The same tea leaves can produce different tea according to different tea making process. Each method of preparation provides an individual taste. In order to ensure the quality of high mountain Oolong tea, here are a few pointers to note.
Always condition the tea leaves by first doing a quick "rinse" of the leaves and discarding the water. Use near boiling water (between 90°C and 100°C) so we don't burn the leaves. If possible use a pitcher to hold the tea as you continue your second or third brew. This helps "smooth" out the tea and provides a more rounded taste.
The aroma indicates the pureness of the tea and is an important part of savouring the tea. In the traditional gongfu tea ceremony, a dedicated aroma "sniffing" cup is used just for this purpose. The colour also plays an important role in appreciating tea. Look for the translucent shine in the brewed tea. I often use a clear glass cup just so I can admire the rich and soothing colour. So remember to do this step before taking your first sip! Your enjoyment of the tea will be greatly enhanced.
Having tasted the tea and observed the colour, the last thing is to examine the tea leaves to assess their quality, freshness and tenderness. Good high mountain tea leaves are comprised of the complete stem end of the branch with 3 or 4 leaves attached.
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