What's the secret of brewing Oolong?


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

Postby illium » Jan 18th, '06, 14:04

What kind of Oolong are you trying to brew?

How much leaf are you using?

I think the main point that I noticed, where you might be having trouble, is leaving the water to sit for a few minutes after it boils to lower the temp.

There's no need to let it sit that long. Just about 5-10 seconds is enough.
Ok..
Instructions:
1. Boil water.
2. Immediately pour a mug full of hot water, with no tea in it. Let it sit about 5-10 seconds, until you can feel the mug getting uncomfortably hot. Dump it out.
3. Put the strainer/leaves in the mug.
4. Pour the near-boiling water over the leaves in the strainer.
5. Wait about 5 seconds
6. Pull the strainer out
7. Dump the hot water.
8. Put the strainer with the now wet and slightly more puffy leaves back in the cup.
9. Pour more water in, and COVER the cup. Use a saucer or whatever is handy that will fit on the top of the cup.

I usually only brew for about 30 seconds per infusion. Maybe longer if it's a tighter rolled tea that doesn't unfurl quickly. After it's brewed up a bit, remove the strainer/leaves and set aside (in the saucer you used for a cover?) Make sure you use hot water everytime you do this. I'd repeat the whole process for each infusion, minus the first "leaf rinse" (steps 3-8), and increase brew time with each infusion. maybe.. 30sec, 45sec, 1min 15sec, 2 min, etc..

Depends on the leaves and how they respond to multiple infusions.

Anyhow, I think the main problem is just not having hot enough water!

Hope that helps,
Troy
Last edited by illium on Jan 18th, '06, 14:12, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby garden gal » Jan 18th, '06, 15:11

I've tried the salvant sampler from Adagio which was fairly reasonable. So far I've tried the jasmine pearls and oolong 40. I didn't do anything fance (actually i used the trinitea) and only used 2 tsp/4 cups of both. The jasmine was almost too strong in the first brew- the second and third where wonderful. The oolong 40 was just right the first- a little weak the second so that one I am going to increase the amount. They may seem expensive but in the long run are quite reasonable when you figure in how many times you infuse them.
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Postby Robert Marotz » Jan 18th, '06, 17:06

Many wulong teas, especially the ones with higher oxidation, will taste very generic when prepared with low-temp water. A lot of folks will tell you to brew "just off a boil", it'll usually be around 195-200 degrees F.

Not all wulong will react like this...traditionally pengfeng wulong (also called baihao wulong or dongfang meiren/"oriental beauty") is ideal at a lower temperature, and it is often advised to cool the water a bit to coax the flavor and aroma from it.

I found that Adagio's oolongs I've tried are much more responsive to extra-high energy (near boiling water and poured to stir the leaves up a lot) style of brewing that illium mentions than the pengfeng wulong that I brew around 180 degrees F (or sometimes lower)

My gaiwan style is developing pretty successfully, I tend to have the best success with my favorite wulong and white teas, since I rarely ever drink blacks or greens now. Wulong can have a lot of variation in flavor and aroma, which to me makes it a fun tea to experiment with.
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Postby mijako10 » Jan 24th, '06, 00:11

The Peach Oolong from Teavana is wonderful! For that particular tea I just followed their instructions. Use near boiling water and brew for 4 -5 minutes. I'm always rewarded with a very flavorful brew.

For the Ti Kuan Yin Oolong I use about 190-195 degree water and a about 4 minutes to brew. Works great. I always wonder if the tea I brew is how a tea taster would say it's "supposed" to taste... although I guess it's more important that I like the way it tastes.

Hmm... ^_^'''
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Postby Guest » Jan 24th, '06, 15:02

Robert, I have an oolong caled Wuyi Oolong. Is that that the same as the Wulong that you mentioned?
I suppose the step of rinsing the leaves for a short time helps to prepare them for better brewing but I find that I get a good tasting cup just putting a slight tablespoon in my Yixing pot and steeping for about two minutes with 200 degree water and then 1 or 2 sucessive steepings for perhaps a minute or so longer each brew. It definitely gets sweeter each brew. Each variety seems to have its own requirements. Trial and error I guess.
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Postby jzero » Jan 24th, '06, 15:41

Anonymous wrote:Robert, I have an oolong caled Wuyi Oolong. Is that that the same as the Wulong that you mentioned?


Wulong is just an alternate, less Westernized spelling of "oolong." Think Mumbai vs. Bombay :)

Wuyi is a variety of Wulong/Oolong.
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Postby illium » Feb 7th, '06, 15:33

to clarify a little further, wulong is the modern standard romanization of the chinese words "Wu Long" which means "Black Dragon".

Oolong are so named because, as opposed to green tea, they are oxidized, and thus dark and black. The leaves unfurl from thier dry form and look like little black dragons in the water.

Well.. that's what the tea vendors in China told me anyway. :D

Hope that helps,

Troy
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Postby Mocha Wheels » Aug 22nd, '07, 23:18

i drink Shui Xian and the only thing i can tell you is for that tea brew it in 6oz of boiling water (not 8) for 5 mins. also reuse your leaves. but reuse them as much as youre going to all at once, not as you drink it and place the leaves covered in the fridge. i make 8 cups of tea every nite for the next day. because i combine each cup into a pitcher it's not like i'm drinking the weakest cup straight, it all evens out.
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Postby skywarrior » Aug 31st, '07, 20:16

Robert Marotz wrote:Many wulong teas, especially the ones with higher oxidation, will taste very generic when prepared with low-temp water. A lot of folks will tell you to brew "just off a boil", it'll usually be around 195-200 degrees F.



Hah! Maybe this is why I like Oolongs. I live at high altitude where you can't get 212F boiling water.

They really come out very good up here.
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Postby tenuki » Sep 7th, '07, 02:44

I brew just off a boil and hold the kettle high to get lots of leave action. I always do a short wash. The utiliTEA variable temp pot is excellent for this style, boils the water very quickly, when you hear the click of it shutting off you do the pour. :D

The real trick is to find the timing for the first pour, then add 10 seconds or so to each subsequent pouring. When I get a new tea I experiment with it a bit. You want to avoid the bitter/astringent taste it gets when you overbrew. So to experiment I usually start at 30 seconds and work forward/back in 10 second increments until I find the perfect first brew time. Then work off that.
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