Friday, October 13, 2006

How and when to put green tea leaves in hot water

How and when to put green tea leaves in hot water... It's more complicated than one can imagine.

First of all, there are 3 basic ways to add tea leaves in hot water in the case of green tea:

1, top throw (Shang Tou), add leaves after cup is filled up with hot water to top
2, middle throw (Zhong Tou), fill cup 1/5, then add leaves, let it soak for 20-30 seconds, then fill hot water all the way to top
3, bottom throw (Xia Tou), add leaves to empty cup, then fill with hot water to top

Which "throw" to use can be seasonal, summer and fall can use top throw, spring and winter can use bottom throw. Delicate leaves such as top grade spring Lung Jing or Bi Luo Chun can use top throw, medium size or hairy tips such as Mao Jian can be middle throw, Jasmine pearls should use bottom throw. The logic behind it is, the smaller and more delicate leave which can't take high heat should use top throw; while something needs more time to open up but can't be "cooked" with hot temperature use middle throw; something can with-stand or require higher temperature use bottom throw.


innerspace said...

Hello. I've got a question. Maybe this is the siily one but I'd like to clear something.
When using Shang Tou in gaiwan, do you have to stir the tea leaves in or you got to close the lid and pour the tea out to the pitcher without stiring it?

And of course your blogg is wonderful. Very informative with a defenite personal touch. It's always good to find someone who is on the same wavelenght about the tea.:-)

Imen said...

Hi Innerspace,

Nice nick name! And thank you for stopping by. :)

After the leaves are thrown in the hot water, I usually use the lid to push the water in one direction to create water current (rolling/tumbling effect), the direction is from one side of the gaiwan to the opposite side straight across. The function is to stir without using a spoon. I hope this helps. :)

innerspace said...

Oh, Thank You very much! That's what I've done intuitially in case with Tzun Shan Ing Chzhen. But it always helps when someone who knows more than me could help.