Brewing Tips for Oolong


Owes its flavors to oxidation levels between green & black tea.

Brewing Tips for Oolong

Postby clayton684 » Sep 3rd, '10, 01:58

I just ordered some Oolong tea. I've never had it before, and certainly never brewed it. I ordered the Oolong Sampler. Any brewing tips for any of these would be great! I hope to be blown away!!!!
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Re: Brewing Tips for Oolong

Postby theory » Sep 3rd, '10, 19:29

Hi. :)
I'm new on these forums, and by no means an expert, so I just popped in to say hi. I'll leave the suggestions to people who have a stronger grounding in know-how. Did you buy the adagio sampler? It looks yummy.
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Re: Brewing Tips for Oolong

Postby debunix » Sep 3rd, '10, 22:21

Copy/pasting from my web site notes, hope this helps

Pouchong and other lightly oxidized greener oolongs (Alishan, Tie Guan Yin or Ti Kuan Yin)--flexible and gorgeous teas, ok with variable leaf-to-water ratios, a variety of temperatures, and though they do lose some sweetness, the warm floral qualities hold up well when brewed in bulk and held in the thermos. Some can get richer and sweeter with hotter temps, especially the later infusions, but some are touchy and do get bitter, so your oolong may vary:
1-2 grams per 2 oz/60mL
180°F/82°C-205°F/96°F water
30 seconds for first infusion, increasing a little with each additional infusion, over six infusions I might go from 30", 30", 60", 60", 90", 90"
6-8 or more infusions from one batch of leaves (keep going until the flavor is gone)

OR sometimes I use a little higher leaf-to-water ratio and fewer longer infusions for 'bulk' brewing to fill the thermos at work, e.g.,
2 minutes, 2 minutes, 2 minutes....
3-4 infusions from the same leaves

Wuyi and other more oxidized 'brown' oolongs--darker, toastier teas tolerate higher temperatures, but otherwise I use about the same brewing conditions as the lighter oolongs. These do wonderfully well in 'bulk' and when held in the thermos; their sweeter/fruitier qualities seem to come out more when they sit longer before drinking.
1-2 grams per 2 oz/60mL
180°F/82°C-195°F/90°F water
10 second rinse first (discard); 30 seconds for first infusion, increasing a little with each additional infusion, over six infusions I might go from 30", 30", 60", 60", 90", 90"
6-10 or more infusions from one batch of leaves (keep going until the flavor is gone)

OR sometimes I use a little leaf-to-water ratio and fewer longer infusions for 'bulk' brewing to fill the thermos at work, e.g.,
2 minutes, 2 minutes, 2 minutes....
3-4 infusions from the same leaves

Pheonix Mountain/Dan Cong Oolongs--some stronger and less refined flavors in these can make brewing trickier, but they have amazing flavors to give. They're quite expensive, but give so many infusions for a given quantity of leaf that you're still not paying much per quantity of finished tea. I have not tried to scale them up for a 'bulk brewing' to fill the thermos at work because I worry that their amazing (and expensive) flavors will be lost in the thermos.
1-2 grams per 1 1/2 oz/50mL
180°F/82°C-205°F/96°F water
10 second rinse first (discard); 30 seconds for first infusion, increasing a little with each additional infusion
15-20 infusions or more; more infusions from the higher leaf-to-water ratio (can even let the leaves sit overnight in the pot and wake them up with a quick hot rinse in the morning, then keep brewing)
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Re: Brewing Tips for Oolong

Postby theory » Sep 4th, '10, 02:10

Great notes debunix, thanks.
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Re: Brewing Tips for Oolong

Postby clayton684 » Sep 4th, '10, 21:01

Debunix, thank you for responding!!!!! I look forward to trying some of these! I'll for sure let you know how these turn out. Yes, theory, I did buy the oolong sampler. I also got the White tea sampler. I LOVE white tea. This is my first time to ever brew any loose leaf tea. I'm so nervous, but I can't wait to try it out!!!!!
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Re: Brewing Tips for Oolong

Postby debunix » Sep 5th, '10, 14:43

Clayton6... wrote:This is my first time to ever brew any loose leaf tea. I'm so nervous, but I can't wait to try it out!!!!!


