How to brew Formosa Oolong

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May 7th, '08, 15:51
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How to brew Formosa Oolong

by Jade Flower » May 7th, '08, 15:51

I'm confused...
I have Formosa oolong from Adagio (oolong #40) and from SpecialTeas (Formosa oolong fanciest grade), both look like the same tea.
Adagio suggests brewing its oolong at 212F for 5 minutes while SpecialTeas recommends heating water to boiling point (I guess it's 190-195F) and steeping for 3-4 minutes.
Which method would be the right one?
:?

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May 7th, '08, 15:56
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by Victoria » May 7th, '08, 15:56

I would go 3 mins at 212.
You don't really need 5 min unless its a TKY with tightly rolled leaves.
Enjoy!

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May 7th, '08, 16:04
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Re: How to brew Formosa Oolong

by tenuki » May 7th, '08, 16:04

Jade Flower wrote:I'm confused...
I have Formosa oolong from Adagio (oolong #40) and from SpecialTeas (Formosa oolong fanciest grade), both look like the same tea.
Adagio suggests brewing its oolong at 212F for 5 minutes while SpecialTeas recommends heating water to boiling point (I guess it's 190-195F) and steeping for 3-4 minutes.
Which method would be the right one?
:?
They are both 'right'. I would brew it at boiling for 40 seonds in a gaiwan at much higher tea/water rations than either of those methods.

How you brew your tea is up to you, and 'right' is only such in the context of what you like. I went through a phase where I liked a bit of astringency in my teas so I 'overbrewed' everything. That was 'right' for me.

Oolongs are very expressive teas, they exibit different characteristics depending on how you brew them.

You have my permission to experiment and explore. :D

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May 7th, '08, 16:45
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Re: How to brew Formosa Oolong

by auggy » May 7th, '08, 16:45

Jade Flower wrote:... while SpecialTeas recommends heating water to boiling point (I guess it's 190-195F) and steeping for 3-4 minutes.
Which method would be the right one?
:?
Okay, I'm confused, too. I thought 212 was boiling. Or does the way they phrased it mean to heat just up to boiling but not actually boil?

Excluding the temp thing (though I tend to do my oolongs at just under boiling because I like it better :wink: ) I would do the 3 min.

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by teaisgood » May 7th, '08, 17:49

I usually start a new oolong with 30 to 60 sec for the first brew. 5 mintues is really long.

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May 8th, '08, 04:21
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by nmrfarm » May 8th, '08, 04:21

I start with 60 sec for the first brew too, (if tea is not rolled, choose 30 sec)
and repeat steeping it until all the flavor come out.

The second brew is 30~40 sec,
(Time for the 1st brew is longer, because the rolled tea need time to spread)
the 3rd brew is 50~60 sec (+20 sec), 4th is 70~80 sec and so on...
if tea is good, it could be steeped 5~6 times at least.

The tea I put is around 1/10 of the teapot volume, and temperature is 100C.

Hope it helps~

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May 8th, '08, 08:54
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by hop_goblin » May 8th, '08, 08:54

Just my two cents, but I would never use boiling water for an any oolong..

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May 8th, '08, 10:26
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by Beidao » May 8th, '08, 10:26

I always have a water temperature of 80-85 Celcius for Oolong. At least with TKY, I've found that it has a far better taste than with boiling or close-to boiling water.

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May 8th, '08, 13:18
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by Salsero » May 8th, '08, 13:18

Beidao wrote:I always have a water temperature of 80-85 Celcius for Oolong. At least with TKY, I've found that it has a far better taste than with boiling or close-to boiling water.
Better, in what respect? Is it more floral, more fruity, strong, thicker in the mouth ... ? Details, details ...

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Re: How to brew Formosa Oolong

by Jade Flower » May 8th, '08, 16:16

auggy wrote:
Jade Flower wrote:... while SpecialTeas recommends heating water to boiling point (I guess it's 190-195F) and steeping for 3-4 minutes.
Which method would be the right one?
:?
Okay, I'm confused, too. I thought 212 was boiling. Or does the way they phrased it mean to heat just up to boiling but not actually boil?

