folks at the HK or Canada branch if you want to try to order one. The price won't be super cheap - I'd guess around 30 US, give or take.

I've only heard of problems with open flame (gas, charcoal)... I think electric should be fine.

They won't ship out of the US / Canada through their cart system (you could try emailing them, though, or seeing if someone in the US can order one for you), but the one I'd really recommend is one of these three
http://www.theteagallery.com/category_s/12.htm

Very comfortable to use (you can see some topics about them on Teachat if you want some more opinions), and pretty delicate. They generally pack them very well.

As far as size, depends how you're going to drink the tea (whether you're going to pour the tea into a fair cup or drinking cup, or drink straight from the gaiwan), and how many people you'll be drinking with. I usually drink oolongs and puers, and usually use smallish cups (15-50 ml) and a lot of infusions, so I like the 60 ml one for drinking alone, and larger ones when drinking with 3 or more people. But with green tea, you tend to do fewer infusions and drink more at a time, so I'd say around 90-100 ml might not be a bad size.

If it were me, I'd recommend a thin wall (eggshell) porcelain gaiwan. I'm not sure what you mean about the air, though. I don't think there should be air circulating inside the pot, gaiwan, so not sure what you mean there.