With Oolong I’m sure it depends, but how long should you resteep for? More time makes sense but the green tea package I have says to resteep with much less time.
Yep- it depends on what kind of vessel you’re steeping in, how large it is, and how much tea you’re using.
I’m guessing the green tea package you have is for a Japanese green; I’m not very familiar with Japanese greens, but the last few I tried to steep correctly per the tea company’s instructions had the “more steepings = less time” recommendation. (if anyone knows why this is, I’d love to hear about it).
The general rule, however, is to increase the steeping time each time you steep the leaves. I mainly drink Chinese teas, and they all follow this rule. I recommend you use the more-steepings→MORE-time method for your oolong.
If you’re making your oolong in a gaiwan or a small yixing pot, your steep times will probably look like this:
1st steeping (wash/awakening) – 3ish seconds
2nd steeping (drink this one!) – 3-4 seconds
next steepings.. – add 5-10 seconds each time
Steeping 10 – 60 seconds… etc
If you’re making your oolong Western style in a big pot, the first steeping is probably about 2 or 3 minutes, and the next steepings add 30 seconds or even a minute onto each steeping.
It really depends on how nice your tea is, and what your personal preferences are.
If you enjoy a really intense cup, you’ll want your steepings to be longer and with more leaves.
If you have a lower quality tea that’s bitter or drying, you’ll want to steep for a shorter amount of time or use less leaves.
My recommendation is to play around with your tea, and see what you and it like best. It’s not an exact science like coffee at all, and good tea can be extremely forgiving. Try to adjust to your own taste as you go along, and steep that tea until it just doesn’t have any more flavor left to give. Then let it steep again for 10 minutes, just to see what happens.
Would steeping a good oolong tea for shorter or longer than an optimal time (as long as the water is not too hot) generally still result in something interesting and enjoyable?
Indeed, it is very difficult to handle with the steeping time of tea. If the brewing time lasts too long, then the taste of the brewed tea will be very heavy and strong , or even bitter. However, if the time is too short, thus the tea can not show its original flavor. Like spoonvonstup said, if you choose the a Gaiwan method in Chinese style, then the tea can not be brewed as long as the way in western method, usually, it must be brewed very shortly in the hot water. So, if you feel it is hard to control the steeping time, I suggest using gongfu way to brew Oolong tea, a traditional Chinese way: Sand-Fired pot method
When brewing, after pouring hot water into sand-fired pot and cover the lid, then also pour the hot water to the surface of sand-fired pot, you can enjoy Oolong tea after the water at the surface of Sand-Fired pot dried. The biggest advantages are: its heat preservation is pretty good and can keep the tea’s original aroma and taste as well. Additionally, we don’t need to worry about the steeping time, just wait the water at the surface of Sand-Fired pot to be dried.
Whether gaiwan, yixing, or a regular bowl I suggest brewing the 1st press until the leaves open. Usually it takes 1 – 1.5 minutes with boiling water, less in a yixing pot and more in a gaiwan..
For the 2nd, 3rd, etc. presses I’ll shorten the infusion time.