Oolong tea is a partially fermented tea. The process of making oolong tea is consider being the most exquisite and refined tea-making technique. Oolong tea combines the mellow sweetness of black tea and the fresh fragrance of green tea. From the point of the Yin-Yang theory, green tea is more yin, black tea is more yang. Oolong tea being in-between, is the most balance variety of tea, harmonizing both yin and yang qualities.
The oolong tea making process includes withering, fermenting, kill-green, kneading, and roasting. This complicated process allows for the creation of a range of subtle, deep flavors and aromas. The aromas can range from flowery to fruity, from nutty to woody, and even a honey quality. It is possible to produce complex blends of bitterness, sweetness, and astringency, allowing for the creation of a great variety of tea. The most distinctive feature of oolong tea is the lingering aftertaste, which is less noticeable in either green tea or black tea. Thus, oolong tea is the favor of a true tea connoisseur.
Most oolong is produced in Taiwan, and the Fujian province in China. Da Hong Pao and Tie Guan Yinare the most well-known tea from Fujian province. The best oolong tea is produced in the high mountains of Taiwan. It includes: Day Yu Ling, Li Shan, Ali Shan, Shan Lin Xi, Dong Ding, and Bai Hao Oolong.
Oolong tea is like a sophisticated, mature lady: knowledgeable and strong, able to endure hardships and challenges. In contrast to green tea, oolong tea can be brewed at temperature at 90-100 C (195-212 F) without making the tea too bitter. The first steeping reveals the light aroma and sweet taste. With subsequent steeping, the aroma changes and the taste has more bite; the initial floral taste may become fruity or even nutty. Good oolong tea can be steeped 5 to10 times or more, with subtle differences in each steeping. This discovery process is a distinctive aspect of good oolong tea; as with a sophisticated lady, every encounter reveals new discoveries and increasing depth.
With a teenager and a sophisticated and mature lady in a family, let’s get ready to introduce the father figure, the assertive gentleman—Black Tea. To be continued…