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Oolongs fall between black and green teas in terms of oxidation.
The best is picked by hand during the spring and winter months in southeast China and Taiwan. Oolong teas are partially oxidized teas and undergo the most difficult and time-consuming processing method. Processed to be full-bodied teas, the leaves for oolong tea must not be picked too early but just when they reach their peak, and they must be processed immediately.
- 1-2 tsp. tea leaves per 8 oz water.
- Water should be @ 190°F. . If you do not have a thermometer to measure the specific temperature, bring the water to a boil and then let it rest for 2 minutes.
- Instead of one, 3-5 minute steeping that we recommend for many loose leaf teas, oolongs are often enjoyed over several short steeps for multiple extractions, a practice known as small pot brewing or Gong Fu style.
- Fill the pot with hot water, allowing the leaves to sit for no more than 5 seconds, then discard the water. We refer to this first steeping as the rinse. This will help to initially unfurl the leaves, which facilitates further extraction in later steeps.
- Once again, fill the pot with 190? water, pouring directly over the leaves. Wait approximately 10-20 seconds, then pour the tea through a strainer into the glass pot. Next, pour tea into the tea cups from the glass pot. This will ensure that each individual is experiencing the same flavor in each pour.
- Continue steeps as many times as you like, adding 5-10 seconds to each. As time passes, look to see the evolution of the leaf and the deepening of the liquor color. Most importantly pay attention to the changing flavor with each steep. Once the strength of the tea no longer comes through, the leaves have been fully extracted.
- There is no exact number of steeps that one should adhere to, but generally 4-5 steeps at about 10-20 seconds, adding 5-10 seconds on each consecutive steep. It depends on individual flavor preference, quality of the oolong and shape of the leaf. Tightly rolled leaves will stand up to several extractions, while leaves that are simply twisted will allow for fewer extractions.
To ensure your Oolong stays as fresh as possible as long as possible, take care to store it in a cool, dark place, away from light, oxygen, moisture and fragrant pantry companions like coffee or spices.
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