In Chinese tea culture, semi-oxidized oolong teas are collectively grouped as qīngchá (Chinese: 青茶; literally "blue-green tea").The taste of oolong ranges hugely amongst various subvarieties.It can be sweet and fruity with honey aromas, or woody and thick with roasted aromas,or green and fresh with bouquet aromas,all depending on the horticulture and style of production. Several sub varieties of oolong, including those produced in the Wuyi Mountains of northern Fujian and in the central mountains of Taiwan, are among the most famous Chinese teas.
Different varieties of oolong are processed differently, but the leaves are formed into one of two distinct styles. Some are rolled into long curly leaves, while others are 'wrap-curled' into small beads, each with a tail. The former style is the more traditional of the two.
The name oolong tea came into the English language from the Chinese name (Chinese: 烏龍茶), meaning "black dragon tea".
Varieties of Chinese Oolong Tea
Wuyi rock (cliff) tea (武夷岩茶 Wǔyí yen chi) from Fujian province
The most famous and expensive oolong teas are made here, and the production is still usually accredited as being organic. Much Shuǐ Xiān is grown elsewhere in Fujian. Some of the better known cliff teas are:
Red Robe Dà Hóng Páo (大红袍)
in Chinese, a highly prized tea and a Sì Dà Míng Cōng (四大名樅, literally: The Four Great Bushes). This tea is also one of the two oolongs that make it to the list of Chinese famous teas.
Gold Turtle Shuǐ Jīn Guī (水金亀)
in Chinese, a Si Da Ming Cong.
Iron Monk Arhat Tiě Luóhàn (鉄羅漢)
in Chinese, a Si Da Ming Cong tea
White Comb Bái Jī Guān (白鸡冠)
in Chinese, a Si Da Ming Cong tea. A light tea with light, yellowish leaves.
Cassia Riu Guì (肉桂)
in Chinese, a dark tea with a spicy aroma.
Narcissus Shuǐ Xiān (水仙)
in Chinese, a very dark tea, often grown elsewhere.
Iron Goddess Guanine Tiě Guānyīn or Ti Kuan Yin (鐵觀音)
in Chinese, this is a tea from Anxi in South Fujian. It is very famous as a 'Chinese famous tea' and very popular.
Golden Cassia Huángjīn Guì (黄金桂）
or Golden Osmanthus is another tea from the Anxi area of Fujian Province. It resembles Tiě Guānyīn with a very fragrant flavor.
Ti Kuan Yin, which in Chinese means “Iron Goddess.” There was once a poor farmer who was devout and dedicated to maintaining the temple of Kuan Yin, the goddess of mercy. One day, to reward him for his loyalty and commitment to her, she told him that the key to his future was outside the temple. Outside he found a scrounge old bush, which he nursed to a flourishing bloom of greenish leaves. These leaves, of course, are the same as those in my teapot cup.
Single Bush Dān Cōng (单枞)
A family of stripe-style oolong teas from Guangdong Province. The doppelgänger of teas, Dancong teas are noted for their ability to naturally imitate the flavors and fragrances of various flowers and fruits, such as orange blossom, orchid, grapefruit, almond, ginger flower, etc.
The name dan song is often misinterpreted as meaning the tea is all picked from a single bush, grove, or clone. This is not correct. Dan song is a botanical term that refers to the morphology of the tea plant. Most tea bushes emerge from the ground as a cluster of branches, however, the uncommon dan song variety emerges as a single trunk that branches off higher up the stem.
TaiwanTea cultivation only began in Taiwan in the mid-19th century. Since then, many of the teas which are grown in Fujian province have also been grown in Taiwan. Since the 1970s, the tea industry in Taiwan has expanded at a rapid rate, in line with the rest of Taiwan's economy. Due to high domestic demand and a strong tea culture, most Taiwanese tea is bought and consumed by the Taiwanese.
As the weather in Taiwan is highly variable, tea quality may differ from season to season. Although the island is not particularly large, it is geographically varied, with high, steep mountains rising abruptly from low-lying coastal plains. The different weather patterns, temperatures, altitudes and soil ultimately result in differences in appearance, aroma and flavor of the tea grown in Taiwan. In some mountainous areas, teas have been cultivated at ever higher elevations to produce a unique sweet taste that fetches a premium price.
Dong Ding oolong, Dòngdǐng (凍頂)
The name means Frozen Summit or Ice Peak. Dong Ding is a mountain in Nantou County, Central Taiwan. This is a tightly rolled tea with a light, distinctive fragrance.
Oriental Beauty, Dōngfāng Měirén chi (東方美人茶)
The name means Oriental Beauty. Also known as White Tip Oolong Bai Hao Oolong. This tea is tippy (the leaves frequently have white or golden tips), with natural fruity aromas, a bright red appearance and a sweet taste.
Alisha oolong, Ālǐshān chi (阿里山茶)
Grown in the Alishan area of Chiayi County, this tea has large rolled leaves that have a purple-green appearance when dry. It is grown at an elevation of 1,000 to 1,400 meters. There is only a short period during the growing season when the sun is strong, which results in a sweeter and less astringent brew. It produces a golden yellow tea which has a unique fruity aroma.
