The first infusion has a succulent sweetness with later infusions leading to green floral notes. Each time you infuse the leaves different subtleties are revealed.
A gaiwan is the ultimate way to enjoy your oolong tea. Used in China since the Ming dynasty (over 900 years ago), gaiwans are unassuming but beautifully functional teapots that can be used to explore tea to its fullest – the following method can be used to make up to six infusions.
Start with 4-6g of oolong tea and pop it in the gaiwan teapot. Boil a kettle to 212°F/100°C, then pour an inch of the water on the leaf for a few seconds, and discard this liquid. This "wash" softens the rolled leaf and allows the water to penetrate.
Fill the gaiwan with the hot water to just below the rim, infuse for 5-10 seconds and strain completely into your cup or a jug. There's no need to reheat the water as you go, because the softened leaves will require lower temperatures to release their flavours - but you will need to extend the time to 10-20 seconds for later steeps. We recommend at least six infusions to allow the leaf to completely open out and reveal all its beauty.
For a more comprehensive guide to using a gaiwan see our full guide here.
Here is a short video demonstrating how to get the most out of your precious oolong leaves with a gaiwan:
Oolong tea is the favourite tea of China. It originated in the Fujian Province, where it is thought that it was first produced at Mt Wu Yi Shan at the end of the Ming dynasty.
It lies artfully between the categories of green and black teas- sometimes called a blue tea. There are as many grades of oolong as there are fine wines.
Sweet & Savoury
The flavours go wonderfully with both sweet and savoury food. The most exciting pairing we have made is with cheese. With the exception of ripe French soft cheese and blue cheeses this oolong enhances almost any cheese board. Please try it. You'll be amazed.