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MegWesley said

Oolong Tips?

I have two oolongs in my stash, but I’m not sure if I am brewing them properly to get the most flavor out of them. The only things I have in the house are a french press and some tea balls.

I do a quick 10-20 second rinse on the leaves before I brew them. I’m not positive what temperature to brew them at though. I know I don’t boil them. I normally wait a minute or two longer after the kettle just starts making some soft noise.

But I’m not getting the flavors that other people seem to be getting. So, does anyone have any oolong tips for me? Thank you in advance! I’m going to try to make some more oolong this afternoon and hopefully this will help me get the most out of my tea.

8 Replies
Dinosara said

It depends a bit on the type of oolong. Are they green, like a tieguanyin, or darker? Little balls of green leaf or longer strips of dark leaf? (I just glanced at your cupboard and saw it was a Dong Ding and a Jin Xuan from Teavivre, is that right?)

You’re definitely going to want to use your french press, of your two options, and with that kind of thing I would think doing a western style brew would be best. Depending on the size of the press you could do something like gong fu, but your water:leaf ratios will be different depending on the style. Here’s how I do it for my green oolongs:

For western: About 1 tsp of green oolong leaves per 6oz of water. 195-200°F water, 2-3 minute steep, no rinse! Sometimes, depending on the oolong, you can do boiling! Look at the water temp Teavivre specified on the pouch.

For gong fu: About 1 tbsp of leaves per 4oz of water (although I haven’t quite figured out my ratio yet). 205-212°F water. A rinse that takes as long as it takes me to pour the water in and out of the pot (no more than a few seconds). Successive 15-20 second steeps. You can see how you wouldn’t want to do this method with a lot of water! It’s typically done in no more than 6oz of water. I will put a caveat that I’m not quite satisfied with my gong fu method yet as I just started doing it, but these are the basic instructions a lot of people give.

I would suggest to start out western style, and if you really get into oolongs investing in a gong fu set up (i.e., a gaiwan or very small pot). Good luck, and let me know if you have any other questions!

MegWesley said

Yep. Those are the two oolongs I have. I think the main thing I’m having trouble with is getting the right water temperature. This has been helpful. I think I’m going to try brewing with a western style because I haven’t done that yet. I’ve tried a more gong fu style in the past.

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I agree with Dinosara.
I did a series of comparison between gongfu brewing and mug brewing on a few oolong. Here is an example, with some pictures of the two styles and what I think of them:
I feel gongfu brewing works for most oolong, and mug brewing works for a lot of them too.

MegWesley said

How long do you let it steep in the mug before drinking? That method looks interesting. If you do that, how many times can you resteep the leaves in the mug?

I think one thing convenient about mug brewing is, you don’t have to plan for infusion time, and you can just sip the tea to test if it’s read for drinking :-) The time varies a lot depending on how tightly curled the dry tea leaves are. The ball-shaped ones like yours usually take longer time. Usually you can tell when to start drinking by how much the little balls open and the change of tea liquor in the mug :-)

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I personally prefer using gongfu brewing, but then I have no experience with a french press so I do not know how good the tea is when using one. But I do know that I manage to get much more flavor using the gongfu brewing method than other methods that I’ve tried, including my breville. But, the breville does come in handy to achieve a good brewing temperature!

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TeaVivre said

Here is my way to brew Dong Ding Oolong:

Gaiwan: 5-7g/150ml, 100℃. Firstly, I’d like to rinse the tea for about 5s, then the seconds time for 45s, also add an additional 10-18s to the following steeping times. You may try different brewing times to find the way that most suitable for your taste. Because this is maybe related to one’s personal preference.

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MegWesley said

Thank you for all of the tips! I have had more success with my oolong this time and I think I might have fallen in love all over again!

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