The fresh-tasting leaves are unroasted giving a green, slightly mineral note, with a long-lasting sweetness, reminiscent of crème anglaise. The second infusion reveals a hint of fresh pea sprouts.
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:
In 1996 the Zealong Estate imported rigorously-selected tea cuttings from the best tea growing regions across Asia.
Over 1,500 seedlings were imported yet only 130 survived the rigorous New Zealand quarantine regulations. Through careful propagation these now flourish in the fertile soil and clean air.
The Zealong Tea Estate’s home is the Waikato region in Hamilton, New Zealand. Hamilton is renowned for its fog and this plays a key role in ensuring the tea bushes maintain the perfect level of moisture to thrive.
Gentle sunshine, and abundant rainfall
This climate is the gift that keeps on giving; abundant rainfall, ideal temperatures with the right amount of sunshine and free-draining acidic soil.