Brewing Bai Hao (Oriental Beauty)

Semi-oxidized tea
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Tillerman
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Mon Mar 01, 2021 12:48 pm

I have been experimenting with times and temperatures for brewing OB and have some early observations. When I brew with cooler water than is usual for most oolongs (185 ℉ or 85 ℃) and give a longer steeping time (60 sec. first steep) I get a tea that brings out the bug bitten notes more more clearly and enjoyably. I am brewing in a 150ml thin porcelain gaiwan using 9g of tea (6g/100ml).

How do you brew your OB? Let's compare notes.
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Victoria
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Mon Mar 01, 2021 2:55 pm

Yes, likewise I’m brewing OB at around 185-195F (85-88C) slightly lower temperature helps to bring out more complexity and sweet bug bitten notes. Also, I find water with lower TDS is best, too much hardnes and high mineral count seems to bring out tannic notes. @pedant did a side-by-side comparison of various OB at different price points with interesting results a while ago. At that time I posted using 195F but since then have lowered my temperature slightly 6g/230ml/185-190F/2min. I see I’m using less leaf/more water/longer time than you, with good results as well.
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Tillerman
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Mon Mar 01, 2021 3:04 pm

Thanks for the info @Victoria. @pedant, can you post tour comparative notes again?
oeroe
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Mon Mar 01, 2021 10:55 pm

One my my most memorable tea sessions was drinking a boiled baihao oolong. It was like thick velvet, smooth and sweet.

Just throwing this in as an anecdote, baihao seems to like very different approaches.
Ethan Kurland
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Tue Mar 02, 2021 5:11 am

oeroe wrote:
Mon Mar 01, 2021 10:55 pm
One my my most memorable tea sessions was drinking a boiled baihao oolong. It was like thick velvet, smooth and sweet.

Just throwing this in as an anecdote, baihao seems to like very different approaches.
+1 to different approaches. Good to read every post of this thread! I'll add that I had some excellent OB for about 2 1/2 years which seemed to change over time which forced me to change my preparation to get the most out of it.
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Bok
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Tue Mar 02, 2021 5:32 am

For me I’d echo a mellower approach to Oriental beauty. I’ve found lighter brewing, be it with lower leaf ratio or lower temperatures to yield more pleasant results. I’m not the biggest fan of this kind of tea and the lighter approach made some of the aspects I dislike about OB less prominent.

Having said that most OB I had was brewed in a bowl and ladled into the cup. Mostly 3-5 at a time, going back and fourth in between them to see the differences unfold over the course of time. Reason being that these teas are usually out of the price range I’m willing to spend and I have them during tea gatherings with friends when they are sampling them for purchase.
DailyTX
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Tue Mar 02, 2021 1:59 pm

OB is one of the teas I enjoy on a late night after a long work day. I haven’t had much success on finding OB at my local tea shops in the last 1-2 years. I remember the last time I saw it available it was around 2018-2019, and the price was quite high. In the last 2 years, I have been slowly consuming an aged OB that was a surprise find. Long story short, OB’s Chinese name is Bai Hao, which not many people in the US know. A different local tea shop imported a bag of OB 10+ years ago and it’s sitting in a box as no one was looking for it. The owner had no intent to import more, so it was nicely discounted :lol:
For the past 2 years, I brew this OB in a 100ml modern zhuni pot. I didn’t measure quantity of leaves or water temperature. I just eyeball it that the leaves cover the base of the pot. As for water, once my kettle hits boiling, and the water has settled, I do a quick rinse then brew the OB. Anyone has recommendation on online sellers?
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Victoria
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Tue Mar 02, 2021 3:23 pm

DailyTX wrote:
Tue Mar 02, 2021 1:59 pm
Anyone has recommendation on online sellers?
There are different grades and price points. You might review pedant’s and my post to read a comparison of three different grades of OB. Besides Taiwan Tea Crafts, and Té Company, I’ve also enjoyed Floating Leaves OB.

I remember with an OB I had from Floating Leaves Shiuwen recommended very hot water. I also used a lot of leaf 12gr/150ml/just under boil/80sec. With so much leaf:water, and those particular leaves, I was able to go +-15 rounds with very rich flavor still coming through. Posted about it in 2016.
DailyTX
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Tue Mar 02, 2021 3:43 pm

Victoria wrote:
Tue Mar 02, 2021 3:23 pm
DailyTX wrote:
Tue Mar 02, 2021 1:59 pm
Anyone has recommendation on online sellers?
There are different grades and price points. You might review pedant’s and my post to read a comparison of three different grades of OB. Besides Taiwan Tea Crafts, and Té Company, I’ve also enjoyed Floating Leaves OB.
@Victoria
I should have guessed haha, like all teas which breaks down to grade and reputation that drive the price. I don’t think I have in depth knowledge on what I am looking for in OB, so I am mainly interested in knowing vendors ideally in the US which I can get samples for tasting. I’ll take a look at the ones you sampled ;)
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tjkdubya
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Mon Mar 08, 2021 1:39 am

Cool thread. Informative reading about different approaches. It's a good reminder to try different approaches once in a while. Sometimes it's hard for me to get out of assessment mode and try lower than usual temperatures to see different sides of teas...
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