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Last Updated on May 4, 2021
How Long to Brew Oolong Tea? – Ultimate Guide
There are so many different kinds of tea in the world and not many people are familiar with Oolong tea – a traditional Chinese tea that represents an estimate of around 2% of all of the world’s tea.
It’s important to know how to properly prepare Oolong tea so you can enjoy all its benefits. In this article, we will discuss the basics of Oolong tea preparation, specifically regarding how long to brew it, and some tips on the best way to brew it.
How Long to Brew Oolong Tea?
Although a significant portion of the world’s population drink tea, many do not know that there is a right and wrong way when it comes to preparing tea. It’s not as simple as just throwing a tea bag in a cup of hot water.
However, before we discuss how long Oolong tea should be brewed, there are some things to understand first. These are factors that are heavily involved in the brewing of tea and these factors will shed a light as to why a direct answer cannot be given as to the question.
Firstly, it is important to understand steeping time – the time it would take to brew the tea. Understandably, steeping time could change depending on how hot the water is since a hotter temperature would need less steeping time than a cooler temperature would.
Type of Water
Secondly, it actually matters what kind of water you are using. You might think that water is just water, but there are different kinds: tap water, spring water, filtered water, and so on. Not only do these types of water affect the taste of the resulting tea, but they actually affect the chemistry involved in brewing.
Tea Bags or Loose Tea Leaves?
Thirdly, the form of the tea matters as well. Most people drink tea using tea bags. However, there are numerous reasons why people should consider using loose leaf tea instead.
Loose leaf tea is just dried leaves that you have to infuse in the water yourself. It is important to know that loose leaf tea can also come in different forms such as leaf-style and roll-styled loose leaf.
Due to the amount of exposed surface area, the steeping time for leaf-style loose leaf is even quicker than roll-style loose leaf. Due to the number of factors involved, it is very difficult to recommend the correct steeping time. However, there are certain rules of thumb you can follow.
For example, the general rule is to heat water up to around 180-200°F. This method requires the use of a thermometer. For people without access to a thermometer, you can simply heat water to its boiling point and let the water rest for around 2 minutes to reach that temperature range.
Using this method, you can steep the tea leaves in the hot water for about 1-5 minutes. The depth and flavor profile of the tea will highly depend on your preference, which means you might have to experiment a little to find the right time for you.
If the tea you have is a high-quality oolong tea, then you can possibly use the same leaves to brew multiple times. Some can even brew Oolong tea using the same leaves for about 5-8 more times until the flavor is completely gone.
How to Brew Oolong Tea?
Now that you are familiar with the concepts involved in brewing Oolong tea, here is a simple guide that you can follow to make Oolong tea.
1. As with all tea, you begin by heating water. Following the advice mentioned above, you can either heat water to around 180-200°F or heat water to a boil and let it rest for about two minutes.
With the hot water, you can optionally put some of the hot water into the cup or teapot to preheat them. If you take this step, you can go ahead and discard the water once the vessel is warm.
2. Get an appropriate amount of Oolong tea for the vessel you wish to put it in. This could be around 1-2 tablespoons of Oolong tea. Once you are satisfied with the amount of tea, you can go ahead and put it in the cup or teapot.
3. With the Oolong tea in a cup or teapot, you can optionally do a step called rinsing. For this step, the hot water is poured over the leaves and allowed to steep for five seconds at most. After this, the water is immediately discarded. Some people suggest that this cleans the leaves and creates a better flavor.
4. Rinsing is an optional step. If you choose not to do this, you can just go ahead and add your hot water. Cover the cup or teapot and allow the tea to steep between 1-5 minutes.
5. Once the tea has finished steeping, remove the leaves to halt the infusion. You can set aside the leaves for another brewing session in the future.
More Oolong Tea Brewing Tips
Due to the nature and diverse history of Oolong tea as a traditional Chinese tea, there are actually different ways to enjoy Oolong tea. This is ideal for many tea lovers because they enjoy Oolong tea in a multitude of ways.
For example, you can explore the different teaware you can use to prepare your Oolong tea. For Oolong, you can look into infuser cups, Chinese gaiwan, Chinese zisha teapot, Glass teapot with or without an infuser, and so on.
You can also experiment on the Oolong and water ratio. You can even experiment on mixing different types of Oolong teas to make the flavor more complex.
To make the most out of your Oolong tea, follow the tips above and enjoy Oolong tea the way it is meant to be enjoyed. Take note of the factors involved and don’t hesitate to try different methods and different brewing times to find your favorite way of enjoying Oolong tea.