Monday, December 12, 2011

Is there any other way to prepare mellow tea?


How do you prepare tea when you want mellow tea with rich umami?  The usual method is using low temperature water and brewing it for a long time.  When I was looking back at a text book for Japanese tea adviser, I noticed there is another possibility for preparing mellow tea.

When brewed tea has high proportion of umami as against its bitterness, you will find its taste as mellow.  Please take a look at the following chart that I found in the text book.  Tannin is bitter and Amino acid has umami flavor.  Of course, “low temperature and long-time brewing” have high umami ratio.  But, don’t you notice any hint for a different way? 

Temperature
Time (sec)
Tannin content
Amino acid content
Ratio = Amino acid / Tannin
50C
(122F)
30
43
28
0.65
60
57
52
0.91
90
72
65
0.90
120
89
81
0.91
70C
(158F)
30
53
50
0.94
60
89
75
0.84
90
106
85
0.80
120
134
91
0.68
90C
(194F)
30
112
70
0.63
60
129
88
0.68
90
149
97
0.65
120
191
110
0.58
 Density of substance: mg/100ml

Please take a look at the ratio for 70C at 30sec.  If you notice, the ratio is 0.94 which is the highest in the chart.  So, I think this will be another possibility for mellow tea with rich umami.  I know this condition is more risky than “low temp and long time”, because a slight difference of the brewing time will have bigger impact on the taste.  You need to be more careful about controlling the conditions.  However, I think it is worth to try this preparation.  What do you think about 70C(158F) for 30sec brewing?  

“A” is a common condition that I like for mellow tea.  “B” is the condition for this issue, as you can see below:

A
50C (122F), 150sec
Leaf: 2.5g, Water: 40ml (1.4oz)

B
70C (158F), 30sec
Leaf: 4g, Water: 45ml (1.6oz)



 “A” has warmer color and “B” looks a little cooler.  Even though the ratio of umami and bitterness is similar, I understand the color distinction because of the difference in their condition.  The point is the taste.  My tentative assumption was correct!  Tea brewed with 70C (158F) for 30sec has very mellow flavor with no bitterness like sample “A”.  I can say that you can prepare mellow tea with rich umami by different ways not just limited “low temp and long time”.  “B” was slightly milder, so I can adjust the amount of leaf to get the best condition. 

The disadvantage of this method is that you consume more tea leaves and need to be more careful in measuring the time.  The advantage is that you have more flexibility for the second brewing because the leaves are less opened in the first brewing.

I don’t think this is the best way of brewing mellow tea.  But now, I have more options. It is always good to find a new way^^

2 comments:

  1. And what do you think of shorter steeping times in a small gaiwan ?

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think it will work with a gaiwan ^^

    ReplyDelete