May 8, 2012

brewing green teas with Petr Novák shibo set

Well, I guess shiboridashi was meant to be for green tea to begin with! But for a long time I forgot about this fact, as I enjoy using Petr's shibos for oolong and puerh - they have the perfect size and hand-grab feeling. The little "teeth" at the spout does a great job filtrating liquor out of brewed tea leaves. And, they don't get your fingers burnt! I never feel 100% comfortable using gaiwan for gongfu tea, and used to take teapots as much as possible. But suddenly, Petr's shibo became my new "gaiwan" :-D

Last time when we got a bunch of Petr's hand made tea ware (tea bowls, shibos, teapots...) for the web store, I selfishly grabbed this cute red shibo set for myself before showing it to anybody :-p Then in this spring, when new green teas arrive, I suddenly realize this is a perfect set for green tea! Oh well I guess I'm the last one to realize this :-p But I mean, many people use shibos for Japanese greens, and they are actually perfect as well for Chinese greens. And this specific set has everything I love as a green tea set!

For green tea that requires a lower temperature, the shiboridashi with lid removed serves as a perfect water cooler, and the small tea bowl that comes with it can be used as a brewing and drinking vessel. It's quite small, but perfect for tea that you've got to be thrifty on.

Cooling water:

Pouring water in the little tea bowl and throw in some Bi Luo Chun:

Bi Luo Chun "germinates" at the bottom of the bowl!

An Ji Bai Cha brewed in a similar way:

Tea that can tolerate hot water well can be brewed in the shibo directly, such as this Huang Shan Mao Feng:

Somehow I feel the color of the red glaze matches spring green very well! And the white inside is perfect for appreciation of green tea leaves.

Brewing Yong Xi Huo Qing is as easy as throwing tea grains into a bowl of hot water.

Then the tea grains would "germinate" in water.

 Then it takes a couple of minutes for the leaves to get fully expand.

 The monkey seems as thrilled as I am!

Teas like Bi Luo Chun and Yong Xi Huo Qing stay put at the bottom of the vessel and don't usually get into the way of your drinking. For some other teas whose leaves would go up and down in the water, or float around, the lid could be useful.

This is how people use the lid of a traditional gaiwan to wave away tea leaves when drinking green tea. You can do pretty much the same with the lid of a shibo :-)
(This is my favorite actress in my favorite Chinese TV version of my favorite book, The Story of the Stone.)
For most Chinese green teas, I would use hottest boiling water, or water temperature very close to boiling point. Hot water could be very helpful for green tea leaves to open their cells and release flavors. Then a tea bowl with wide opening is really handy. It allows hot steam to escape fast so the water wouldn't stay too hot to get the leaves "cooked". Meantime, the thick wall prevents water from cooling down too fast. I didn't analyze all this before using this shibo. But once I started, I found myself using it most of the time since the green teas arrived a few week ago. Then I came up with all these guess-analysis about why it seems so great for green teas!


discipleofthetealeaf said...

Enjoyed reading your post as always, Gingko. Your thrilled monkey photo and comment really made me giggle, and I kind of can't stop laughing about it now... :)


Gingko said...

Eric, thanks! The monkey always makes me laugh too :) said...

Nice post. Thank you
for taking the time to publish this information very useful! I’m still waiting
for some interesting thoughts from your side in your next post thanks!