We love oolong teas and find the flavors so incredibly unique. They say no two oolongs are alike, and that may be what we like best about oolongs, always a surprise.
Oolong means “Black Dragon”. The Chinese tea growers thought the complex character of Oolong tea was similar to the spirit of this mythical creature.
The crafting of Oolong is an art form and the growing areas limited. Conditions have to be exact and great care is taken to maintain the surrounding environment of the tea plants. Like wine growing regions, the soil and humidity levels definite impact on the taste and complexity of the finished product.
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.
Fujian province in China is the home of Oolong varieties of tea but production began in Taiwan during the 1850’s when tea planters from Fujian immigrated to the small island nation called Formosa. 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 hand made and has a stunning rolled leaf producing a taste which is smoother than black tea but not as grassy as green. The result is a very well balanced tea with 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 characteristics that are much closer to black. The addition of some Sri Lanka black tea gives added 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 each steep.
Brewing Oolong Tea
It is recommended to rinse or flush Oolong leaves, that is 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, then steeping a second time for 8 minutes and combine the two steeps for a multi-fusion.
For Dung Ding Oolong we use water around 194 degrees, steep for 2 minutes and drink! This is way too good to flush away in our opinion. For the next steep add 2 minutes and continue adding extra time till 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.
the tea lady
Tags: Black Dragon, Dung Ding, Dung Ti Mountains, formosa, Formose, Fujian Province, local coffee + tea, Oolong Tea, Orange Blossom, sarasota, Selby Gardens, semi fermented teas, Semi oxidized teas, sip locally, strainer, Taiwan, Tea Lady, tealady