Welcome to the second edition of ‘Ask The Oolong Drunk,' where I’ll be answering the questions you send in. Over the past month, I’ve received quite a few interesting questions that I’m ready to answer. But first, I want to thank those who participated in this new segment, and I can’t wait to see how much further this goes. Just remember — there’s no such thing as a stupid question, so do hesitate to submit whatever questions you may have.
How do you approach steeping raw puer and how do you adjust your steep timing/temperature during a session? -Ryan
For every session I use 1g of tea to 15ml of water. White2Tea had this ratio posted on their site when I first got into puer over a year ago. Of course, you can use as much tea as you want, but this is the method that typically gives you the best session of tea. In fact, I use this ratio for every aspect of tea steeping.
For the water temperature, it depends on the tea. For a gong-fu session with puer, white tea, or oolong tea, I use a water temperature of 185ºf. Even throughout the session, I’ll reheat the kettle to make sure it stays at this heat. I brew the tea at this temperature because the tea doesn’t get hot enough to get bitter, and yet, hot enough to get all of the flavor out of the leaf. However, if you’re still concerned about measuring the temperature, then I’d recommend buying a thermometer to measure your water’s heat.
For steeping time, I start puer sessions at fifteen seconds (after the first rinse), and oolong sessions at 30 seconds (I start higher here to give the leaf a chance to open up). After the first steep, I progressively add more time until the session is done. It’s personal preference at this point, but just keep tacking on time until you reach a thickness that you like. If the tea is too strong, then decrease the time and if the tea is too weak, then increase the time. You see, there’s not really a right or wrong answer here because it all depends on how you like it. Just remember to try and have fun with it and make it your own.
Can you western steep puer tea? -Cassie
In my personal experience, shou puer tastes excellent when made western style. For those of you who don’t already know, western style is usually just brewing tea in a mug with an infuser or a tea bag. Anyhow — sheng puer doesn’t taste very good this way and never really comes out as expected. I’m sure that there are some people that enjoy sheng puer brewed western style (God forbid), but for me, sheng puer is very complex and comes out beautifully when made gong-fu style. Since sheng puer is typically more expensive, I wouldn't necessarily want to spend a lot of money on a tea if I couldn't get the most out of it.
-The Oolong Drunk
“Blissfully Tea Drunk"