Oolong Tea (Wu Long)
How to Brew It
Knowing how to brew oolong tea will make more sense when you know more about it an it's relation to other types of teas (how it is processed) like white, green and black and will help you be more confident serving different varieties at your tea party.
Oolong is oxidized/fermented more than green tea, but less than black. This partial oxidation is achieved by tossing the leaves so that only some of the enzymes are released and oxidized. Different varieties are oxidized more and some less, therefore one type of oolong can be closer to a black tea if it was oxidized more, and closer to a green tea if it was exposed to air after bruising for a shorter time. It is then rolled into loose balls, sorted and packaged.
Depending on the amount of oxidation, the colors of the tea will vary from a golden to a light brown and flavors will be lighter (golden) or more bold with the darker varieties.
Brewing Oolong Tea
As with other types of teas, oolong is no different in the basic method of preparation.
Brewing times should be watched for if it is steeped too long it will become bitter.
If you want a stronger more flavorful tea, add more tea leaves to your teapot rather than a longer steeping time.
Oolong is best brewed with boiling water to open the balls and release the flavor. Depending on the amount of oxidation your tea leaves have undergone, will determine if you have a tea closer to green, black or somewhere in between.
Because this type of tea has such a variance in types, trying different amounts of tea and different brewing times can create very different cups of tea. So experiment and take note of what you prefer. Keep a chart inside your tea cabinet where you can easily reference your favored methods.
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