Oolong – the tea in-between
Let me tell you a bit more about Oolong. If you have one of our Oolongs at home, I invite you to make yourself a cup of tea to drink while reading.
Oolong is the name for the teas that are in-between green, no oxidation, and black, oxidated tea. What does oxidation mean? When you pick a fresh leave, it starts to oxidate the moment the leave is broken and the liquid meets air. To avoid this, green tea leaves are woked, roasted or vaporated right after being picked. If you on the contrary want to emphasize the oxidation process, the leaves can be massaged, twisted or rolled. Oolong is therefor a semi-oxidised tea. There is a whole range of different semi-oxidations. Tie Guan Yin is less oxidized and more like green tea than Da Hong Pao which is darker, yet not as dark as black tea.
Oolong means black dragon in Chinese. There are different stories of the oolong origin, both of them based on a mistake of leaving freshly picked green tea leaves to oxidate by themselves. One tea farmer got scared away by a black snake (dragon) while picking his tea and when he came back a couple of days later, the tea leaves had oxidised in the sun. He still used them and discovered the beauty in semi-oxidized tea. The same goes for the farmer who was distracted by a deer. He started hunting it and forgot about his fresh tea leaves until the day after.
I invite you to look closer at the tea leaves of our Da Hong Pao. They are big, twisted, dark, almost black. With a tiny bit of imagination you will see a black dragon. When you pour hot water on the top, you will see how the dragon comes alive. Look at the leaves. Imagine.
The leaves that are picked for Oolong are bigger leaves, later in the season during summer, and growing further in, around the 3rd or 4th leave in, instead of the freshest bud. Then they are twisted, rolled or massaged depending on which Oolong is created. It is all about breaking the cells to get the oxidation going and stopping it at the right moment. This is considered the art of perfection.
The light oxidation makes the tea rounder, softer and more flowery in taste than green tea, more nutty and earthy than black tea.
All Oolong teas are perfect to drink with a meal, either warm or made into ice tea. You can use the tea leaves over and over and discover a range of tastes, the second serving is usually considered the best.
Discover how our Da Hong Pao leaves are twisted and how our Tie Guan Yin are massaged into almost round balls. When you pour the hot water over the leaves, notice how they grow big, how their full leaves are coming alive.
Notice the color of the tea, Tie Guan Yin a light green color and Da Hong Pao darker. Smell the differences, the light fresh smell and the dark earthy smell. The same leaves can offer such a difference in character, just because of less or more of the oxidation. Discover the differences in shape, smell and taste, and enjoy!