Remember that regardless of brewing method, it is always ok to pour out a sip and check how the brewing is going, so you can decide longer or shorter before you pour out the rest. Hope that takes some of the anxiety out of the process!
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Re: Brewing Tips for Oolong

Postby Tea4Todd » Sep 6th, '10, 02:07

GREAT review debunix! I'm about to purchase a whole bunch of samples from ishopo.com

SP10 Lishan Cui Feng Oolong
SU10 Beipu Oriental Beauty Oolong
SP10 Nantou Milk Oolong(Light Roasted) (Tin of this)
SP10 Shanlinxi Long Feng Xia Oolong Tea
SP09 Awarded Arishan Oolong Tea (3rd Grade)
SP10 Dayuling (104K) Oolong Tea

All of them 9g and one 150g and one 19g sample, I'm pretty excited about this because I get to try a whole bunch of Oolong's at once!

I'll probably need recommendations on steeping methods...right now I'm still using my archaic Kettle, Measuring Cup, Strainer, and Large tea cup method....it's crude, but works.
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Re: Brewing Tips for Oolong

Postby debunix » Sep 6th, '10, 04:36

I see only one problem with your setup: most oolongs will yield multiple infusions, and that's hard if you're catching leaves in the strainer and then dumping them back into the brewing vessel each time. Or you can just use less leaf and brew longer, western style, but you do lose some of the fun of observing the changes in the liquor across the infusions.
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Re: Brewing Tips for Oolong

Postby Tea4Todd » Sep 6th, '10, 04:55

debunix wrote:I see only one problem with your setup: most oolongs will yield multiple infusions, and that's hard if you're catching leaves in the strainer and then dumping them back into the brewing vessel each time. Or you can just use less leaf and brew longer, western style, but you do lose some of the fun of observing the changes in the liquor across the infusions.



Well, I just ordered a 3 oz white ceramic Gaiwan, and 1.5 oz ceramic tea cup, and a 6 oz glass serving pitcher from Dragon Tea Room :) I'm excited to use my Oolong's in there. I still am unsure as to how much Oolong I should use. I watched a few videos on Youtube of these people in China, and they filled the gaiwan almost 50% with leaf.....other's seem to fill the gaiwan all the way to the top with leaf, especially the twisted leaf Oolong....I'm wondering...all my Oolong are rolled, should I fill the Gaiwan 1/4 with leaf? Remember, I have a small Gaiwan...so I'll need recommendations.
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Re: Brewing Tips for Oolong

Postby Alex » Sep 6th, '10, 12:35

Tea4Todd wrote:
debunix wrote:I see only one problem with your setup: most oolongs will yield multiple infusions, and that's hard if you're catching leaves in the strainer and then dumping them back into the brewing vessel each time. Or you can just use less leaf and brew longer, western style, but you do lose some of the fun of observing the changes in the liquor across the infusions.



Well, I just ordered a 3 oz white ceramic Gaiwan, and 1.5 oz ceramic tea cup, and a 6 oz glass serving pitcher from Dragon Tea Room :) I'm excited to use my Oolong's in there. I still am unsure as to how much Oolong I should use. I watched a few videos on Youtube of these people in China, and they filled the gaiwan almost 50% with leaf.....other's seem to fill the gaiwan all the way to the top with leaf, especially the twisted leaf Oolong....I'm wondering...all my Oolong are rolled, should I fill the Gaiwan 1/4 with leaf? Remember, I have a small Gaiwan...so I'll need recommendations.


Try around 15%...basically just cover the bottom of the gaiwan. After the 3rd- 4th infusion it will open up and fill the giawan. If at that stage its a little short and the leaf is not quite filling the gaiwan then next add a bit more.