Excluding the temp thing (though I tend to do my oolongs at just under boiling because I like it better :wink: ) I would do the 3 min.
I'm confused with their temperature descriptions too. For other teas like TKY they recommend to heat water to a "roaring boil" so I figured the "boiling point" might be less hot... but who knows what they really mean... :?

Thanks, guys, for your advice :D
I tried different temperatures and steeping times and looks like I love 190F and 3 mins the best.
By the way, both teas look exactly the same but taste noticeably different, SpecialTea's has more roasty aroma and flavor in it and is less astrigent.

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May 8th, '08, 16:59
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Re: How to brew Formosa Oolong

by wyardley » May 8th, '08, 16:59

Jade Flower wrote:I have Formosa oolong from Adagio (oolong #40) and from SpecialTeas (Formosa oolong fanciest grade), both look like the same tea.
Adagio suggests brewing its oolong at 212F for 5 minutes while SpecialTeas recommends heating water to boiling point (I guess it's 190-195F) and steeping for 3-4 minutes.
Which method would be the right one?
:?
The obvious answer is "whichever method tastes better".

A less wise-ass answer.... when I'm brewing rolled, fairly green (not highly roasted or oxidized) oolongs of this sort (either TGY or taiwanese rolled oolongs), I will use water at, or just off, a full boil to open the leaves, hitting the leaves with a good amount of force. Then, I'll not reheat the water before subsequent steepings. So even if you're just doing a couple of brews, you could do a rinse with boiling water and a fast, hard pour, then keep brewing with the same water as it naturally cools a little.

I was a little surprised the first time I saw someone use boiling water for a pretty green TGY, but I've never had any problems.

It also depends on the quality of the tea - a slightly lower grade tea may taste better with cooler water, but with a better tea, you might miss out on some complexity.

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May 8th, '08, 17:06
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by wyardley » May 8th, '08, 17:06

hop_goblin wrote:Just my two cents, but I would never use boiling water for an any oolong..
Oolong is a pretty broad category, and includes teas that are almost green tea as well as teas that are almost red (black) tea. Personally, I would always use boiling or just off the boil water for a highly oxidized oolong like Oriental Beauty (Dong Fang Mei Ren / Bai Hao). For greener ones, it depends on the tea and what brew you're on. But I think you're missing out if you never use boiling water for any oolong.

When I was trying various yán chá in China (in Wuyishan, as well as at a shop that specialized in these teas in Shanghai), every single person who brewed me tea used boiling water at ~ 100C, and most re-heated before almost every brew. And these are people who have a strong interest in making the tea taste good.

I don't use a thermometer when brewing, so I couldn't tell you if I'm actually hitting 212 (and I'm sure that sometimes I'm using a crab eyes boil rather than a full rolling boil), but I've found that it's more interesting to watch the slight variations from fluctuations in temperature (and try to learn from them) than to obsess too much over water temperature.

You can also boil the water but then pour it on the side or lid of the brewing vessel to cool it down a little and avoid hitting the leaves directly with boiling water.

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May 8th, '08, 18:15
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by tenuki » May 8th, '08, 18:15

hop_goblin wrote:Just my two cents, but I would never use boiling water for an any oolong..
ya, all those tea farmers are wrong.... ;P

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May 8th, '08, 18:20
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by Victoria » May 8th, '08, 18:20

I say we duke it out!

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May 8th, '08, 18:28
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by tenuki » May 8th, '08, 18:28

Victoria wrote:I say we duke it out!
Hahah, you can drink tea however you want, I'm no gonna stop you. ;P

Basically I think with oolongs you can brew them a wide variety of ways depending on what you want them to taste like. That is part of their charm!

But ya, the tea buyers I know report that the tea farmers in the Gao Shan area all brew their teas with boiling water and insane amount of leaf. And those are the most delicate and green of the bunch.

What _you_ do in the privacy of your own home is up to you!! :D

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