Oolong Tea

How is Oolong Tea Processed?

An Oolong is neither green tea nor black tea, it is a unique product from the same tea plant (Camellia Sinensis).

The difference is in how the tea is processed…..

Processing starts soon after tea flushes are harvested. Oolong teas are dried in the sun at higher temperatures and for longer durations compared to green and black teas. After an initial drying phase, the flushes are bruised by tossing them in a basket, and left for a while to oxidize a little bit. Then the leaves are heated in a pan, rolled into pieces and dried further in a machine. Finally, it is heated briefly again to produce Oolong.

All tea leaves contain certain enzymes, which produce a chemical reaction called oxidation. Oxidation is what turns the green tea leaves into a deep black color.  Green tea is not allowed to oxidize much, but black tea is allowed to oxidize until it turns black. Oolong tea is somewhere in between the two, so it is partially oxidized.  This partial oxidation is responsible for oolong tea's color and characteristic taste

However, the color of the leaves can vary between different brands, ranging from green to dark brown.

Different Kinds of Oolong

There are different varieties of Oolong tea depending on the processing methods used, cultivar used and region of origin. Oolong Tea is a type of traditional Chinese tea made from tea cultivars that only grow in certain areas in China and Taiwan. The unique processing methods and origin sets Oolong apart from other kinds of tea.

There is also two different leaf styles.  One is tightly rolled and the other is a full leaf style.

How to Prepare Oolong Tea

To brew a perfect cup of oolong tea, use 1 tsp (2 grams) of Oolong tea per cup. The temperature of the water must be 90°C – (195°F). Higher quality tea is steeped for less time than lower quality ones; steeping times range from 3-10 minutes for multiply steeps.

Oolong tea tastes great even when steeped multiple times. Unlike other kinds of tea, the taste and aroma of Oolong tea improves with repeated brewing times. Tea experts consider third and fourth brew the best. Oolong tea is best served on a specialized clay teaware, notably Yixing Tea Pot from China.

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