Apr 23, 2010

Gongfu vs. mug brewing (3) Oriental Beauty (Bai Hao Oolong)

Introduction and index of these experiment series of Gongfu vs. mug brewing is here.

I've taken some mug brewing tasting notes at Steepster.

So far I've done mug brewing for 2 Oriental Beauty products I have. Here are the dry tea leaves, with Superior (higher) Grade on the top.

I think, this tea is perfect for mug brewing! The mug is great for the optimal brewing leaf:water ratio of this tea. And tea leaves of Oriental Beauty seem very forgiving and cope with of long infusions very well. Besides, there is no problem for all the leaves to sink to the bottom, which makes drinking from a mug easy and convenient. 

The two Oriental Beauty products have slightly different styles. The Superior Grade product (by the way  it's my favorite Oriental Beauty so far, and was reviewed by Eric in Tea Finely Brewed) has slightly larger leaves, and the flavor leans more toward sweet, floral and honey, while the other one feels warmer with deeper spicy, cinnamon aroma. Both of them performed really well in mug brewing. Unlike some of my other mug brewing experience, I feel these products are not short changed by mug brewing at all. I guess the reason is, Gongfu brewing is mostly for large amount of leaves and shorter infusion time, which is not essential for Oriental Beauty. When Gongfu-brewing Oriental Beauty, I would use more leaves than in mug-brewing, but still not as many leaves as when I brew most other oolongs. In most oolong Gongfu-brewing, my teapot or gaiwan ends up loosely filled with leaves. But I prefer using less tea for Oriental Beauty. Still, Gongfu-brewing will yield more infusions. But even in mug-brewing, both of these two products can easily give more than 3-4 infusions. 

If I arbitrarily assign a grade A for this tea in gongfu brewing, then I will give mug brewing an A as well.

Will I mug brew it again? - Sure I will. Recently more and more often, I take a glass mug with loose tea and a small thermal pot to meetings. I enjoy the tea, and enjoy having people curiously stare my tea, or even curiously ask for a sip! I mostly use a mug for Chinese green tea, but realizing the convenience of carrying a mug everywhere, I am now even more motivated to discover more teas with mug-brewing potential.

Will I recommend mug brewing of this tea to other people? - Definitely! Besides, I would recommend Oriental Beauty to all the black tea lovers. In my eyes, Oriental Beauty has many favorable characteristics of black tea. Actually I am often feel a little puzzled this is not called a "black tea". Oriental Beauty is basically a oolong, made with oolong processing method. But on the other hand, with >60-80% oxidation, it almost can be called a black tea!


FamilyAndTea said...

Oriental Beauty = Dong Fang Mei Ren (東方美人) lit. Eastern Beauty. Great article! I drink my tea in a mmug all the time. Very convenient at work or when one is busy :)

Gingko said...

Zai Rai, your blog is beautiful! Hope to see you writing more!

photograph mugs said...

your blog very nice.fantastic work.i drink my green tea always light.