Aged oolongs are so precious. Thinking how unlikely for the teas to age “safely” for 30 or 40 years without being consumed, trashed, or damaged, you would know they deserve our utmost attention in brewing and serving.
I am here to share with you my brewing method that has suited me well.
There are some keys to bring out the best of your aged oolongs, to prevent failures or waste.
Key#1 : A Quality Time – You don’t want to multitask here. The brewing time we are going to talk is measured in seconds. Any distraction will easily make you over-steeping your tea. So, don’t start unless you are sure of being able to spend a quality time with your tea, like 10 minutes.
Key#2: Teaware – You can get good results with either teapot or gaiwan. Although smaller size (like < 150cc) will likely make more efficient steeping – less amount of teas required, easier to control, you can make good teas as long as you pre-warm the teapot/gaiwan like we did here. Aroma cup helps you to enjoy the aroma of the tea separately from enjoying the taste of the liquor – and you should try to smell the aroma cup at it gradually cools down to experience the layers of teas’ fragrance.
Key#3: Water Temperature – Boiling water, especially for the first or second steeping. Sometimes you will find the aged oolongs (or, any aged teas) act quite stubborn – kind of refusing to open up. Boiling water really helps to open up the teas and brings out the aroma. You may use slightly cooler (like 200F) water in following steepings. But I like to use boiling water all the way.
Suggested Brewing Method:– 6 gram dry leaves to 100cc boiling water
– (Optional) A quick rinse with the boiling water
– 1st and 2nd steeping: 45 seconds
– 3rd and 4th steeping: 50 seconds
Then add 5 seconds to each following steeping. I can usually go to 7th or 8th steeping easily.
You may find the best aroma/taste happen in the 2nd~5th steepings. With later steeping, you may get “sweeter” feeling in the liquor, especially with aged bao zhong.
Same brewing suggestion can be applied to aged pu-erhs as well, except I may use 5 gram to 100cc boiling water.
In the end, you should fine tune the suggested method to best suit your taste.
WAIT! Before you dump the used teas, I like to boil them in a kettle or saucepan to squeeze out the last bit of juice, then enjoy hot, cool or icy! You may be happily surprise how much it still left.
Guang : )