How to Steep Oolong Tea in Asian and Western Style
Oolong tea is a traditional Chinese tea made from the leaves of a Camellia Sinensis plant. It has a distinct flavor profile, ranging from light and fruity to dark and malty, resulting from the different levels of oxidation of the leaves. Depending on where you live and what kind of tea drinking tradition you’re accustomed to, the way you steep your oolong can be quite different. Here are some tips on how to steep oolong tea in both the Asian and Western style:
Asian Style Oolong Tea Brewing
- Use the right water temperature: The optimal water temperature for oolong tea is between 185-95℉ (85-95℃). The higher the temperature, the more strongly the tea will flavor.
- Choose the right teapot: Traditional Chinese teapots are made of either Yixing clay or porcelain and are designed specifically for different types of Chinese tea. If you’re using a Yixing clay teapot, it’s best to steep the same type of tea for at least 3-4 steeps before switching to another type.
- Steep for 15-30 seconds: Oolong tea is usually steeped for 15-30 seconds. Generally, the lighter the tea, the shorter the brewing time.
- Re-steep: Oolong tea can be re-steeped multiple times. The flavors will become more intense with each steep.
Western Style Oolong Tea Brewing
- Use the right water temperature: Same applies as in Asian style–optimal water temperature is between 185-95℉ (85-95℃).
- Choose the right teapot: Western teapots are usually larger than Chinese teapots and can hold more tea leaves.
- Steep for 4-5 minutes: Western style oolong tea is usually steep for 4-5 minutes, allowing the leaves to release more of their flavor and aroma.
- Re-steep: You can re-steep the same leaves multiple times.
No matter where you’re from or how you like to drink your tea, following these tips will help you get the most out of your oolong tea experience. Enjoy!