Oolong Brewing: Western vs. Eastern Styles


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

How do you prefer to brew your oolongs?

Western style--I like having all the complexities of each oolong at once in one big mug
4
18%
Eastern style--I like having quick, small infusions to taste the different nuisances of the specific oolong tea
7
32%
Either western or eastern style--depends on the specific oolong
0
No votes
Either western or eastern style--depends on my mood
4
18%
Either western or eastern style--depends on my time availability for brewing tea
7
32%
 
Total votes : 22

Postby Victoria » Jun 4th, '08, 17:00

Sounds right Henley, maybe you just don't like it.
:)

The TKY that they use in most flavored oolong is not anywhere close to premium.
They moslty use cheaper, and sometimes just bits and stems.

So the two are very different - not to mention the vast range of TKY anyway.
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Postby greenisgood » Jun 4th, '08, 17:08

I do enjoy a casual gong fu in a gaiwan with this or that light Taiwanese or Da Hong Pao...that is, when I'm not ranting and raving about darjeelings and senchas.
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Postby Geekgirl » Jun 4th, '08, 20:19

yixing or gaiwan for me, lots of leaves, quick rinse, short steeps. Although this morning, my 3rd steep was about 5 minutes because the dog started chasing the cat, and I forgot about the tea while I was dragging dog out from under the bed.

It wasn't bad. I still drank it. :lol:
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Postby auggy » Jun 4th, '08, 20:38

tenuki wrote:Don't worry about that auggy, oolong folk are very accepting of differences: We'll take any tea between green and black. We're the democrats of the tea world. :D

It's the black tea and green tea folks who you gotta watch out for. :twisted:
Well, I admit, I am a big green fan, but of the less fussy greens. Which is one reason I so enjoy oolongs - you can get that sweet and vegetal taste and they are so easy!

henley wrote:I knew there was a reason I liked you! :D At least we'll have each other for comany when we get kicked off... I don't even own any asian teaware. *looks around for TC police* Even the shincha I had last night was steeped in a 1.5 cup girly teapot. :shock: *collective gasp*
I own a kyusu just because it's cute. And oh yeah, I needed it. Right. But mostly because it was cute. Which is actually why I buy any of my teaware - cuteness factor.

For a while I had one two-cup pot that I brewed EVERYthing in. Now, I've branched out to two pots... but I just ordered a yixing so my collection is growing. :lol:

Victoria wrote:Ha! I scoff at your implication of a 5oz cup as big. I like my 15oz cup!
If you like, you can think of it as just drinking right from the pot.
hahaha
I'll admit, I only use the 5oz cups with the 10 and 9 oz ones are dirty. But I do have to be careful because my bigger cups are yunomi and that can get a little hot with oolong. So I use my Noritake china cups. :D

Victoria wrote:You are not going to like it at a lower temp.
Why do you say that? I'm not a fan of the greener oolongs brewed at boiling and I think I'm pretty weird in that but I always wonder what others don't like about it.
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Postby Victoria » Jun 4th, '08, 21:07

auggy wrote:
Victoria wrote:You are not going to like it at a lower temp.
Why do you say that? I'm not a fan of the greener oolongs brewed at boiling and I think I'm pretty weird in that but I always wonder what others don't like about it.


Well that statement was more for Henley than in general.
I know a certain *Mod* who likes his at lower temps too.
:wink:
However you like it, is just fine.
Usually TKY is rolled tightly and needs the boiling water
to unfurl quickly before it over steeps.

Of course one could argue for a boiling flash rinse.
And they do. Argue that is. It is all so subjective.
So many variables and then some people like it not as
strong, etc. Me, I like it medium bold. :)

.
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Postby ABx » Jun 4th, '08, 22:18

Victoria wrote:Sounds right Henley, maybe you just don't like it.
:)
I'd be careful here. TGY brewed with a full tsp in 6-8oz of water for 5 min isn't my cup either. It would be a shame to pass it up completely because of the steeping. I brew rolled oolongs, including some TGY, in my 8oz infuser mug with about a tsp of leaf for 30-60 seconds on a very regular basis. More than that may be drinkable, but I find it loses a lot of character.

