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wambli said

Multi infusions of oolong

First time steeping Oolong. I just purchased some Zhongshan Balye oolong. What are the basics for multi infusions with oolong? Do the times and temps change? I did first two at 195F 2.5min

10 Replies
Cofftea said

For teas that have a starting steeping time of 3 min or more I always increase the steeping times by 1 min til I get to a 12 min steeping time or so. After 12 I normally jump to 16, then 20, then 25. I don’t change the temperature.

Teaspoon said

would that make 13 infusions? What tea will last that long? and for how long a period, one sitting?

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It largely depends on how much leaves you use. Most of the time I use 30 seconds infusions, but I use a lot of leaves in a small vessel, and at the end of the tea session, spent leaves will entirely fill my gaiwan or teapot. When fewer leaves are used, infusion time needed is much longer. As long as the tea tastes good, you are doing the right thing :D

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wambli said

Thanks a lot for the info. I am new to oolong so this really helps. Presently I am using a Giawan to steep. I have a brand new yixing tea set but don’t know what oolong to save it for. My other oolong is Superior Ti Kuan Yin. any suggestions of a sample set of oolong I should get before I break in the Yixing tea pot? Is there a URL etc… of where people have rated the best Oolongs?

Cofftea said

Adagio has pretty good oolongs (flavored and unflavored). Sample tins are approx ~1oz and are metal tins so they close properly. Their pouchong is amazing too!=D

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I am new to Oolong too, but what seems to work pretty well for me is 3 minutes first, add a minute or two for each subsequent steep. I read somewhere that Oolongs traditionally steep 3 times, then I read somewhere else that the best steep is the fourth, so go figure. :-) I have not gone beyond 5 as it after that the returns seem to be diminishing.

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wambli said

I am new to Oolong but from my research it looks like it depends on quality of oolong. I can’t wait to try wuyi Rock Oolongs from Dragon tea house. Some of theirs say 6-8 steeps. Than again maybe I should wait till I really learn how to brew Oolong before “steeping” up the letter. Can’t stand it, Friday I am getting some… :-)

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I’ve managed to get 3-4 steeps from Ti Kuan Yin oolong – though the type I purchased, I’ve since discovered, leans more toward being a ‘green’ leaf than a traditional ‘black’ leaf, so it’s possible that the traditional process might get a few more steeps.
I follow the same process as the others – 3 minutes to begin, then an additional 1-2 minutes each subsequent steep until the leaves look worn out :).

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It also depends on how much leaf is used. In a traditional tea session, a commonly used leaf/water ratio is 5-7 gram leaves per 4oz. water, and typical high quality Tie Guan Yin yield 7 infusions or more. When less leaves are used, infusions are down to 4-5.

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I believe the quality of the oolong amounts to how many brews you can draw from it, other variables being the amount of leaves, and water temperature. I brew my oolongs on ascending one minute brews, on a good quality Ti Kuan Yin, Alishan, Silk, or Lishan. Brewing it this way will keep your cup filled, and draw out the amount of brews. Just keep the water constant (you shouldn’t really need to raise the temp until you notice a loss in it’s body), and the portions to one slightly heaping teaspoon to 8 ounce cup (your teascoop is a variable), screwing with the portions tend to be a big no no in my case, unless you are brewing in a Yixing pot, where in that case you measure it’s specific fluid ounce and treat it basically like a gaiwan. But in my opinion it just really counts on the quality of the oolong, you will have to poke your nose around until you find a nice oolong you like. There are some very flavourful oolongs such as Lupicia’s Ti Kuan Yin Mucha that yields a incredibly good first cup, but loses almost all it’s body on the second, and fussing with the variables just doesn’t really help it. Try Red Blossom Tea Co.‘s oolongs, they are pricey but are tanks. (read my review on their Alishan Spring ’09). If you need something more affordable, try Teavana’s Ti Kuan Yin. Not all Ti Kuan Yins are the same, every oolong from a different distributor has its pickiness in brew. I hope this helps…and gee i wrote a book T-T

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