Introduction - this piece
Gongfu vs. mug brewing (1) -- Mt. Wudong Zhi Lan Dan Cong;
Gongfu vs. mug brewing (2) -- Yong Chun Fo Shou;
Gongfu vs mug brewing (3) - Oriental Beauty;
I love glass mug, and use it for green tea all the time. But for oolong, I had almost always used a small teapot (or gaiwan). Recently I tried more glass mug brewing of oolong, curious in finding out how well can mug brewing illicit flavors of oolong.
Overall I prefer gongfu brewing for most oolong teas. But there are a few reasons why I would like to find out about mug brewing. First of all, I guess when I send teas to other people, I can’t assume everyone uses the same brewing method as I do, and it’s important for me to find out how the tea turns out when not gongfu-brewed.
Secondly, when I introduce tea to non-frequent drinkers, I prefer to introduce an easy way of brewing which doesn’t require immediate shopping of equipment. A mug is what I first think of. I always like glass mug, know it usually doesn’t ruin a tea, but am very interested in finding out how well a tea can taste in mug brewing.
Thirdly, although I assume it can hardly be comparable to gongfu brewing, I somewhat believe it will work better for oolong than brewing with a big teapot (larger than several ounces). Consider its convenience to most people, I think it’s worth trying if the outcome of mug brewing is 70% as good as gongfu brewing.
In addition, I have to admit sometimes I feel a bit guilty spending so much time on tea drinking. I would be happy if I can do more casual drinking without sacrificing much taste.
Before I start recording some gongfu vs. mug brewing comparisons, let me define the terms first.
By Gongfu brewing, I mean small vessel, boiling water, and short infusions. In my typical gongfu session, I use 110ml (4oz.) vessel (teapot or gaiwan), 5 grams leaves, hottest possible water, and short initial infusions (5-30 seconds).
The typical glass mug I use holds 150ml (5oz.) to 200ml (6.8oz.) water when 70% full. I plan to always use hottest possible water. Like in green tea brewing, infusion time will be a few minutes; drinking starts when leaves naturally sink to the bottom or expands to certain extent. Mug will be refilled when liquor is down to the 1/3 mug volume.
Subject teas: I plan to try out various oolongs.
So far I’ve tried comparing Gongfu vs. mug brewing of a few teas. My first report is on a Dan Cong, which I had never thought of mug brewing in the past.