Saturday, 16 October 2010

Curious and satisfying

Instead of writing about which Oolongs I like as I transition away from black tea, I'd rather talk about why. There's almost always some Darjeeling in the late afternoon, but before that I like Oolong. Again-I'd rarely go from black tea to green. Don't ask me why. Sometimes after a bit of Oolong, I'll dive into the green, but even that's seldom my desire.

Why Oolong and why now? There's a point at which the dark black tea has run its course. I've heard that too much black tea can make one's pH balance sour. No idea if that's true (or even what that really means), but there's a point in the late morning/early afternoon where I just don't want anymore of that smoky or malty brew that I so craved just a few hours earlier when my eyes first cracked open.

Maybe it's because Oolong doesn't have any bite. No aftertaste. None at all. Have written here at length about my shock at finding out how many times the same bit of Oolong can be steeped. Merely thinking about the tea I wasted before I then makes me cringe. In those days, I'd make a pot of Oolong and afterwards simply throw out the leaves.

Now, I can make several handfuls of Oolong last half the afternoon. And the better I get at multiple steepings, the more variety it seems there is in every infusion. It makes the whole process both curious and satisfying.

I am by no means an expert at these delicious Chinese and Taiwanese creations, but it seems like the only way you learn is by trial and error. Possibly because of my multiple errors, I'm that much more appreciative when I can pull even more taste from yet another steep.


  1. Hey, it's a learning process, right? This is a journey that all of us serious tea lovers have had to go through. I've learned a lot in the past months about tea, and I've pretty much settled on my favourites: Oolong and Pu'erh.

    I've never really been one for black tea. I tried it again, but still...I'm not all that impressed.

    I agree with you on the green tea. I don't mind it, but it's a pain to brew because of how temperature sensitive it is, and so I tend to brew other tea instead.

    Now I'm off to have some more pu'erh! Talk to you later. >:)


  2. I guess it all depends on your personal tastes and the trials and errors processes you went through.

  3. I find some oolongs do have more bite. One of my favorites is Upton's ZO10 Se chung. I like it because it has a fair amount of bitterness and yet very little astringency, if you figure out the right way to brew it. It's also very full-bodied.