Has it been oolong since your last cuppa?
Oolong tea is a semi-fermented Chinese tea with a unique fragrance that is a favourite among connoisseurs - but that's not to say brewing newcomers can't enjoy it just as much! So, if you're a beginner to oolong tea, here is a step-by-step guide to ensure you can wow your guests at your next get-together.
Ingredients and equipment
Before you start, make sure you have the right set-up:
high-grade oolong tea from your favourite company
teapot (with inbuilt strainer if you prefer)
ceramic or porcelain drinking cups
lemon or sugar (optional)
When choosing a teapot, it is preferable to opt for a smaller one as larger pots can 'stew' the leaves, which may lead to a rather flat-tasting tea. Oolong tea's unique flavour is also best enhanced by selecting a teapot with a cover or lid, trapping the aroma.
1. Bring water to boil in the kettle - if possible avoid mineral water or tap water as these can affect the taste. Instead use spring or filtered water
2. Prepare the tea set by warming up the cups by rinsing in hot water
3. Add one tablespoon of tea for every six to eight ounces of water
4. 'Rinsing the leaves' - should always be done with oolong tea; pour a little boiling water into the leaves and then immediately pour it out
5. Pour the boiling water to the desired level and leave to steep for between one and two minutes - the longer you let it stand, the more bitter it will become
6. Distribute the tea equally and circulate between the cups (the last few drops can be the tastiest, so share them out!)
7. Add sugar or lemon to taste
Multiple infusions: Many people believe subsequent infusions to be better than the first, so you can repeat the process and enjoy another round of tea!