Oolong tea is a master art product. So is its preparation. If one wants to consume this beverage, he/she will have to learn how to prepare, steep, and brew oolong tea properly.
The traditional preparation of oolong follows a complicated and time-consuming methodology. Brew tea carefully and enjoy your oolong without the need to rush.
About Oolong Tea
The first oolong originated in China. It derives from the Camellia Sinensis plant, which is the same plant used to make many other tea types. The only difference between oolong, green tea, and black tea are the oxidation levels.
Black tea is more heavily oxidized than oolongs. On the other hand, green tea does not oxidize like the previous two. Oolong is semi-oxidized
Although brewing oolong tea is similar to other teas, there are some traditional differences that you’ll need to consider. But more on that step-by-step process later.
How to Brew Oolong Tea
Take your time when making the oolong tea so that you can infuse all the flavors and healthy goodness into it. Tea is a very personal thing, and what works for one may not work for another.
Below is one basic method for preparing your oolong tea. It is by no means the only way and is meant as a guide for the perfect experience. First, let’s see what you’ll need:
Things You’ll Need to Prepare Oolong Tea
- Oolong tea leaves.
- Filtered Water.
- Tea mug with an infuser.
- Measuring spoon/cup.
Oolongs can have a hard taste to accept at first. As a general rule of thumb, stick to one type of tea for a longer period to get used to the taste.
Step-by-Step Steeping Guide
- Run some hot water into two similar size teapots. It is recommended to clean the pots before you start brewing oolong tea.
- Ensure that the water used for preparing the tea is at least 80 degrees and at most 90 degrees Celsius. The recommended measurement is about 3-4 grams of loose leaf oolong tea for every 200 millimeters of water. It will ensure that the tea is neither watery nor strong. If using a larger pot, it can be between 6 to 8 grams of tea for 500 millimeters of water.
Optional: Use one teaspoon per 200 millimeters of water if the tea leaves are rolled into balls OR 2 tablespoons if the oolong consists of large and open tea leaves.
- Add the correct measurement of tea leaves to your pot and just a little water to ‘wake’ the tea. Ensure that it is just enough to wet the leaves.
- Steep for 5 seconds and discard the first water.
- You can now add the correct measurement of hot water to the tea.
- The steeping time should take 1 minute at most for the first infusion. The tea can be re-steeped up to 3 more times, depending on the type of oolong.
- The next steeping and all following steeping should take no more than 30 seconds. If you must let it steep for longer, you can add some little hot water to maintain its balance.
- Taste the tea after every steeping. Once you are satisfied with the taste, enjoy the tea in whichever way you like.
Take special care to check on the water’s temperature and tea steeping time. With practice, you’ll be able to brew oolong tea with no problems at all.
Oolong Tea Preparation for Advanced Tea Drinkers
For a more traditional preparation of oolong tea, you should use a ceramic or China teapot and cups. A terracotta teapot will also work, but it is a memory teapot and shouldn’t be used with too many different types of tea. It is because its flavor will be easily altered.
Begin by cleaning everything you’re going to use with hot water. Then, put five grams of loose leaf oolong tea in the teapot. Next, add water at 95 degrees Celsius to clean the tea.
Steep for a few seconds, and then remove the water. Pour in the water at 95 degrees Celsius again to prepare the tea. You can serve oolong directly or brew it for one to two minutes to give it a stronger taste.
Before serving, transfer the tea to another teapot using a filter to block the leaves. With higher quality tea, you can brew it up to five times.
To clean the teapot, use a stick to remove the tea leaves. Then, rinse the pot with hot water.
Never use any kind of soap or other cleaning products to clean your teapot as, over time, this can impact the flavor of the tea.
Oolong Tea Brewing Tips
Whichever way you choose for brewing oolong tea, three factors will have the most influence over the result; the quality of the tea, the temperature of the water, and the duration of the steep.
The good news is you can have a lot of fun just playing around with different types of oolong, steep times, and water temperatures until you find your perfect drink. As a general guideline, you can follow these tips when you brew tea until you feel comfortable and confident enough to do your very own oolong thing.
- Use one teaspoon of oolong tea leaves or one teabag per cup/person.
- Darker oolongs brew best with water that has just come down from the boiling point.
- When boiled too long, the water can harm the taste.
- For greener oolong teas, boil the water, then let it cool for two minutes or until it reaches 85°C.
- Allow greener oolongs to steep for 1 – 3 minutes.
- Dark oolongs steep best for 3 – 5 minutes. Tea brewed for too long may taste bitter.
- Always remove the infuser and leaves from the tea before serving.
Good oolong tea leaves can be refreshed again for a delicious second brew, and usually more. Just add more water and steep for another minute. Serious oolong drinkers swear that the second brew produces the best flavor.
Traditionally, you’d serve your oolong without sugar or milk, but some people like to add honey to the teapot as a sweetener. Some fans of oolong tea like it iced, too. Some prefer to put milk into it.
Preparing tea is a rather personal thing. We endorse it to be treated as such. Have a nice cup of tea!