Making oolong Western style

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Making oolong Western style

Postby ClarG » Dec 15th, '13, 15:01

When you make oolong tea Western style do you use boiling water, or just hot water? If you use leaves how many steepings do you get from them?
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Re: Making oolong Western style

Postby MIKE_B » Dec 15th, '13, 15:11

It depends on the oolong and how much leaf you consider to be western style.
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Re: Making oolong Western style

Postby debunix » Dec 15th, '13, 15:20

I don't often brew oolongs western style. For most of my brewing, with multiple steeping in mind, the water temperature depends on the tea. I often start oolongs at 195 degrees for 1-3 infusions. I do that especially if I am packing a lot of leaf into the pot in anticipation of many sessions--with some of the darker oolongs especially, it's hard to make those first infusions short enough to avoid some bitterness, so starting with slightly cooler water can make the first infusions smoother.

And how many steepings depends on: how much leaf I use (more leaf/more infusions); intrinsic characteristics of the tea (Jin Guan Yin seems to give fewer infusions than the best Ti Guan Yins do); and external factors like whether it's close to bedtime and a series of very dilute 'sweetwater' infusions sound just right, or I'm seeking a bit more buzz and want to start another set of infusions. Put all that together, and the total steepings for a single set of leaves might vary from 3 to 12 or more.

Back to the 'western style' question: sometimes, if I know I have the capacity for just one round of tea, I'll brew with much less leaf (since I'm going to do only one infusion), for a longer time. Since I don't do it very often, and because I'm a bitter-wimp and I drink my tea more dilute than most, I don't have a set grams/mL ratio that I can suggest for you.
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Re: Making oolong Western style

Postby Chip » Dec 15th, '13, 18:17

There is Western and there is gong fu style brewing ... and then there is what we often refer to as semi gong fu which is middle of the road.

When I personally think of "Western" I generally think 1 steep ... maybe a bonus second. I plan accordingly by using around the "traditional" 2.3 grams of leaf per cup around .35 grams leaf per 1 ounce (230 ml) water. I learned this ratio when I first began drinking tea from vendors such as Upton.

Compared to around 1:1 ratio for semi gong fu compared to a higher ratio for gong fu.

The steep time tends to drain the life out of the leaves ... 2-5 minutes which leaves little desire for me to go beyond the first steep.
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Re: Making oolong Western style

Postby Noonie » Dec 16th, '13, 20:19

I wasn't familiar with the "semi" category...but that's me. Usually 2-4 steeps of oolong (1.5 tsp if tea, 175ml water for avg 2 min...adding time as I go). Works for me as I don't have time to do a whole gongfu most times :(
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