Something New in the World of Tea

By: thomas.white

Drinking tea has been a wide spread custom throughout the world since almost forever. Meeting for a cup in town has always been a nice way of spending ones free time, but lately it has been discovered that it is also very healthy, depending on your choice of teas of course. Almost all of us have heard that the green and black varieties are healthy, but what about the oolong tea? What is it and how is it made? These are just a few of the questions we will answer in this article.

First of all, we should talk a bit about origins. The oolong tea has originated in China and in a literal translation it means ‘black dragon’. It has also been referred to as Wulong, from the name of the person who is thought to have created this tea. There is actually a very cute Chinese legend regarding the discovery of these types of teas. This legend tells of a Chinese gardener who was busy collecting and processing the leaves when he spotted a river deer which he decided to hunt. He forgot to dry out the leaves and by the time he got to them, they have started to change color. He proceeded to dry them, although he though they may have been ruined. When the process was done he discovered that he actually created something even more flavored and aromatic than the ordinary teas.

As you may have guessed from the story above, oolong tea is something in between the black and green varieties. It is created by fermenting, but for a shorter period of time than the black tea. The oolong variety is traditionally made out of the bigger leaves of the plant, the ones that grow further down the plant.

Depending on the length of fermentation, oolong teas can be closer to green teas or to black teas, in terms of color or flavor. If the leaves are fermented until about 30% of the leaves are red, and the rest green, it means that is a true oolong tea. There is also the possibility to leave the leaves to ferment until 15% of them are red and 85% of them are green; this variety is referred to as pouchong teas.

To make these types of teas, the leaves have to be collected early in the day and then withered in the sun. Soon after, the leaves are bruised slightly so that the fermentation process can begin. The people in charge of all this process are actually called artisans. They will usually watch the fermentation process very carefully, so as to create that perfect ratio of red and green leaves. Timing is essential when it comes to making the perfect oolong or pouchong teas.

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The oolong tea is a Chinese type of tea that is believed to have been created by mistake. It is something in between the green and black teas, with a distinct flavor.

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