I have Oriental Beauty (Bai Hao Oolong) from 4 supplying sources, and this is absolutely my favorite. Compared with another two OB products I have, this one has slightly larger leaves, and the flavor leans more toward sweet, floral and honey, while the other two are warmer with deeper spicy aroma.
Most of the time, I would use a small teapot to “gong fu” this tea. When it comes to oolong, I have very greedy taste, always yearning for strong flavor and hot liquor. But in recent months, I’ve more and more tried out casually brewing loose leaves in a mug, cup or bowl. The reasons for doing this are, (1) I am curious which prestigious teas can still be fairly delicious when the drinker doesn’t have to follow strict brewing parameters; (2) As I’ve started trying to mesmerize people into drinking tea, I thought casual drinking might be less intimidating than orthodox brewing methods like “gong fu”; (3) I have to admit, I sometimes feel a bit guilty about spending so much time drinking tea. I would like to do more casual drinking as long as the flavor is not much sacrificed.
Today after a long day of working and hours of suffering from dry eyes and dryness inside out, finally it’s tea time! I wouldn’t want to have too much caffeine at this time, and I am too exhausted to use little teapot and little cup. So this time I simply brewed this tea in a mug. I laid the dry leaves to cover the bottom of my glass mug and pour in hot water. That’s it! It is very relaxing and very enjoyable. The tea is warm with fruity aroma. Each sip ends with a hint of honey flavor. The first 2 infusions are the most aromatic. Afterwards, the flavor fades a bit. But the honey like aftertaste resulting from previous infusions starts to linger in mouth and makes the later infusions taste sweeter. The tea starts to get weaker in the fifth infusion. Too lazy to start another tea session, I just keep re-steeping this tea. The tea becomes bland, but still bears a very light spicy flavor.
Compared with gong fu brewing, what’s nice with glass mug brewing is you can see the leaves (they are pretty) and the silver tips (Bai Hao, or white tiny fibers) of the leaves suspending in the liquor. The downside of mug brewing is, flavor can’t be as strong as gong fu brewing (since less tea is used), and not as consistent (however, when tea gets over strong, you can always adjust it by adding hot water). When a shock of very aromatic tea is the dominant need, gong fu probably is still the best.