Wednesday TEAching: Oolong Teas
History and Development of Oolongs as a Fundamental Tea
It is said that oolong tea first began to be produced at Mt. Wu Yi Shan in Fujian Province at the end of the Ming Dynasty about 400 years ago.
Oolong Teas are produced in many countries and are the 3 step in the tea production line. Something that sets them apart from the other types is that they are semi-fermented and then pan fired to dry the leaves.
Compared to the other tea categories, oolongs tend to be the most diverse in their flavor profiles and tend to bring a complexity to their drinker.
The leaves are typically harvested during late spring into summer. Once the leaves are plucked they are sorted and spread out to dry. Once drying is complete the leaves are then withered. This withering is done by vigorously shaking the leaves in baskets. The shaking bruises the edges of the leaves which begins the oxidation process. They are then fired to halt the oxidation and de-enzyme the leaves. The freshly roasted leaves are then rolled and fired several more times. After cooling completely, they are fired one final time.
In order to enjoy the flavor and rich aroma unique to oolong tea, an art of drinking it delicately was developed. This involves drinking oolong tea by using a tiny teapot and a tiny teacup. Chinese people have adopted this style for generations right up to the present day.
What is your art to drinking the perfect cup of tea?