On a more general note that applies to the OP, I would say that every tea is going to have it's "sweet spot" - the way that particular tea needs to be brewed to turn out best. I suspect this is probably what most closely matches how the tea master was brewing when getting things right. Higher quality teas will usually be more forgiving, but it can all depend.

I've had plenty of oolongs that I thought were good, alright, or "just not my cup" until I finally figured out how to brew that particular tea with the very last of my stock and it turned out to be amazing. Every tea is going to be good, and once you've found what all it has to offer it will be easier to discern whether it really suits your preference or not.

The main thing is to experiment. We don't always have time to try many different ways, but I would expect that anyone with enough interest in tea to come to a dedicated tea forum would be able to find some time to get the most from their tea :) There's certainly nothing to lose, but there is lots to gain.
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Postby auggy » Jun 4th, '08, 22:31

Victoria wrote:
auggy wrote:
Victoria wrote:You are not going to like it at a lower temp.
Why do you say that? I'm not a fan of the greener oolongs brewed at boiling and I think I'm pretty weird in that but I always wonder what others don't like about it.


Well that statement was more for Henley than in general....

Okay, nifty. I didn't realize it was a personal vs. general address type statement. That makes me feel a bit better. Though it is still possible I have bad taste in teas, but at least it isn't as obvious. :wink: I'm not quite sure how I would classify my likes in tea brewing. Strong but light maybe? Not a weak brew, but not heavily steeped, either. My brewing ends up usually a bit shorter, with a little more leaf and a little cooler water than whatever is recommended.

*shrug* I guess that's the joy of tea. If you like it, then that's the right way to brew it!
:D
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Postby henley » Jun 4th, '08, 22:34

ABx wrote:I'd be careful here. TGY brewed with a full tsp in 6-8oz of water for 5 min isn't my cup either. It would be a shame to pass it by because of the steeping.

After experimenting w/the Sakura Sencha I decided I needed to give the TKY another chance. It took several tries to get the sencha right & ended up brewing it at a much lower temp than suggested (150-160). I was expecting to immediately like the TKY & think I gave up too soon. A sample is on my list to order (dumb-dumb sent the other sample in the tea pass box :roll: ). I'm too stubborn to give up yet but I also know there are just certain teas I do not like! We'll see what happens. :wink:
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The oolong just keeps rolling ...

Postby Salsero » Jun 5th, '08, 02:08

I don't know if it's just some cycle I am going through, but lately I find myself brewing the same rolled oolongs and pouchong leaves over and over again. Young or aged, the tea never dies. I've even been holding it overnight and continung the next day -- something I had never done before except with Puerh, Dan Cong, and one or two traditional Shui Xians on steroids. I've also relaxed my control-freaky nature a bit and I'm largely just going with the flow with these things, feeling my way from cup to cup. I think I am using less leaf, shorter brewing times and getting an easy nine or ten rounds with my infuser basket. I am not talking gong fu here. Just regular fu. :lol:

Granted the latter infusions have quite a different character, more sweet I suppose, and not as intense, but the oolong just keeps rolling!

Part of it might have to do with a recent post somewhere (I think) on TeaChat by MarshalN, one of our distinguished oolong and puerh specialists and a certified TeaHero, about how Westerners concentrate too much on the flavor and dump the leaves too soon. Have I been brainwashed by a Chinese infiltrator? Or have I achieved greater harmony with the plant world? With the excess of tea I already had on hand, getting more out of each gram is the last thing I need! :wink:
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Postby Beidao » Jun 5th, '08, 05:45

I've experimentet with my TKY and brewed it with everything from 100 degrees Celcius to 60 degrees Celcius. Right now I've settled at about 80. Sure, the leaves do not unfurl totaly in the first steep, but it never gets oversteeped. I use to just put some rolled leaves in the bottom of the cup, fill it with water, let it sit for a while, drink, fill with water again. Every time I make it, it's a little bit different - sometimes rather sharp, sometimes vegetal, sometimes grassy, sometimes ultra sweet. I seldom make more than three steepings but that's because I want to move on to other teas.
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