The geography of coffee is a frequent discussion among aficionados, but tea production has equivalent distinctions that aren’t as often recognized. Charlene Wang, has traveled extensively through Asia, and this week on Good Food she shares the subtle and dramatic differences of the tea-growing regions.
Here’s her recipe for a perfect cup of Oolong tea.
- brewing vessel of choice: a gaiwan, teapot, or pyrex measuring cup works (this is what I use when I go to people’s homes that don’t have lots of tea gear)
- a strainer of some sort (what I do in a pinch is use a fork)
- the cup you are going to drink out of
- optional: a decanter
- Don’t use a tea ball! You goal when brewing tea is to let the leaves open up and release their flavors. A tea ball cramps their style and doesn’t allow whole leaf teas to fully open and release their flavors.
- get everything out and ready. you don’t want to be fumbling for your tea when the water is ready or scrambling for a strainer while the tea is brewing.
- pour the amount of tea you want to brew in your brewing vessel
- heat water to boiling.
- let water cool down for 15-30 seconds
- quickly pour just enough water to cover the tea in your brewing vessel (for optimal results pour in a circular clockwork like motion to create some movement for your tea in water)
- strain out this liquid immediately into your decanter or directly into your cup
- pour out this liquid (tea connoisseurs usually don’t drink the rinse)
- congratulations you just finished your tea rinse warm-up to prime the leaves and get them ready to release all their delicious flavors
- pour water on these warmed up leaves in your brewing vessel
- let it brew for 30seconds-1:00 min depending on how much tea you put in and how strong you want it.
- strain this liquid into your decanter or directly into the cup you are drinking from
- repeat as many times as the leaves still have flavor for increasing the steeping time a little bit each succession. high quality unscented teas should have at least 3-5 good brews if not more.