Do You Long for Oolong? A Guide to Oolong Tea
If you’ve heard the term “Oolong Tea” before and aren’t quite sure what type of tea it's referring to, you’re not alone!
Oolong tea originated in China, and its name comes from two Chinese words meaning “black” and “dragon.” It gets this name because of the way the leaves have been curled or rolled, resembling little dragons. All Oolong teas have been at least semi-oxidized in the sun, shade dried, basket-tossed, wok-fired, and finally, hand-rolled. Additionally, Oolongs are exclusively harvested in the spring, sometime between April to May. Through Art of Tea’s extensive research and studies, we have found that the bests Oolong teas originate from the Anxi and Fujian regions of China or Taiwan.
What makes Oolong so unique is that the amount of time the leaves have been oxidized and treated varies between different types, making each Oolong tea’s flavor unique. For this reason, Oolong is known to be one of the most diverse varieties of tea in the world.
Oolong tea leaves can be oxidized anywhere between 1% - 99%, so they fall somewhere between unoxidized green teas and fully oxidized black varieties in both look and taste. They can vary significantly in their composition, smell, and taste; some are light and floral, others strong and robust, and most fall somewhere in between.
Most Oolong teas are best prepared at a water temperature of 185°F - 206° F, with a steep time of approximately 3-5 minutes. It should be noted, however, that these suggested temperatures may vary depending on the specific type of Oolong that you will be brewing. Additionally, Oolong teas can be re-steeped multiple times, and Oolongs will actually improve and transform with each re-steeping. We’ve found that often, the 4th or 5th steeping is the best!
Here at Art of Tea, we encourage you to experiment and try different flavor profiles to figure out which you like best. We recommend our Jasmine Ancient Beauty Tea for a milder brew, and our 99% Oxidized Purple Oolong Tea if you prefer a more complex flavor. With both of these delicious varietals, you can rest assured that you will be sipping on the highest quality leaves, thereby ensuring a delicious brew!
With our extensive catalog of Oolong blends, we encourage you to experiment to find the Oolong tea that is right for you!