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How To Brew Oolong Tea

In Taiwan, making good Oolong or also known as Wu Long tea is a centuries old tradition and a delicate art.

I will do my best to explain to you how to make a good Oolong tea using loose leaf in the traditional Taiwanese way.

What do you require?

1. The obvious is a good quality Oolong tea leaf. Taiwan produces the finest Oolong tea in the world.

2. The second and not so obvious is good quality water. Soft water such as spring water is the best to use. You can also use filtered water if you dont have spring water.

3. Utensils – a kettle, a teapot (clay preferred), a serving pitcher, a strainer, small ceramic tea cups, a tea scooper to pick up the tea leaves, a tray to put underneath to capture spillage, prongs to remove used tea leaves from the teapot and a bucket to rid of liquid waste. In a traditional Taiwanese set, the tray will have a drainage tube attached to the bucket to allow the excess liquid to flow from the tray to the bucket.

How to prepare

Boil the water. For different teas, different temperatures are required. For Oolong tea, the preferred temperature is 85-90 degrees celcius. The temperature is important for many reasons. One being that more caffeine would be released causing bitterness if the temperature is too high. Wu Long tea is a semi-fermented tea which has a slight natural sweetness with less bitterness. A good tip for not getting the water too hot, is to remove it as soon as the bubbles in the water become big due to boiling.

For re-steeping the tea leaves, keep the kettle on heat, but not at a boiling point until needed. It is also important at this point not to allow the temperature of the water to decrease too much, either. 
Warming up

1. First, heat the teapot, the serving pitcher and the tea cups by pouring some of the hot water (only water) into them.Pour enough water to cover or even spill over. When they feel warm, you can dump out the water. I use this step only as a cleansing process because i will heat them up again before drinking as i will describe shortly.

2. Put your tea leaves in the teapot. Quantity is also important. As a general rule, 1 teaspoon (5 grams) for every 500cc (17 oz) of water. But the finer the tea leaves, the less quantity you will need. Personal taste is also a big factor.

3. Pour the water into the pot until full. Cover it. Allow the leaves to absorb the water and they begin to open up. After about 10 seconds, pour out the liquid through the strainer into the serving pitcher. You should not leave any liquid in the teapot at this point. You want to replace it with new water.

Then use the serving pitcher to pour the liquid into the cups and empty out the serving pitcher.. Dont be afraid to let the liquid overflow to allow everything to heat up evenly and completely.
This process does several things. It prepares the leaves for a quality infusion. It cleans the tea leaves before drinking the tea and it heats up the pot, server and cups.

Making the tea

Refill the teapot with new hot water until full and cover it. As the tea is steeping, use the liquid from the cups to pour over the top of the closed teapot. This is done to draw steam through the hole.
For the first steep, i suggest 1 minute. The next steep should be about 40 seconds and any steep after that, add 10 more to each steep. Steeping time requires some knowledge of the leaves but practice and adjustments will help you in achieving the perfect balance and flavor that you will enjoy.

Pouring the tea

Align the cups close to each other. Pour the tea through the strainer into the (now empty and warmed) serving pitcher. Then pour the tea using a continuous circular motion into the (now empty and warmed) cups. This will allow for identical color and flavor in every cup. I will emphasize again, “Dont be afraid to have spillage when pouring.”
You are now ready to enjoy your wonderful tasting, aromatic and healthy cup of Oolong tea.

Practice and enjoy this wonderful art!

For more information and to find great deals on Oolong Tea, visit Green Oolong Tea

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