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Oolong means semi fermented. In Taiwan, producing oolong tea involves highly specialized skills in the control of the withering, oxidation and firing. This tea is smooth and slightly sweet; toasty with a touch of dryness.
After rolling, the tea is allowed to ferment only until the edges of the leaves start to turn brown. The tea is then fired which arrests the fermenting process and captures the interesting character associated with Oolong tea. In Taiwan, producing oolong tea involves highly specialized skills in the control of the withering, oxidation and firing. A slight variance in any of these gives each variety a distinctive aroma, flavor, color and finish.
The best Oolongs come from Taiwan (Formosa) where the character of short-fired oolongs has been described as peach like with a refreshing fruity herbaceous character whereas long-fired oolongs take on bakery notes with rich amber liquids. This tea falls into the latter category.
It is worth noting that in Taiwan, the making of oolong tea is regarded as a precious art that requires years of training. From the nursing of a seedling, to planting, to nourishing the bushes, to properly selecting the best time to pluck the leaves, the husbandry of the tea farmer is a legacy passed down from many generations. It is felt that only the application of years of dedicated study and practice, combined with the unique character of Taiwan tealeaves, can provide the exceptional quality oolong teas that have made the island famous for its teas.
An interesting footnote: During the 2nd World War the production of tea was greatly expanded while the island was occupied. This production was exported to Japan to supplement their own production, which was falling below domestic demand.
Brewing for Best Results
Ideal Brewing Temperature: 190°F/88°C.
Modern Method: Bring filtered or freshly drawn cold water to 190°F/ 88°C. With an infuser, use 1 slightly heaping teaspoon of loose tea per 8 oz of fluid water. Rinse the tea first by placing enough prepared water over the leaves and leave set for 10 seconds. Discard rinse water. Do not drink. Steep 3-5 minutes according to taste (the longer the steeping time the stronger the tea).
Traditional Method: When preparing by the traditional method, this tea can be used repeatedly - about 3 - 4 times. Bring filtered or freshly drawn cold water to 190°F/ 88°C. Place 1 slightly heaping teaspoon of loose tea per 8 oz of fluid water. Rinse the tea first by placing enough prepared water over the leaves and leave set for 10 seconds. Discard rinse water. Do not drink. Pour the prepared water directly over the leaves after the rinse. Steep for about 2 minutes then remove leaves. Rinsing the leaves are not recommended when brewing the second or third time.
Tea(s) From: Taiwan
Region(s): Taoyuan County
Luxury Ingredients: Oolong tea
iced tea instructions
Per Serving: Bring filtered or freshly drawn cold water to 190°F/ 88°C. Place 1 slightly heaping teaspoon of loose tea per 7-9 oz of fluid water. Steep 5 minutes. Add filtered hot tea to 16 oz glass filled with ice.
Per Pitcher: Makes 1 Quart. Bring filtered or freshly drawn cold water to 190°F/ 88°C. Place 6 slightly heaping teaspoon of loose tea in a heat resistant container. Pour 1 ¼ cup of prepared water over the tea leaves. Steep 5-7 minutes. With a fine mesh sieve, filter the hot tea liquor to the serving pitcher filled with ice. Add cold filtered water to top off. (Some luxury teas will turn cloudy when poured over ice).
Making an amazing cup of tea requires several things. High quality tea, filtered or freshly drawn cold water, correct water temperature, time of infusion, and filters/infusers. Unfiltered water or too hot of water can ruin the best of teas. Always use filtered or freshly drawn cold water. Any flavor from water treatments or heavy minerals such as lime or calcium can taint the water. Brew at the ideal temperature. Too hot of water can scorch the leaves and produce a bitter brew. If you find that the tea is still bitter following the recommended brewing temperature, try lowering the brew temperature another 5 to 10 degrees. Use infusers that allow the tea leaves to fully expand and has full contact with the water. Ditch the tea bags. Know the steeping time for your tea. Too long of steeping can make your tea bitter and undesirable. Too short of time will make a weak tea. Don’t make tea in the microwave.
We strongly recommend using filtered or freshly drawn cold water brought to a rolling boil when brewing all types of tea. Today’s water has been known to carry viruses, parasites and bacteria. Boiling the water will kill these elements and reduce the potential incidence of water-borne illness. Cool the water to the ideal brewing temperature before brewing.