Please Help Me


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

Please Help Me

Postby flguy777 » Oct 12th, '11, 00:58

Hello everyone, I decided to get into making loose-leaf tea (for the first time) because the tea-bags I tried at the supermarket were tasteless. I just got some oolong tea in today and I did Everything I've seen, and heard, what to do, but I got the same tasteless tea -I know its gotta be something I'm doing wrong... :( I used spring water, I put 2 tbsp in a cup, I let it get as hot as they told me(212), and I let it brew till however long they told me(3-5min)...Or maybe I thought... Can somebody PLEASE help me out and let me know what I'm doing wrong? Thanks.
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Re: PLEASE HELP ME

Postby Cole » Oct 12th, '11, 14:54

What king of oolong tea are you brewing? Who makes it? What cup/teapot are you using? If you're using low-grade tea, it's never going to knock your hair back. And if we don't know what oolong you're trying to brew, it's going to be tricky to give you more than general suggestions. So PLEASE HELP US! :lol:

I never loved oolongs until I brewed them properly either, so you're not alone. Two huge red flags that pop up immediately for me are your temperature and brewing times: 212* is a little too hot for the first couple steeps of most oolongs, while 3-5 minutes is a bit too long to notice all the tasty subtleties of a good tea.

If you're just dumping leaves in a cup, try using one rounded tablespoon of leaves and 3-5 ounces of (near-boiling) water for 30 seconds, strain it into another cup, and see how you like the taste. Then try re-steeping those leaves for 45 seconds in near-boiling water, and see if you can taste any differences. Then try 1 minute. Then try 1:30. Then use boiling water and steep it for 3-5 minutes, and see how much MORE tea you can get out of these leaves.

Good oolong tea can take between 5-10 quick steeps like this, and it's a lot more fun to taste it as it evolves (rather than getting one big, bland pot of tea). If the two cup idea is a bit cumbersome, you might want to look into a small (70-100ml) porcelain gaiwan to try and brew it up proper.

Hope this helps! Don't forget to take a peek at the Oolong vendor guide for tea suggestions, and read the TeaClass entry for more in-depth info.
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Re: Please Help Me

Postby flguy777 » Oct 12th, '11, 15:34

Hey, Thanks for the response. It was(is) a Formosa Oolong. I brought it on Adagio Teas website, but it was in a sampler set for only 14.99 (I didn't want to overdue it my first try) do you think the price(hence the quality) of the tea may be the problem. I am going to try what you suggested also.
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Re: Please Help Me

Postby teaisme » Oct 12th, '11, 16:28

taiwanese oolongs (and many taiwanese teas in general) can be one of the most finicky out there for many people in north america due to water issues.

perhaps a sampler from floating leaves is in order to determine whether it is your setup (kettle, water, pot) or if it is the tea itself (bland, strange/unnatural aromatics, etc). If the sampler at floating leaves tastes bland etc then it is your setup. If it tastes good it is likely your tea.

Btw price can be a good way to gauge quality, but I think vendor (and who sources for the vendor) are much more important. There are plenty of vendors out there who sell what I view as 'not very pleasant' tea for prices that you could find 'good enjoyable' tea for.

Also many oolongs can handle 212 and 3-5 mins brewing very well if the quality of the leaf is good. I wouldn't put too much of your time in adjusting these parameters at least for now. Many a times (esp for teas in this price range) if it does not taste good after 3 min brew at 212 it will not taste very good no matter which way you brew (make sure to rule out setup issues though before drawing too many rough conclusions).

Best of luck :mrgreen:
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Re: Please Help Me

Postby Proinsias » Oct 12th, '11, 17:45

Supermarket teas being tasteless rings alarm bells for me. They are not tasteless, they taste bad. I imagine Adagio's oolong sampler would be a sensible, and large, step up from supermarket teas. Are your expectations of taste intensity perhaps a little high? Friends that drink a lot of coffee or sugary drinks tend to describe any of my teas, good or bad, if served without sugar or milk, as tasteless water.

If supermarket teas and Adagio's teas are both coming across as tasteless you may need to focus a little more on tasting. Perhaps a dark oolong, a black/red tea or some pu'er would be a better start than fairly green oolong. If you have the wuyi sampler that may offer a little more oomph.

On the other hand you could just keep using more and more leaf with longer and longer brewing times until things become unbearable, then scale things back a little to something more manageable.
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Re: Please Help Me

Postby edkrueger » Oct 13th, '11, 12:40

teaisme wrote:taiwanese oolongs (and many taiwanese teas in general) can be one of the most finicky out there for many people in north america due to water issues.


I am not sure if there is any tea that is easier to brew than a good quality light roast high mountain oolong.

If the sampler at floating leaves tastes bland etc then it is your setup. If it tastes good it is likely your tea.


I would not suggest that vendor for tea that is not bland. I have a few good teas from them, but not many. Perhaps that is why you find Taiwanese oolongs difficult to brew.
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Re: Please Help Me

Postby teaisme » Oct 13th, '11, 17:44

:o I was trying to be subtle in my wording but I guess that was not a good idea.

edkrueger wrote:I am not sure if there is any tea that is easier to brew than a good quality light roast high mountain oolong.


My reference to taiwanse teas being more finicky is due to many areas in north america having very hard and strongly treated tap water. Of course if you use suitable water (as I am sure you do Ed) then yes taiwanese teas are very flexible and easy to brew. This is just from personal experiences I have had, testing many different tap waters from house to house, shop to shop, random location to random location (I spend a lot of time in the Kentucky/Tennessee area). One of the first things I do when I go somewhere to help someone who wants a tea setup at home is brew a particular high mountain tea with the water they plan to use (my water test tea). It is pretty clear cut, either it tastes right or it tastes wrong. If it tastes wrong and the person still plans on using that tap water due to moral reasons I suggest japanese teas, roasted teas, reds, and darjeelings. Then we focus on water treatment/enhancement. Many of these seem less sensitive to quality of water then chinese greens and taiwanese teas in general. If I had to hazard a guess as to why I would relate it to the extreme softness of Taiwan. Since the OP did mention he was using spring water I suppose my comment was a little off topic for him. So so sorry :wink:

edkrueger wrote:I would not suggest that vendor for tea that is not bland. I have a few good teas from them, but not many. Perhaps that is why you find Taiwanese oolongs difficult to brew.


This suggestion was for the OP not to you Ed. What do you think would be more bland adagio 'formosa oolong' or any oolong tea at floating leaves. Perhaps you are blessed to not understand this level of bland. I had the pleasure of meeting it a couple of times from gifts people have sent me from adagio. Keep in mind OP is not trying to spend a lot of money, unlikely to order from vendor overseas, and is new to loose leaf tea. Bluntly, Floating leaves oolong is a good level above the taiwanese oolongs at adagio but roughly the same price. Baby steps Ed.
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Re: Please Help Me

Postby edkrueger » Oct 14th, '11, 11:26

Yeah, but there are a lot of vendors that are cheaper than FLT that have better tea. FTL isn't exactly cheap and I have had really bad tea in the $10+ range from them. As far as better than Adagio, I fully agree.

Edit: I haven't had Adagio's masters Alishan. Their regular Alishan was the one I was referring to.
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Re: Please Help Me

Postby teaisme » Oct 14th, '11, 14:50

edkrueger wrote:
Edit: I haven't had Adagio's masters Alishan. Their regular Alishan was the one I was referring to.


yeah same here
The boazhong also hurt my feelings :(
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