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

Oolong Brewing: Western vs. Eastern Styles

Postby TimeforTea » Jun 4th, '08, 13:35

Share your preferred method of brewing oolongs, reasons, and your experiences with both. :D

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Postby tenuki » Jun 4th, '08, 13:42

Gong Fu FTW!

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Postby ABx » Jun 4th, '08, 14:47

I've generally found that western style brewing just doesn't get the complexities. You do get some different nuances through different steeps with gongfu as the leaf starts to wear out, but the overall complexity is often much greater in every steep. Sometimes the more nuanced characteristics just can't be brought out unless you're using a lot of leaf in little water.

There are some simpler oolongs without a great deal of complexity that I will brew in my infuser mug, however.

Last edited by ABx on Jun 4th, '08, 15:10, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby olivierco » Jun 4th, '08, 14:55

A year ago, I would have said gong fu, due to gyokuro and matcha discovery, I only drink now and then oolong, semi gong fu.

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Postby auggy » Jun 4th, '08, 15:21

I only own western style teapots and the thought of doing such small steeps just seems tedious to me. I like to sit down with at least 5 oz of tea to sip on and the oolongs taste good enough that way and I like them so I have no incentive to change my brewing method.

Does it sound like I'm justifying? It's cause I am. I don't want to be kicked off! :lol:

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Postby tenuki » Jun 4th, '08, 15:51

auggy wrote:Does it sound like I'm justifying? It's cause I am. I don't want to be kicked off! :lol:


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:

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Postby henley » Jun 4th, '08, 16:05

auggy wrote:I only own western style teapots and the thought of doing such small steeps just seems tedious to me. I like to sit down with at least 5 oz of tea to sip on and the oolongs taste good enough that way and I like them so I have no incentive to change my brewing method.

Does it sound like I'm justifying? It's cause I am. I don't want to be kicked off! :lol:

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*

If making just for me, I use my 2 cup teapot that way I can refill my cup w/o an immediate resteep. I use boiling or just under boiling & steep anywhere from 3-5 min depending on type oolong. When I drink pom oolong, I let it steep 7 min just to bring out more flavor.

Which brings up a question I've had. On the pom oolong, it says it's made w/Ti Quan Yin leaves. Is that the same as TKY?

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Postby Victoria » Jun 4th, '08, 16:09

auggy wrote:I only own western style teapots and the thought of doing such small steeps just seems tedious to me. I like to sit down with at least 5 oz of tea to sip on and the oolongs taste good enough that way and I like them so I have no incentive to change my brewing method.

Does it sound like I'm justifying? It's cause I am. I don't want to be kicked off! :lol:


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

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Postby Victoria » Jun 4th, '08, 16:10

henley wrote: Which brings up a question I've had. On the pom oolong, it says it's made w/Ti Quan Yin leaves. Is that the same as TKY?


Yes

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Postby henley » Jun 4th, '08, 16:33

Victoria wrote:
henley wrote: Which brings up a question I've had. On the pom oolong, it says it's made w/Ti Quan Yin leaves. Is that the same as TKY?


Yes

That's what I thought. That's why I was surprised when I didn't like the TKY even though I used the same water temp as the pom oolong. I'm gonna try the TKY again but w/a lower water temp to see if it makes a difference.

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Postby Victoria » Jun 4th, '08, 16:36

You are not going to like it at a lower temp.

What are you brewing it at now?

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Postby henley » Jun 4th, '08, 16:43

Boiling--same as the PO.

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Postby Victoria » Jun 4th, '08, 16:46

5 mins? How much leaf?

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Postby henley » Jun 4th, '08, 16:48

1 tsp/6-8 oz water. This is kinda my standard regardless of the tea. Some of the "leggier" teas, I'll eyeball & add accordingly.

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Postby ABx » Jun 4th, '08, 16:51

One teaspoon of a tightly rolled leaf is a whole lot more than more voluminous leaf (it could be as much as 2x-3x). Try steeping for more like 45-60 seconds.

Ideally you want it to loosely fill the infuser. If it ends up cramming the infuser then some leaves will oversteep while others don't even fully unfurl, leaving you with an underdeveloped but bitter and/or astringent brew. Oversteeping in general can do this as well; it should turn out light and sweet.

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