Of course its all preference really. If the tea is too strong add less or cut down brewing time....if its too weak then up the brewing time or add more leaf. Once you involve your self in the whole process with hands on expereince you'll get a zen like feel for the whole thing. I dont weight or time my infusions and they are perfect...nearly all the time :D

Just be mindful and submerge your self in to the process.
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Re: Brewing Tips for Oolong

Postby Tea4Todd » Sep 6th, '10, 14:06

Zensuji wrote:
Tea4Todd wrote:
debunix wrote:I see only one problem with your setup: most oolongs will yield multiple infusions, and that's hard if you're catching leaves in the strainer and then dumping them back into the brewing vessel each time. Or you can just use less leaf and brew longer, western style, but you do lose some of the fun of observing the changes in the liquor across the infusions.



Well, I just ordered a 3 oz white ceramic Gaiwan, and 1.5 oz ceramic tea cup, and a 6 oz glass serving pitcher from Dragon Tea Room :) I'm excited to use my Oolong's in there. I still am unsure as to how much Oolong I should use. I watched a few videos on Youtube of these people in China, and they filled the gaiwan almost 50% with leaf.....other's seem to fill the gaiwan all the way to the top with leaf, especially the twisted leaf Oolong....I'm wondering...all my Oolong are rolled, should I fill the Gaiwan 1/4 with leaf? Remember, I have a small Gaiwan...so I'll need recommendations.


Try around 15%...basically just cover the bottom of the gaiwan. After the 3rd- 4th infusion it will open up and fill the giawan. If at that stage its a little short and the leaf is not quite filling the gaiwan then next add a bit more.

Of course its all preference really. If the tea is too strong add less or cut down brewing time....if its too weak then up the brewing time or add more leaf. Once you involve your self in the whole process with hands on expereince you'll get a zen like feel for the whole thing. I dont weight or time my infusions and they are perfect...nearly all the time :D

Just be mindful and submerge your self in to the process.


Good recommendations, I am learning that it all comes out to preference. I seem to prefer a more delicate (not weak) brew. So, I tend to use less leaf to water ratio and keep my infusions relatively short. I was doing the ole Western 1 tsp per 8 oz and then the 2-4 min method, but the first 2 infusions were always really rough with that, then I'd MAYBE get 2 more infusions that were tasty out of that.

I just tried a crazy method today...kind of like a makeshift gong fu, psuedo-gaiwan method...lol. I'll create a topic and post pics...everyone will laugh... :P
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Re: Brewing Tips for Oolong

Postby noname » Sep 30th, '10, 15:32

Great advice from posters above. Specifically regarding using 195 F or lower temp water. Over-steeped oolongs or greens fro that matter are absolutely undrinkable. I also like the point about pouring out a bit and trying it during the brewing process.
And my 5 cents regarding amounts - with rolled tea like someone mentioned just cover the bottom of Gaiwan. With un rolled leaf teas I usually fill Gaiwan around half way maybe a bit less. Then again I don't always steep for 30 seconds either.
I think the general point here is start with less tea and cooler water - you may get weaker brew but at least it wont be bitter undrinkable liquid ))))
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Re: Brewing Tips for Oolong

Postby TwoPynts » Sep 30th, '10, 16:45

Of course, I've let some green oolongs steep for an hour and it was still sweet nectar, but that is after the main round of infusions.
8)
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Re: Brewing Tips for Oolong

Postby Victoria » Sep 30th, '10, 17:03

Hotter temps does not = over steeping.
I'm just sayin'.
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Re: Brewing Tips for Oolong

Postby NOESIS » Sep 30th, '10, 17:59

Victoria wrote:Hotter temps does not = over steeping.
I'm just sayin'.


Very good point, Victoria. In fact on my trips to Taiwan/China, just off-boil water was generally the rule, for all types of oolong. Personally, I go for about 208 degress with most of my oolongs (I use my Zojirushi's hottest setting). Bao Zhongs are the only type that I brew at lower temp (195 degrees).
Last edited by NOESIS on Oct 2nd, '10, 00:26, edited 1 time in total.
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