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There are numerous theories about how oolong tea came to be.

The first theory, called the “tribute tea” theory, claims that oolong tea stems directly from the Dragon-Phoenix Cake tribute tea, which was made up of two different tea types: “Dragon” (Long) and “Phoenix” (Fong), produced in the Beiyuan tea gardens. When loose-leaf tea came into play as the new way of serving tributes, the name was changed to “Black Dragon” or oolong tea, to associate with the dark, wiry leaves that resulted from this form of processing.

The second theory comes from the “Wuyi” theory, which claims that oolong tea was originally named after the Wuyi mountain region, where it was first documented in poems from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

The third theory comes from the “Anxi” theory, which claims that oolong tea was first discovered in the Anxi region of the Fujian province when a man named Sulong, Wulong or Wuliang, accidentally allowed his tea leaves to oxidize after being distracted during the harvest.