Oolong tea is a semi-fermented brew, whereas green tea is non-fermented and black tea is fully fermented. The fermentation or oxidization process is done by rolling or stimulating the leaves by shaking them. The leaves slowly begin to oxidize and turn a darker color.
The process is a very skilled one and carried out by experienced tea workers. When the tea reaches the desired level of fermentation the process is stopped by heating or cooking the tea. Due to the skill of the tea workers there is a really large range of different levels of fermentation which are possible.
After stopping the fermentation process the tea is rubbed or rolled again to enhance the flavor, the texture and the bouquet. The leaves can become different levels of red around the edges and remain more green on the inside. The oolong tea is then graded by the tea master.
With all these different levels of fermentation come different shades of green and different fine fragrances. Although some fermentation takes place the Oolong teas still retain much of the health benefits of green tea. They can help to stimulate the metabolism and can also help to aid the digestion.
It is believed that Oolong tea was originally produced in the Chinese province of Fujian. It is still produced there today with some of the most famous varieties being grown. It is also produced in Thailand, Vietnam and Taiwan which is very close to Fujian only separated by the Taiwan Straights.
Some of the most famous varieties include Tieguanyin, Gao Shan, Anxi Hairy Crab, Formosa and Tieluohan. Oolong tea is best brewed in for around 3-5 minutes at a temperature of 160-190 F. It is famously served in the Gong Fu method using a Chinese tea set with an Yi Xing pot and cups.
Vietnamese Green Oolong (Extra Special) is a hand processed lightly fermented tea grown on Mount Baolu.
Tieguanyin Extra Special is a rich fragrant brew with tightly rolled leaves. This tea is also special as it takes it’s name from Guan Yin the Chinese Buddha of compassion.
From the beautiful Wuyi Mountains comes Tieluohan Oolong tea. The tea has a distinctive aroma and rich taste. Perfect for some Gong Fu brewing!
Some fine quality teas are produced on the beautiful island of Taiwan.