Nicole Wilson loves to drink tea and share her knowledge with the rest of the world on the passionate tea blog Tea For Me Please. We asked her about the importance of pouring hot water onto the tea leaves. “Some people like to pour water on the sides of the vessel to be as gentle as possible. Others like to really stir the leaves up and watch them dance.”
How important is the way you pour the water into your tea?
The way that you pour the water into your tea absolutely makes a difference. It’s part of why the same tea will turn out differently depending on who brews it. Pouring your water from high up agitates the leaves more. It can extract more flavor but can also bring out bitterness. Pouring gently and closer to leaves will not agitate the leaves as much, resulting in a more mellow brew.
Are there several ways to pour your water?
There are so many ways to enjoy tea! You can pour from up high or closer to the leaves, depending on what you want to bring out in the tea. You can also pour directly from your kettle or pour it into a cooling bowl. Some people like to pour water on the sides of the vessel to be as gentle as possible. Others like to really stir the leaves up and watch them dance.
Do different teas require different ways of pouring water? If so, do you have a few examples?
Yes, I definitely think so. One tea that comes to mind is Bi Luo Chun. I often found it bitter until someone recommended adding the leaves to water instead of pouring water directly on them. The corkscrew shape of the leaves makes them sink to the bottom beautifully while also keeping them from becoming agitated. This method of brewing completely changes the taste. In Chaozhou-style brewing, typically used for oolong, the water is poured in a circle along the edge of the vessel. This prevents too much bitterness, especially since the leaf to water ratio is higher than other ways of brewing.