About Oolong teas
What does the word ‘oolong’ mean?
Oolong or Wu Long is a direct translation from Chinese meaning black dragon.
Why is it called Oolong Tea?
It is because the tea is left to wilt in the sun and as it oxidises it takes the shape of a dragon.
Where is Oolong Tea grown?
Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand and China are the major Oolong growing nations.
How often is high mountain tea harvested?
High Mountain tea usually yields three crops annually spring, summer and winter.
What is the difference between spring, summer and winter crops?
Spring and winter are considered the finest harvests for Oolongs. The young summer buds are often used to make red teas.
How do I know this is hand picked tea?
Once you have brewed your tea and the leaf is fully open inspect the whole leaf. Look at the stem of the leaf and you will see the frayed stalk where the pickers have plucked the young bud from the plant. Machine cut tea is never whole leaf.
How long can I keep the tea?
High mountain Oolongs are best drunk within 2 years of purchase. They will not get better with time. They are best drunk fresh. So don’t store tea hoping it will increase in value. Collectors do this, but they only collect competition winning teas and they have the facilities to store the tea.
Types of tea
Is Oolong Tea the same as Green Tea?
They are both the same leaves of the same plant (Camellia sinensis) and share many of the same health benefits, but the processing is different.
How is Oolong Tea processed differently to Green tea?
Green Tea is harvested and then immediately dried in ovens, wheras Oolong Tea is wilted in the sun for several hours and then left in bamboo trays to further dry before being rolled and then fired in a kiln.
What are the major differences between Green and Oolong Tea?
Taste and aroma. Due to the complexity of producing the teas Oolong teas have a great variety of tastes.
What is Red Tea?
Red tea is the same leaf from the same plant only it is oxidised further. You will see the tea is drier and is not rolled into balls.
What is aged tea?
Aged tea is tea that has either been intentionally stored to create aged tea or more likely a tea that didn’t sell at harvest time. If left in storage the tea will get ruined by damp and humidity. So the farmers dry the tea annually to remove the excess water content. The tea is roasted annually. These teas after 5 to 10 years become quite delightful and have been ever increasing in popularity.
How long will 150 grams of tea last me?
If you brew a daily pot of tea 150g would last you a good month to six weeks.
Is supply going to run out?
If you believe what you read in newsletters and online then yes. In reality no. The fertile mountains and hard working farmers are producing fresh tea every year.
How to store your tea
How best to store my tea?
Keep opened or unopened tea in a cool, dark and dry place. It is important to keep your opened tea tightly sealed. We ship in 75g bags to make sure your tea is kept as fresh as possible. Try to only open what you need.
Can I put the tea in the freezer?
No, this will damage the tea. The fridge is a good option for unopened tea, but never put your tea in the freezer.
Brewing tips and best practice
How to brew the Red Teas?
Depending on taste use four to six grams of tea to 100mls of water. Adjust accordingly for larger or smaller sized brewing vessels. You may use a clay tea pot in the Yixing style, a gaiwan or any other equipment you may have at hand. Allow water to boil and then, depending on taste cool to either 90 to 95 degrees Celsius. It is best to use a cooler water temperature to begin with as you may always adjust to higher temperatures on successive brews. Pour hot water over the tea and after steeping the tea for a couple of seconds discard the first brew. Add water and allow to brew for 30 seconds. Pour either directly into cups or into a decanting jug and serve from this. Repeat successive brews adjusting for length of time to achieve the flavour and aroma you enjoy.
General Brewing Tips for Oolong Teas
Depending on taste use four to six grams of Oolong tea to 100mls of water. Adjust accordingly for larger or smaller sized brewing vessels. Allow water to boil and then cool to 80 degrees Celsius. You may use a clay tea pot in the Yixing style, a gaiwan or any other equipment you may have at hand. Pour hot water over the tea and after steeping the tea for a couple of seconds discard the first brew. Add water and allow to brew for 30 seconds. Pour either directly into cups or into a decanting jug and serve from this. Repeat successive brews adjusting for length of time to achieve the flavour and aroma you enjoy.
What tea pot should I use?
Oolong tea is best brewed in a ‘Kung Fu’ pot. These are the small traditional Chinese clay pots. If you do not have one you can use a regular tea pot.
How much tea should I use?
Four grams of tea is the recommended amount for a brew. If you cup your hand this would cover your palm.
How hot should the water be?
Don’t over boil the water it will ruin it as it removes all the oxygen. Just as the water is coming to boil switch off the kettle and let it sit for a minute or two. Then brew the tea. Scolding water will not enhance the tea flavours.
Is the kind of water I use important?
Crucially important. If you use poor quality water the tea won’t taste good. Use your best filtered drinking water or purchase nice spring water for brewing premium teas.
How long should I brew the tea for?
For the first infusion brew the tea for 45 seconds to 1 minute. Then add 15 seconds for each brew. Use a timer and don’t forget about your tea. Over brew by just 1 minute will ruin the taste. As you learn about the various teas you will find your sweet spot re brewing ties. This is just a rough guide. The more tea in the pot the less time required for brewing.
How many times can I brew this tea?
This is all the highest quality tea and therefore can be steeped from 5 to 10 times. Just remember to keep each steep longer than the last and the tea will keep on giving.
Can I use the tea leaves after brewing?
Once you have brewed the tea 5-10 times with hot water place the leaves in a container or flask and add one litre of water (or less). Place in the fridge overnight for a lovely refreshing cold tea when you wake up.
Shipping and returns policy
Can I get a refund if I don’t like the tea?
Please refer to our delivery and return policy that can be seen here http://www.imperialformosan.com/delivery-returns/
How long will it take for my tea to arrive?
Allow 10 to 14 working days for your tea to arrive from Formosa.
What qualifies for free shipping?
Orders of over US$99.00 qualify for free shipping anywhere in the world.