Oolong Tea is the only category that is also a variety of tea. It is its unique processing technique that gives this type of tea its own category. The fragrance and aromas of these teas are delicate and wonderful. Oolong, which means Black Dragon, is unique in that it combines Green Tea's finishing techniques and Dark Tea's fermentation. It is this combination that makes Oolong such a wonderful tea. The teas maintain the wonderful freshness of Green Tea and the robust flavor and long aftertaste of Dark Tea. Most of this type of teas’ leaves is green in the middle and red near the edges. The redness comes from the fermentation process and is unique amongst tea types. One of the most famous varieties of this tea is Tie Guanyin (Iron Goddess) Tea and High Mountain Oolong. These teas have wonderful legends surrounding them and their histories are quite interesting.
White, Yellow, and Green Teas are picked early in the spring, but this category of tea is pick relatively late. It is not picked until April or May. It is picked later in the season to ensure that the leaves are larger, which makes them durable enough for the rigors of processing. The later picking also allows the leaves to have more aromatic oils which are brought out by the processing techniques, especially oxidation. These oils give the tea its wonderful aroma and flavor. The pickers look for three or four fresh open leaves when picking. The processing techniques used are different depending on the region that the tea comes from, but they follow the same basic techniques. After the fresh leaves are picked, they
are left out in the sun to wither for a few hours. When the Tea Master has decided that the leaves have the right amount of pliability, they are brought indoors and laid out on large bamboo trays in a temperature controlled room to oxidize. The leaves continue to wither as they are oxidized. When the tea has reached the proper amount of oxidation, the tea is exposed to heat to stop the oxidization. The tea is then shaped and roasted to dry it. Many different types have different shapes. They will be described in our Types of Oolong Tea page. The link is below. The processing technique is very complex and labor intensive. The different stages of processing are determined by smell and this takes many years of study before a Tea Master possesses the skills necessary to craft exquisite tea. There is a variety of Tea known as Formosa Oolong, or Roasted Oolong. When a Tea Master discovers that a particular batch of leaves are particularly robust, they will choose to roast the tea. This results in a tea that can actually be stored almost indefinately and will improve with age. Its flavors and aroma change dramtically and some of the older teas are extremely valuable. This type of Oolong is crafted in Taiwan and is quite rare and difficult to find.
Purchasing Oolong Tea
Oolong tea has a shelf life of approximately 18 months and only if stored properly. After that time it starts to lose its flavor and aroma. It is important that the tea you are purchasing comes from a reputable dealer to ensure that your tea is new. If purchasing your tea in a tea shop ask to sample the tea before you choose to sample it. Any tea shop should be more than happy to give you samples of tea. If they do not wish to let you try it, there must be some reason and it would be safer to avoid purchasing the tea from them. Look at the tea to ensure that it looks attractive and does not have a lot of broken leaves. If the leaves are broken, or look inconsistent, the tea is probably of poor quality. The tea should have a wonderful aroma and the flavor should leave a long lasting after taste. Most importantly you should like the taste and aroma of the tea you are considering purchasing. If the dealer tells you the tea is rare and wonderful, but you don't like the taste, then it isn't wonderful for you. Use your own judgement. If purchasing your tea online, make sure that you are purchasing from a reputable dealer that guarantees his products. It is important that the online dealer purchases his teas directly from the producers. This will ensure that the tea is fresh and of high quality.
Storing Oolong Tea
Tea must be stored properly to ensure it will give you the same wonderful flavor and aroma as when you purchased it. the tea will come in a vacuum sealed bag. The tea should be put into your refrigerator until you open the bag. Before opening the bag, let it warm to room temperature to stop condensation from forming on the tea leaves. Once you have opened the bag, the tea should be stored in an air-tight container with as little air as possible. We recommend you keep it in a bag and while sealing it squeeze out as much air as possible. The bag can then be stored in a cool, dry, and odor free environment. A nice option is to keep the bag of tea inside of a nice container. For Roasted Oolongs, the tea should be stored in an airtight container with as little remaining air as possible. If kept dry and in a cool environment, this tea will last for many years and will improve with age.
Enjoying the Tea
Oolong Tea has a wonderful flavor that swirls around the mouth and causes you to salivate. The flavor and aroma is long lasting and gives a wonderful feeling. We feel that it is important when enjoying Oolong Tea, or any kind of Chinese Tea, that you stop what you're doing and truly enjoy the tea you are drinking, even if for a minute. Our lives are so hectic and fast paced. Tea is a great way to bring it to a screeching halt and for a moment in time everything fades away and you have a moment of peace. Chad, Men Chun and myself all drink tea while at the office. Even when we have a pile of work to do and are rushing around, we still stop for a cup of tea. We all have tea sets on our desks, so we can brew tea while working. It helps us slow down and relieves the stress in our lives. This is the magic of tea.
Types of Oolong Tea
There are dozens of varieties of Oolong Tea. Here we will discuss the more famous ones. This type of tea in particular has wonderful legends and histories. We will share them with you. We feel that these are very interesting and can add to the whole tea experience. Click the link below to learn more about these fantastic teas and their stories.
Click here to learn more about these Teas
How to Brew Oolong Tea
There are different ways to brew Oolong Tea. Some of the Chinese Tea ceremonies and tools used are exquisite and elegent, but the tea can also be brewed in a simple manner to enjoy in the office or when you just want a quick cup of tea. We will show you different ways to brew the tea and the tools used.
Click here to learn how to brew Oolong Tea
Oolong Tea Health Benefits
Recent scientific research has shown that this type of tea has many health benefits. It seems like the ancient Chinese were onto something. This tea is good for blood pressure and can even be used in cancer prevention.
Click here to learn more about the benefits of Oolong Tea
Oolong Tea for Sale
We have a fantastic variety of Oolong Tea for sale at our shop. Oolong Tea is one of Scott's favorites and so he has personally sourced some of the best teas available. Since the tea has a shelf life, some of the teas are available only seasonally. We also have a variety of Roasted Oolong Tea. This unique tea is quite wonderful. We refuse to sell old teas or teas of lesser quality. We are extremely particular about the teas we drink. If we wouldn't drink it, we wouldn't sell it. We would rather lose money than lose your trust.
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For the finest Oolong Tea available, visit our Tea Shop