How to Brew Oolong Tea?
To brew an amazing cup of oolong tea, it all starts with fresh, preferably filtered water heated to a temperature between 180°F to 200°F. For every 8 ounces of water, add 1.5 teaspoons of oolong tea leaves to a teapot. Pour the hot water over the leaves, letting them steep for 1 to 5 minutes, depending on your desired strength. As the tea steeps, the leaves will unfurl, releasing their unique aromas. Once steeped, pour into a cup, taking a moment to savor the varied flavors, from floral to roasted, inherent to oolong. Adjust to your taste to be just the way you like it.
Oolong tea, with its exquisite range of flavors and intriguing history, occupies a special niche in the world of teas. Often described as the golden mean between green and black tea, oolong has won the hearts of tea connoisseurs worldwide. We will go into what Oolong Tea is, where it comes from, a few delicious options, and of course how to brew it.
The Story of Oolong
So, where does the story of Oolong begin? It all started a long, long time ago in the misty mountains of China’s Fujian province. With records tracing as far back as the Ming Dynasty, this tea boasts of a rich cultural lineage. The name “oolong,” which translates to “black dragon,” reminds you of its legendary origins.
Here are the two dominating stories that allude to the discovery of oolong. The first involves the adventure of a tea picker who got distracted by a deer during his long trek back from a long day’s harvest. Once he returned, he found the tea leaves had begun to oxidize because of exposure. Instead of discarding them, he proceeded with the usual tea-making process, unintentionally becoming the father of oolong tea. The second story involves the “black dragon” whose responsibility is to guard the tea plants. The dragon too became distracted, and the leaves were left semi-oxidized, leading to Oolong’s unique character. Which story is the true origin story? We may never know.
Carefully Crafted Oolong Magic
Oolong Tea comes from the Camellia Sinensis plant just like black, green, and white tea. So, where does the magic of oolong come from? The magic is all in its unique production process. Distinct from black and green teas, oolong undergoes partial oxidation. Once plucked, the leaves are sun-withered, then shifted indoors. Periodic shaking or tumbling bruises the edges, allowing oxidation to set in.
Oxidation levels of oolong find themselves on a spectrum somewhere between 10% to 85%. This variation spans the flavor and color gamut, from light greens reminiscent of fresh teas to deep browns echoing matured ones. When the desired oxidation is achieved, the leaves are fired to stop the process, then rolled into a variety of shapes, from pearls to long twists, and finally roasted.
Variety of Oolong Teas
This is one of our best-selling teas and for good reason, it is one of the highest-grade oolongs any tea artisan can offer. With notes of roasted nuts and caramel as well as a sweet nectar-like note of apricot and honey, the complex flavors of the brew shine through.
This exquisite oolong hails from Vietnam offering a sophisticated array of complex and nuanced flavors. Inspired by Taiwan’s ancient & iconic processing methods, the fresh-picked leaves are dried in the sun and rolled in baskets of bamboo to encourage oxidation resulting in sweet, floral notes, and mildly roasted, caramel flavors.
This coconut-forward pouchong is seductive and sweet brimming with rich flavors and surprisingly nuanced notes of complexity. It is a tropical masterpiece combining the richness of coconut with floral notes and the uniqueness of oolong.
How to Brew the Perfect Oolong
Brewing the perfect cup of oolong is a delicate dance between water, temperature, time, and the tea leaves themselves. The complexities and nuances inherent in oolong teas, with their vast spectrum from lightly oxidized floral varieties to deeply roasted, robust ones, demand precision.
To extract the tea’s full range of flavors and aromas, there are many details to pay attention to: the quality and temperature of the water, the quantity of tea leaves, and the steeping duration. Using water just off the boil, between 180-200°F, including allowing the leaves to freely unfurl will give you the best results. With each subsequent infusion, the character of the oolong evolves, revealing a tapestry of flavors and aromas, each layer more intriguing than the last.
High-quality oolong teas are perfectly designed for multiple infusions. Some can be steeped up to 5 to 7 infusions sometimes more. The tight-knit leaves will slowly unfurl over multiple steeps allowing the nuanced notes to unlock additional flavors and new experiences.
Yet, beyond the science of temperatures and timings lies the art of personal connection. True tea connoisseurs understand that brewing is as much about intuition as it is about technique. Observing the leaves unfurl, sensing their aroma, and being attuned to the tea’s energy all guide the brewer’s hand.
For more information on brewing time or additional oolong options, visit fusionteas.com