In Chinese tea culture, semi-oxidized oolong teas are collectively grouped as ''qīngchá'' . Oolong has a taste more akin to green tea than to black tea: it lacks the rosy, sweet aroma of black tea but it likewise does not have the stridently grassy vegetal notes that typify green tea. It is commonly brewed to be strong, with the bitterness leaving a sweet aftertaste. Several subvarieties of oolong, including those produced in the Wuyi Mountains of northern and in the central mountains of Taiwan, are among the most famous Chinese teas.
Oolong tea leaves are processed in two different ways. Some teas are rolled into long curly leaves, while some are pressed into a ball-like form similar to gunpowder tea.
According to the "tribute tea" theory, oolong tea was a direct descendant of Dragon-Phoenix Tea Cake tribute tea. Oolong tea replaced it when loose tea came into fashion. Since it was dark, long and curly, it was called the Black Dragon tea.
According to the "Wuyi" theory, oolong tea first existed in Wuyi Mountain. This is evidenced by Qing dynasty poems such as Wuyi Tea Song and Tea Tale . It was said that oolong tea was named after the part of Wuyi mountain it was originally produced.
According to the "" theory, oolong tea had its origin in the Anxi oolong tea plant. A man named Sulong, Wulong or Wuliang discovered it.
Another tale tells of a man named Wu Liang who discovered oolong tea by accident when he was distracted by a deer after a hard day's tea-picking, and by the time he remembered about the tea it had already started to oxidize.
Processing of Oolong
Oolong tea undergoes a few delicate processes in order to produce the unique aroma and taste. Typical Oolong tea is processed according to the following steps:
#''Wilting'' : Sun dry or air dry to remove moisture partly.
#''Cooling'': Cool off in shaded area.
#''Yaoqing'' : Gently tossing leaves to bruise the edge of leaves to create more contacting surface for oxidation.
#''Cooling and Yaoqing'' are repeated multiple times.
#''Shaqing'' : The procedure is to stop oxidation with high heat. Premium leaves are usually stir fried in a large pan over high heat, large productions are done by machine.
#''Rouqing'' : The tea leaves are rolled into strands or nuggets before dehydration.
#''Roasting'': Roasting with low heat to dehydrate tea leaves, this step can be repeated with temperature variations to produce flavors of choice.
Classification and grade
Tea connoisseurs classify the tea by its aroma , taste and aftertaste . Oolongs comes in either ''roasted'' or ''light'' . While most oolongs can be consumed immediately postproduction, like pu-erh tea, many oolong can benefit from long aging with regular light roasting with a low charcoal fire .
; Pouchong : Also romanized as Baozhong, the lightest and most floral Oolong, with unrolled leaves of a light green to brown color. Originally grown in Fujian it is now widely cultivated and produced in Pinglin Township near Taipei, Taiwan.
Other oolong teas
*'''': Darjeeling tea made according to Chinese methods.
*''African Oolong'': made in Malawi and in Kenya
Generally, 2.25 grams of tea per 170 grams of water, or about two teaspoons of oolong tea per cup, should be used. Oolong teas should be prepared with 180°F to 190°F water and steeped 3-4 minutes.