Oolong Tea

Tea plantation with hut

 

Oolong tea originated during the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907) in China’s southern Fujian province, where it quickly won esteem. An oolong was the first tea to be named a Tribute Tea, the regal custom by which the emperor selected tea regions to produce tea gifts for the royal court.The name means “dark dragon,” and indeed this category of tea is as changeable and enigmatic as its mythical namesake. Produced in southern China and Taiwan, this semi-oxidized beauty bridges the gap between green and black teas, with oxidation levels ranging dramatically from around 10% (very green) to 70% (heavily oxidized). Along with this variance comes a broad spectrum of aromas and flavors, from sweet, floral and fruity notes to complex, slightly bitter aromas.

 

Oolong Tea Monkey Picked

 Produced through a unique process that includes withering under the sun, bruising, carefully controlled oxidation, and a final heat treatment to halt the tea’s blackening, the leaves are twisted into long, curled tendrils or rolled into eye-catching little beads that unfurl upon infusion. An ultimate firing adds that last final touch of flavor. image credits: Manu M G / Farrukh / Toby Oxborrow Oolong leaves