Oolong tea is a semi-fermented, partially oxidized tea that lies between black tea and green tea. The degree of oxidation can range from 8–85%, depending on the variety and production style. The level of oxidation produces a variety of flavours from sweet and fruity with honey aromas, to woody and thick with roasted aromas, or green and fresh with complex aromas.
Crafting quality oolong is an art form. Like regional variance in fine wines, the soil integrity, humidity levels, and the artisanal skill used in production all leave their imprint on the delicate leaf. Manufacturing oolong tea involves varying stages of withering, rolling, and firing to achieve the desired amount of bruising, browning, and wilting of leaves. Varieties of oolongs may be processed in a differently. Some oolong leaves are rolled into long curls, while others are wrap-curled into small beads.
Oolong is also known as wulong or wu long but the meaning remains the same. “Oo” (wu) means black and “long” means dragon, therefore, “black dragon”. Oolong tea is also known in China as “qing cha”.
Oolong tea is traditionally enjoyed in small quantities so the varying character nuances can truly be savoured and appreciated. This wonderful tea also offers many health benefits, such as helping to prevent heart disease, reducing inflammation and cholesterol levels, and improving gut health. Because it is high in antioxidants, oolong tea also promotes good bone density, healthy skin, and good dental health.
Bon Tea Place offers an excellent selection of fine oolong tea from China and Taiwan.