Having an oolong tea come in a mesh sachet (which Adagio calls a pyramid) is great, because that’s certainly the easiest way to save an oolong for a second steeping. No need to keep a whole infuser tied up with holding the leaves – the mesh sachet is as good as any infuser. I’ve said before and I’ll say it again, that I would defy even most tea experts to tell the difference between whole leaves in a mesh sachet, properly brewed, and loose leaves in an infuser.
On the first steeping, this is a medium-colored brew, with an earthy flavor – a bit mushroom-y, a bit nutty. Not too green, not too dark, as smooth as an oolong should be. One of the surprises of this tea was that the second steeping had a spicy note to it that wasn’t there in the first steeping. The brew was a bit lighter in color, and had a milder taste for the most part – not as earthy – but that spiciness was there, quite entertaining, and all the more reason to be happy that it’s so easy to save mesh sachets for second steepings.
Adagio says about this tea:
Oolong tea from the WuYi mountains in Fujian province, China. A beautifully made, deeply complex tea. The aroma is very rich and savory, roasted vegetables, minerally and earthy. There’s a deep, ripe fruitness in the background, but faintly. The flavor is slightly honey-floral and nutty, white sesame, sweetened burdock root (fans of Japanese sweets, anyone?), barley. Satisfying and hearty, for a tea. Perfect for multiple infusions so you can tease out many layers of intriguing flavor
One thing I have to note here: the wrapper for each sachet has brewing instructions, and it says 212 degrees F/100 degrees C for 5 minutes. However, if you want a second steeping, it’s not a good idea to pour boiling water over an oolong – you want to keep it a bit under that. I suggest that the temperature for the first steeping be somewhere between 200 degrees F and 208 – or, if you don’t have a tea thermometer, when you take the kettle off the heat, let it stand for 10 seconds or so before pouring the water. Or, my own heuristic for getting water the right temperature, pour boiling water into your empty cup, then throw in one small ice cube. Voila, the temperature is right for oolong. (For green tea, which should definitely never be boiled, throw in two ice cubes.) For the second steeping, use water at 200 degrees/one ice cube below boiling, and steep for about 7 minutes instead of five.
Adagio also sells this tea as a loose leaf tea. The cost per cup is a bit less for the loose leaf – but if the convenience of the sachets means that you would get around to more second steeping than you do with loose tea, the effective price per cup would go down!