Oolong tea is semi-oxidised and usually is processed into 'green' type oolongs (up to 20% oxidised) or darker more heavily roasted oolong (up to 70% oxidised). It may then be rolled or twisted to shape then fired or baked after this depending on local production styles. Quality green oolong teas can taste sweet and buttery, less vegetal than green tea, whilst the darker oolongs have a depth and strength approaching lighter black teas.
Water temp: Green leaf: 75-85C. Darker leaf: 80-90C. Water should be freshly drawn, filtered & caught under the boil.
Washing the tea: Optional Chinese practise to remove any dust and impurities and wake up the tea before brewing. To do this steep the leaves in boiling water for 5 secs, swirl and discard the water. Repeat for a further 10 seconds and discard.
Western brewing: Use 1-2 level teaspoons (2.5-3g) per 200ml cup steeped for 2min30s. Use the same leaves for a second infusion using slightly hotter water infused for 3 minutes.
Gong-fu style: Use 6-7 grams (4+ teaspoons) per 100ml, repeatedly steeped for short periods, eg. 15-20secs for the first steep (after washing the tea), then increased by 5-10secs each infusion until the flavour has gone. Adjust for personal preference, shorter if too strong, longer if too weak. Best done in a small brewing vessel, eg. under 200ml.
Cold infusion: Infuse 3-4g in 500ml cold water for 4-6 hours for refreshingly crisp iced tea, or overnight - experiment!