About Oolong Tea
An old and perhaps fabled Chinese saying suggests that when preparing Oolong, “The first brew is for your enemy, the second for the servant, the third for your wife, fourth for your mistress, the fifth for your business partner and the last you keep for yourself.”
About Oolong Tea
Oolong displays a compelling range in terms of taste: from a subtle lilac bouquet to bold notes of freshly-baled straw. Typically bolder than green teas, and subtler than black teas, Oolong has its own unique and lovely flavor profile. Comparisons to the aroma and taste of fresh flowers or fruit are often made in reference to Oolongs. This range in taste, appearance, and aroma is due (in addition to climate, terroir etc.) to the varying degrees of oxidation that Oolong teas undergo. Oxidation is the process through which moisture evaporates from the tea leaf and is replaced by oxygen. Green Dragon Oolong has almost no oxidation and smooth green leaves, while Longevity Oolong strongly resembles a black tea in appearance with withered brown leaves.
An old and perhaps fabled Chinese saying suggest that when preparing Oolong, “The first brew is for your enemy, the second for the servant, the third for your wife, fourth for your mistress, the fifth for your business partner and the last you keep for yourself.”
Brewing Oolong Tea
Oolongs are prepared with water between 180 and 200 degrees, and are steeped from 3 to 5 minutes. This range in brewing temperature and time correlates to the range of oxidation level present in Oolong teas. A general rule of thumb is: the darker the leaf, a higher temp and longer steep time should be employed. Greener Oolongs may be brewed with water at lower temps for a shorter amount of time.
Visual Cues: If you don’t have a variable temperature water heater or a thermometer, it’s still possible to get your water to the appropriate temperature.
180-185F At this temperature, the kettle or pot begins to shake, make louder noises. Large bubbles form on the bottom of the pot. This stage of water temperature is referred to as “fish eyes” in Chinese.
195-200F At this temperature, tiny strands of continuous bubbles rise to the water’s surface. The Chinese word-picture for this temperature range is “string of pearls”.