We love oolong teas and find the flavors so incredibly unique. They say no two oolongs are alike, which may be what we like best, always a surprise.
Oolong means “Black Dragon.” The Chinese tea growers thought Oolong tea’s complex character was similar to the spirit of this mythical creature.
The crafting of Oolong is an art form, and the growing areas are limited. Conditions have to be exact and great care is taken to maintain the tea plants’ surrounding environment. Like wine growing regions, the soil and humidity level definitely impact the finished product’s taste and complexity.
Oolongs are referred to as semi-fermented or semi-oxidized teas. (see earlier post on oxidation / fermentation) They follow a similar process to black tea but with up to 60% less oxidation. This results in a tea with characteristics of both black and green tea. What does oolong tea taste like? Good question!
Fujian province in China is the home of Oolong varieties of tea. Still, production began in Taiwan during the 1850s when tea planters from Fujian immigrated to Formosa’s small island nation. The Dung Ti Mountains in central Taiwan have very fertile slopes where some of the finest tea plantations produce excellent Oolong tea. Both of our Oolong teas are from Taiwan.
Our Dung Ding Oolong is entirely handmade and has a stunning rolled leaf producing a smoother taste than black tea but not as grassy as green. The result is a very well-balanced tea with an orchid-like aroma and taste.
Steep the leaves multiple times and give your taste buds an exciting journey along the way. Examine the leaves, and you will see the oxidation that has occurred around the outer part of the leaf, leaving the inside quite green. We highly recommend this tea, which is easy to drink. Don’t forget that Oolong teas are great for raising your metabolic rate.
Our Aronia Oolong produces quite a different taste profile. This is also a Taiwan Oolong, which is wiry and lively with much closer characteristics to black. Some Sri Lanka black tea adds depth along with chokeberries, mango, passion fruit, and rose petals for a delicate floral finish. As we like to say, this tea is easy to drink, hard to resist! And can be steeped multiple times, giving a lighter color and flavor to each steep.
Brewing Oolong Tea
It is recommended to rinse or flush Oolong leaves, pour water over leaves, and immediately remove the hot water. We cannot bear to throw this lovely liquor away and usually add it to a later steep. Then start with a 1-2 minutes steep and add additional steeping time after each infusion.
When preparing Aronia Oolong, we actually brew as a black tea, using boiling water, steeping for 4 minutes, steeping a second time for 8 minutes, and combining the two steeps for a multi-fusion.
We use water around 194 degrees for Dung Ding Oolong, steep for 2 minutes, and drink! This is way too good to flush away, in our opinion. For the next step, add 2 minutes and continue adding the extra time until the entire flavor has been released.
As with all teas, there are personal preferences, so be playful and enjoy the process of discovering how you like your Oolong tea. Oh, and what does oolong tea taste like?
the tea lady