Friday, January 23, 2015

The beauty of the simplicity of Grampa style tea brewing, a simple guide

Grampa style is the way most people in China drink their tea, or so I have read amongst many sites.  The technique is so astoundingly simple, and as such I find it very beautiful, almost daringly so.

First off, let me give you a little grampa style tutorial.

  • Take a pinch or so of tea leaves and put them in the bottom of your favorite mug. That's right, no infuser, no filter, no tea bag.
  • Add very hot water, hotter than you would normally use for a given tea.
  • Let it sit for a little while
  • Then drink until you need to refill.
That's it, those are the basics.

There are however some nuances to brewing grampa style, and my little tweaks are as follows.

  • I like big-ish mugs, but they kind of need to have a tapered bottom or sloped sides. It seems that the leaves don't float into your mouth as easily as in a straight sided mug.
  • in a mug, if you are drinking a tightly rolled oolong don't even cover the bottom of the mug with the tea. It expands exponentially, and you need room to refill and drink.
  • I usually go with 195, but a LOT of people go with straight boiling. I find that I don't drink tea fast enough to go full boiling without the tea getting bitter as I drink it, unless it's shou pu'erh, which is kind of a special case.
  • When most of the leaves have sunk to the bottom, it's usually strong enough to drink.
  • Drink only to about half-way. that way there is still some strong tea to mix in to the hot water, meaning you have tea ready faster.
  • Don't do this with herbal teas, ESPECIALLY not Rooibos.
  • If you find the tea looking like a gradient, don't be afraid to give it a stir.
  • Most teas can take 5-10 refills, and pu'erh and oolong can take more, much of the time.
  • Biggest tip of all- Don't be afraid to stop when the flavor is gone. once a tea is done, you can always drain the leaves and put them in a jug of water overnight in the fridge and have decent iced tea in the morning.

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