Oolong Tea Types
Oolong tea, or Wu Long as it is sometimes written, is a broad category of semi-fermented teas. Oolong is produced around the world, though the great majority of famous Oolong teas are from China.
Oolong tea can endure repeated infusions; up to eight times, though the third or fourth infusions are considered the best. Top-grade Oolong tea will bring a marvellous and enduring after taste into your month, combined with alluring aromas.
Oolong refers to teas which are partly oxidised i.e. somewhere between a green tea and a black tea. Oolong tea can range from very lightly oxidised, green Oolongs such as Qing Xiang Tie Guan Yin
, through to heavily oxidised teas which many would call black tea. Wu Yi rock teas
are good examples of these dark oolongs. Among the many Rock Oolong teas available Da Hong Pao, Shui Xian, Tie Luo Han are some of the more well know.
Oxidisation, sometimes referred to as fermentation, is the process of exposing the picked leaf to air. For many Oolong teas this process is accompanied with rolling in order to break and damage the leaf's cells walls thereby exposing more surface area to air and increasing the level of oxidisation.
Oolong is likely to have been originally brought in to wide spread usage by the earlier Western travellers to China who did not have a standardised system of writing Chinese. Phonetically the pronunciation Oo is probably the most accurate. The variation, Wu Long, arises from the translation from the Chinese system of characters in to our Western Romanised alphabet.
The current system of Romanisation used on the mainland of China is called Pin Yin which has been used since 1958 and was internationally accepted in the early 1980's. Using Pin yin, then the correct translation is wu long or black dragon tea. To be precise, Wu means black as a raven.
Besides some supplementary tea wares, the main tea tools
used to prepare Oolong tea
are a kettle, teapot or gaiwan and teacups. To make Oolong tea in a very traditional way, which is still practised in Taiwan and parts of China, two more tools are needed: a cup for smelling the fragrance and a 'gongdao mug' (a fair for everybody mug).
The fair for everybody mug earns its name as it ensures that every guest drinks Oolong tea with the same concentration, same aroma and same colour. We have also prepared a more detailed explanation of the 'Traditional GongFu tea' method
on our 'Making Tea
The famous areas for Oolong production are in TaiWan, FuJian
and GuangDong. Among these the Fujian province regions of An Xi and Wu Yi Shan (mountain) are the most well known and widely consumed.
We have prepared dedicated pages on the famous Oolong teas of the WuYi mountains and AnXi county's Tie Guan Yin.
GuangDong - Feng Huang Dan Cong
Feng Huang Dan Cong Oolong is one of the most famous teas from southern China's Guang Dong province. Bred specially over centuries, the Feng Huang mountain tea plant variety has been hybridised in to a tree with a single trunk, unlike traditional China tea plants which are a bush with multiple shoots. Allowed to grow in to trees which can be over 3m Feng Huang Dan Cong has an unique depth of flavour, which is accentuated by a fuller oxidisation to produce a dark dried leaf.
Sections In Oolong Tea Types
Tie-Guan-Yin (TGY) is the most famous of AnXi county's Oolong teas. Tie Guan Yin's complex process of rolling during oxidisation forms tight pellets of tea
with a complex range of flavours which slowly emerge when brewed.
Traditionally Tie Guan Y...
WuYi Oolong Tea, is a category in it's own right. Not only are they many names to describe teas from the WuYi mountain region including WuYi cliff oolong tea, WuYi rock tea or Yan Cha. The category is made up of hundreds of tea plant cultivars and ...