After setting up the Cloud's Tea Diary, Cloud often receives e-mails and private messages with questions related to Puerh tea. Those questions are good questions. Beginners may also have similar doubts when they start their Puerh tea journeys. Thus, Cloud decides to gather these Q&As to the Cloud's Tea Diary so that the later comers may make reference to my answers.
A Puerh tea lover, AY, asked, "What is the ratio of tea leaves to the volume of the utensil (purple clay teapot or tea bowl) when I brew Puerh tea? I have read the Technique - Proportion of Tea Leaves, how do you determine the intervals of each infusion?"
There is No Fixed Rule - Depending on Personal Usual Practice
Since different people accept different tastes and concentrations. Some people would like to have mild tastes while some others would like strong tastes. There is no fixed rule for brewing tea. Personally speaking, Cloud adopts 10g (by using a 200cc tea bowl) as a personal standard reference. Cloud gets used to trying sample teas by this ratio (10g:200cc) long time ago. Therefore, every time when Cloud has to review a tea, Cloud would adopt the same ratio so that it would be a personal standard reference for comparing those teas Cloud tried before, i.e. on the same weight:volume basis. However, Cloud must stress that this is a personal standard reference only.
Some tea lovers would like to have less tea leaves (e.g. 5g) but brewing tea with long infusion time. However, some tea lovers would like to have more tea leaves (e.g. 13g) but with short infusion time.
What if my Teapot is Not Exactly 200cc?
When Cloud is trying tea samples, it will be a perfect match for 10g tea leaves brewed by 200cc utensil. However, generally speaking, purple clay teapots have many different sizes ranging from, e.g. 150cc to 250cc (This is a normal range. Some of the purple clay teapots can be very large. On the contrary, if the teapot is too small, it is not practical to use). In this case, Cloud will adopt a general proportion ratio of tea leaves to the utensil according to different kinds of Puerh teas. The weight of tea leaves needs not be too accurate. Approximation is good enough.
Loose-leaf Puerh Tea       As loose-leaf Puerh tea is not a compressed tea, there is much space between tea leaves. Therefore, Cloud would put 1/3 tea leaves to the volume of the utensil.
Puerh Tea Cake       Although a Puerh tea cake is a compressed tea, the degree of compression is various. Generally speaking, a Puerh tea cake is not highly compressed. If it is a tea cake compressed with cultivated wild tea leaves, the tea cake is in fact quite loosely compressed. Therefore, Cloud would put 1/3 tea leaves to the volume of the utensil in this case.
However, you may need to do some adjustments in some particular situations.
For example, last time when Cloud brewed the 1950's Red Mark Round Tea Cake of Collector A. Cloud thought that 10.4g was enough for the Cloud's teapot (Photo A0333). However, it was later found out that that size of teapot was a little bit larger. In addition, most importantly, Collector A and Cloud would like to have a rich taste 1950's Red Mark. Finally, by rough observation filling up the teapot, 14.5g Red Mark was put into the teapot (Photo A0335). From this illustration, we can understand that there is no fixed rule for brewing tea. Tea lovers need experiences to handle difference cases.
Puerh Discus Tea Cake       As a Puerh discus tea cake is a very compressed tea, 10g has a relatively small volume. It seems that the tea leaves are not enough when putting into the utensil. In fact, small volume of compressed tea leaves can be far more than enough. From Photo A0648, one can notice that although the volume of the mini-discus tea cake is small, it has already been 10g in the tea bowl. Therefore, Cloud would put 1/4 tea leaves to the volume of the utensil in this case.
Infusion Intervals       Since different people have different styles of brewing, there is no rigid rule for infusion time as well. As long as tea lovers can brew their own tea broth with approximate concentrations according to their personal infusion time intervals, it is fairly good enough. Definitely, this needs more brewing experiences.
Why is there no fixed infusion time? The reason is that different kinds of tea leaves require different infusion time. In relation to Puerh tea, there should be adjustments of infusion time for Puerh tea of different degrees of compression. In addition, the brewing method of aged tea is slightly different from that of young tea. Furthermore, different storage conditions also need slightly different ways to handle. Brewing tea is an art. The experiences of brewing tea are also needed to be accumulated.
If you would like to make reference to Cloud's 10g/200cc brewing method, Cloud may provide you the following infusion timetable (for reference only!):
(Rinsing is not counted as the 1st infusion)
- 3 seconds
- 5 seconds
- 10 seconds
- 15 seconds
- 20 seconds
- 25 seconds
- 30 seconds
- 40 seconds
- 50 seconds
- 60 seconds
- 1 minute 10 seconds
- 1 minute 30 seconds
- 2 minutes
- 2 minutes 30 seconds
- 3 minutes
- (subsequent infusions) As long as you wish
26 September 2008 wrote in Chinese
7 November 2008 translated into English
Cloud (Hong Kong)
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