Somewhere between the flavors of black tea and green tea, you’ll find oolong tea to be a pleasant surprise. Brewing oolong tea is fascinating because it is available with different leaf shapes and oxidation levels. As such, it may seem confusing to learn how to brew it. These tips will help you make a masterfully brewed cup of oolong tea every time!
Ideally, you can use a gaiwan or clay teapot, but if you’re just getting into tea and aren’t ready to add another teapot to your kitchen accessories, you can use any teapot.
Get the Ratio Right
The water to tea ratio for brewing oolong tea should be 1 teaspoon of rolled tea (2 teaspoons for large, open leaves) to every 6 ounces of water. This is critical for the right flavors.
What to Know About the Water
Since tea is made with tea leaves and water, it is essential to consider the quality of your water. Distilled water is not the best choice which can leave it with a flat taste. You want to start with cold and fresh water, ideally filtered or spring water. Do not use water that you’ve boiled previously as this could hamper the taste.
The water should be heated to 180°F to 200°F. Using a thermometer will ensure temperature accuracy.
Tea should be steeped anywhere from 1 to 5 minutes. That’s a broad range, which varies depending on the type of tea you use. Leaf-style oolong will infuse more quickly than versions that are balled or rolled. If you’re not sure, steep for one minute and give it a taste. You can then let it steep in intervals of 30 seconds until it matches your preferences.
Incorporating Strainers and Infusers
If you have balled or rolled oolong tea leaves, they need room to unfold. This allows them to release their unique flavors. If you have a basket-style infuser or a filter that is made from metal, glass, or even cloth, this is better than an infuser in a ball shape. No infuser? No problem! You can brew the tea leaves directly in your teapot or in a cup and then strain them out by pouring it into another vessel.
Oolong Tea Brewing Steps
Let’s run through the whole process for brewing oolong tea. First you’ll put water in a tea kettle. Then you will heat it until the temperature reaches 180°F to 200°F. A thermometer can help you check this, and in the event you’ve made the water too hot, let it cool down slightly to the right temperature.
Without a thermometer, you can let the water boil first. Then remove it from the heat and let it rest for 2 minutes. You can then pour it over your tea leaves to steep and get ready to enjoy your tea.
One more thing you should know is that oolong is usually steeped multiple times. You can reuse your leaves 2 to 3 times with a larger teapot of up to 5 times for smaller pots. Each time you reuse it, you will get new flavors and nuances in every sip for a charming experience.