This is my Qilai high mountain Oolong of Spring 2013. It comes from one of those rare mountains that have tea plantations reach above 2000 meters. It's a very fine high mountain Oolong and this is how I express its qualities:
- This tea follows the rule that the better the leaves, the fewer I need. I didn't weigh how much I used, but you can see that I roughly used enough for 1 layer on the bottom of the teapot.
- Good preheating of the teapot: I use boiling water. First on the outside of the teapot and then inside (to avoid a thermal shock). I wait for the lid to be very hot as well.
- I bring my water to a boil again. I put the leaves in the teapot and then pour the just boiled water with controlled strength on the side of the pot in order to make the leaves spin around with the water in the teapot. I close the lid and I pour some boiling water on the lid again.
- My brewing time for the first brew is quite long. At least a minute, I think. (I don't count or look at my watch). If you like the brew strong and with lots of power, it's possible to brew longer. Good High Mountain Oolong isn't likely to turn bitter, especially if you didn't use too many leaves. However, I think it's important not to brew the first brew too short, because the tightly rolled leaves need some time to open up properly. Here's how the leaves looked like after my first brew in the teapot:
They are already occupying the space on all sides. Opening up at the same rate means that the leaves are releasing the same flavors at the same time. Harmony. Scents and taste convey the same spring energy and freshness!
I live in Taiwan since 1996 and have been studying tea with Teaparker. He's a worldwide tea expert and author of over 30 tea books. The study of tea isn't just theoretical, but it's also rooted in daily practice. It's a path of continuous improvement. As my brewing technique improves I get access to better teas and better accessories. These things go hand in hand. My blog documents my learning since 2004. And I have set up an online tea boutique with my selection of top quality teas, accessories and tea culture.