Oolong in Chinese, means "Black Dragon". Oolong teas are partially fermented (oxidized). There are green oolongs (about 20-30% oxidized), and black oolongs (about 65% oxidized). This means that oolongs can have a very wide range of flavours, and meets in the middle between black tea drinkers and green tea drinkers.
Perhaps the most well-known for their oolong teas is Taiwan, although China, Japan, Korea, andNew Zealand also produce great oolong teas.
Brewing Oolong Tea:
Oolongs fall on a spectrum between green and black teas. It depends on how close to green or black tea a particular oolong is will determine how it should be brewed. In general, Taiwanese oolongs will be more similar to black tea, and Chinese oolongs will resemble green tea.
Oolong teas that are more similar to green teas should have a shorter steeping time, somewhere around the 2 minute mark, while oolongs closer to black tea should steep longer, around the 4 minute mark. It's also important to consider how tightly rolled the tea leaves are. Tightly rolled or balled up oolongs like jade oolongs may need to steep for a few extra seconds to allow the leaves to open up and expose their leaf surfaces to the air.
Oolongs have a lot of variability in temperatures, but usually hover within ten dregrees either side of 80 celsius.
Allow your oolong tea to steep anywhere between 2 and 4 minutes. Depending on the level of fermentation and rolling technique this can change.
+ Ali Shan
Taiwan. Ali Shan is a region in Taiwan. It's considered to have a mild creamy flavour.
+ Dan Cong
Chinese. This tea comes from the Guangdong province of China. It's known for its ability to absorb whatever flavour its paired with. For this reason it's rare to find Dan Cong not combined with another herb, floral, or fruit. What makes this variety unique is its growth pattern. Instead of forming a thick bush like most tea varieties, it rises up on one long stem before branching out at the top.
+ Formosa Bai Hao
Taiwanese. This oolong is quite possibly the most similar oolong there is to black tea. It's heavily fermented, and offers a rich, mildly spicy brew. It's rare and highly sought after by oolong and black tea drinkers alike.
+ Huangjin Gui
Chinese. Huangjin Gui Means "Yellow golden flower". This refers to the light golden color it produces during the brewing process. This variety originally came from the Fujian province, but is now grown in other areas as well.
+ Shui Xian
Chinese. Means "water sprite". This tea comes from the Wuyi mountains of China.
+ Si Ji Chun
Taiwanese. This tea comes from the nantou region of Taiwan. It's grown at very high altitudes, which brings with it a rich character and high value.
+ Jin Xuan (Taiwanese Milk Oolong)
Chinese. This tea is grown in the Fujian province in China. It has characteristic creamy flavour and texture, making it highly sought after for tea manufacturers looking to add more texture to their tea blends. Jin Xuan is commonly mixed with sweetened crea, and pineapple to compliment its flavour.
+ Tie Guan Yin
Chinese. Named after the Iron godess of Mercy (Guanyin). This tea is produced in both China and Taiwan, and is one of the famous of the oolong teas. The traditional brewing method is the gongfu style, using pottery teapots, and tiny cups. It's mainly grown on the high mountains in the Fujian province of China, where it's believed that monks used to use trained monkies to do the dangerous harvesting of the teas leaves.
Chinese. Wuyi comes from the Wuyi mountains in China. It has a unique smokey flavour due to the method used to process the leaves. Instead of being pan-fried like most Chinese teas, Wuyi is roasted. Roasting is responsible for a chemical reaction known as the Maillard reaction. This is characteristic for anything with a roasted flavour including meat and coffee. During this process, a chemical reaction between amino acids and reducing sugars produces a characteristic aroma and browned color. This gives Wuyi hints of caramel and honey.