tips to steep Oolong tea the best way

4 Things I learnt from the Taiwanese Tea House

One of the MOST significant highlights of my trip to Taiwan was learning about Chinese teas (i.e. how to drink tea without activating the caffeine etc) 🙂

In the city of Tai Chung, we visited a tea house where we sampled several types of Oolong Teas grown in the highlands as Taiwan is particularly famous for their Oolong Teas 🙂 If only I got to visit the actual tea plantation but as it was soo cold in Taiwan, the cold weather and snow had damaged majority of the tea plantation. Maybe next time!

1. How genuine are your tea leaves? Hmm..

It makes sense to choose your loose tea leaves based on how fragrant it is, right? Well, apparently not! The fragrance is the no. 1 indication that synthetic tea fragrances have been added to the tea leaves. Follow these 3 simple methods to test for genuine tea:

  • Smell tea leaves should not smell like tea (but rather does not have a fragrance at all)
  • Eattea leaves should not taste like tea (but rather have a bitter, earthy flavour)
  • Steep tea leaves in a mineral water bottle then shake for 1 minute  only very little bubbles should be formed and the bubbles should dissolve within 1-2 minutes (if it doesn’t, then it means that preservatives have been added)

Bet the first two was a shocker 😉 Easy peasy!

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The tea gurus vacuum pack the teas to prevent the Oolong Tea from losing its fragrance. The tea leaves were what we sampled to learn how to differentiate genuine and non-genuine tea! And yes, I ate it!

 

2. Tea caffeine, no longer your worst enemy

Thankfully, unlike most people, I sleep like a baby despite how much tea I drink at night. But for many of you who are sensitive to caffeine, there’s a solution – make your own cold brewed tea 😀 This way, there is no heat to extract the caffeine from the leaves.

Method:

  • Soak the tea leaves in cold water for at least 5 hours
  • Strain out the tea leaves and the cold brewed tea can be kept up to 3 days
  • Enjoy!

P.S. Do not drink the cold brewed tea after 3 days (It will turn sour and sticky) & Do not heat up the cold brewed tea (It will lose its flavour)

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Left: The yellow tea leaves (steeped in hot water) indicate that caffeine has been released. Right: The vibrant green tea leaves (steeped in cold water) denote that caffeine is still retained inside the leaves. So for people sensitive to caffeine, you want your tea leaves to remain green 🙂

3. Highland tea is healthier

Because there are less insects due to the cool to cold weather up in the mountains, tea farmers don’t have the need to spray insecticides and hence, there are less chemicals being released in the steeping process.

How to test for real highland tea? Eat a piece of dry highland tea leaves, then drink a cup of water. If the water tastes especially sweet, it’s real highland tea! 🙂

4. Drinking tea – a mindful practice

I’ll admit. I struggle with this. I love tea so much I usually just bottoms-up it all! The art of drinking tea is actually meant to be a very calming and mindful experience.

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The long & short tea cups used in the preparation and presentation of tea drinking have their own unique roles.

In the tea house, the hot tea was poured into the tall tea cup and then turned over into the short tea cup. The tea gurus recommended to enjoy the fragrant aroma of the tea from the tea cup and roll the hot tea cup on the palms of your hands (to keep warm, I think). When drinking tea, the tea gurus advise that we hold and swirl the tea in our mouths for a few seconds. The tea actually tastes better and more fragrant – try it.

I’m really happy to have been able to learn more about Chinese tea with my papa who is just as big a Chinese tea addict as me, if not more ❤

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Papa and I with the biggest bag of tea I’ve ever seen 🙂

Hope you enjoyed the tips!

Xx

GK

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