It certainly is confusing when you research tips for the correct brewing method for the various types of tea. There can be wide differences even among tea experts especially regarding the quantity of tea leaves, the volume of water, and the brewing time. You will often read as part of brewing instructions, "adjust to taste". So if you are new to tea, prepare to learn the meaning of patience as you experiment with each tea to discover the ideal combinations that produce the flavor you desire. For Oolong tea, suggested brewing methods vary widely, from Fill the bottom of the teapot with 1/4 to 1/3 tea leaves then fill teapot with water and brew for 50 seconds ... to ... Fill the pot with one teaspoon for each 8ozs of water then fill teapot with water and brew for 5 minutes. QED's brewing suggestion follows ...
Oolong teas are best when prepared like green teas. Their delicate nature will be destroyed by water that is too hard or too hot. Filtered water or spring water that is not too heavy will produce the best cup. Water that is too hot will cook the delicate leaves and render an inferior-tasting, astringent cup. The ideal water temperature is between 175 and 180 degrees Fahrenheit; you can easily obtain this temperature by bringing water to a boil, then removing it from its heat source and letting it sit for about 1 minute. Add 1 rounded teaspoon of tea per 6 ounces of water in a cup or teapot. Give the tea leaves a rinse before brewing. All tea goes from the fields to your cup without being washed because exposure to water ruins the tea. So a quick rinse to remove the dust from its long journey is much appreciated. Add just enough water to completely cover leaves, let sit for 5 - 10 seconds, discard the water. If you're using a teapot with a built-in strainer you'll want to discard the water slowly so tea leaves do not get caught in the strainer. Then fill pot with water and steep the tea for 2 minutes and 30 seconds. Future brewings, adjust to taste. Remember, fine tea, like a fine wine or a fine coffee, is meant to be savored ... enjoyed for itself.
In Taiwan the most common way to make oolong tea is Gong Fu style. It is a more elaborate, therefore lengthy, way of making oolong tea. Click here to read about this style of tea making. For QED, the less elaborate method described above is more practical. Regardless of what method appeals to you, you still need to experiment with quantity of tea and brewing time. As a general rule, the more tea you use, the shorter the initial brewing time. For each subsequent brewing of the same leaves you will want to increase brewing time.