Lichen oolong, Líshān (梨山)
Grown in the north-central region of Taiwan, this tea is very similar in appearance to Alishan teas, and is often considered to be one of the best teas from Taiwan. It is grown at an elevation above 1,000 meters, with Dayuling, Lishan, and Fusou being the best known regions and teas of Lishan.
Pouching, (Bāozhǒng chi) (包種茶)
Also romanized as Bāozhǒng, 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.
Brewing Chinese Oolong Tea
Brewing of the Oolong tea requires the best-planned and most complicated procedures. Normally, the zisha clay teapot is the best for brewing the Oolong tea.The size of the teapot is chosen based on the number of the tea drinkers. There are many Oolong tea varieties and they vary widely in appearance. Different Oolong teas have the different application amounts. For the strip-shaped hemisphere oolong tea, the tea leaves should fill 20% to 30% of the teapot. For the loose strip-shaped oolong tea, the tea leaves should fill 80% of the teapot. The tea ceremony of the oolong tea is called gong tea ceremony. In a sense, gong tea ceremony is the origin of modern tea ceremony.
The ceremony for the oolong tea---for TieGuanYin.
Tieguanyin is the best of the oolong teas. Its tea soup is golden bright. Its aroma is strong and long-lasting. Its taste is mellow,brisk, sweet, and fresh.
Warming up the tea set
Pour hot water onto the tea set for cleaning it and warming it up.
Tea appreciation：Take proper amount of tea leaves with a tea spoon and put them in a lotus-shaped tea container. Present the tea leaves to the guests for them to appreciate the appearance of the tea.
Push the tea leaves into the zisha clay teapot from the container.
Continue to pour in water after filling so as to get rid of the foam and impurity.
Showering the teapot:Put on the teapot lid,shower the teapot with hot water to keep the temperature even inside and outside the teapot
Tea soup harvesting
The moment for tea soup harvesting depends on the tenderness and quantity of tea leaves brewed. Before harvesting, put the teapot on a towel to dry up the bottom and pour the tea soup into GongDaoCup.
Tea soup pouring
Divide the tea soup evenly into the aroma-smelling cup and cover the aroma-smelling cup with the drinking teacup and overturn them.
Presenting the tea:Put the filled tea cup on the tea tray and present it to the guest.
Tasting the tea
Take up the aroma-smelling cup to smell the unique tea aroma. Then,take up the drinking teacup and taste the tea soup in small slips.
Oolong Tea Benefits For Health:
In addition to its pleasing taste and refreshing aroma, oolong tea benefits the health in a number of ways too. In fact, it is more beneficial than the other varieties of tea on account of it having the combined qualities of both green and black teas. Moreover, since it contains significantly smaller amounts of caffeine when compared to the other varieties, it is considered to be a suitable option for those who are sensitive to caffeine. Some of the health benefits of oolong tea are as follows:
1. Cardiovascular Benefits: Regular consumption of oolong tea is known to reduce the cholesterol levels, thereby lowering the risk of heart attacks. Research proves that those who drink 1 to 6 cups of oolong tea in a week were at a lower risk of succumbing to cardiovascular diseases.
2. Combats free radicals: Skin lipids are essential for a vibrant looking skin. Free radicals accelerate the process of aging by converting the skin lipids into lipid peroxide. This results in dark spots and pigmentation of the skin. Polyphenols found in oolong leaves eradicate the free radicals from our body, thereby slowing down the aging process.
3. Controls obesity: The polyphenol compound in oolong tea enhances the metabolism of fat in the body by activating certain enzymes hence; daily consumption of oolong tea promotes weight loss and reduces obesity by accelerating the process of lipolysis which enables the body to burn more fat. The oolong tea weight loss is definitely a much healthier path to choose.
4. Prevents tooth decay: Oolong tea improves oral health by inhibiting the growth of bacteria that causes tooth decay and oral cancers. The antioxidants called polyphenols present in oolong tea contribute to the improvement of dental health and hygiene. Drinking oolong tea helps to prevent the build-up of plaque, fights tooth decay and deters the occurrence of cavities.
5. Anti-cancer properties: Tea drinkers in general have a lower risk of acquiring skin cancer. The concentration of polymeric polyphenols like thearubigin and theaflavin is higher in oolong tea when compared to other varieties. These antioxidants combat carcinogens and help in reducing the risk of cancer. Polyphenols promote the programmed cell death (apoptosis) of cancerous growth in the stomach and acts as a chemo-preventive agent to suppress the development of other forms of cancer, specifically ovarian cancer in women.
6. Development of healthy bones: The antioxidants present in oolong tea provide protection against tooth decay and strengthen the bone structure. It is very effective in preventing osteoporosis in the human body.
7. Treatment of diabetes: Oolong tea has higher concentrations of antioxidants called polyphenols in addition to vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, calcium, potassium, selenium, fluorine, magnesium and phosphorus. These nutrients detoxify the body, improve digestion and lower the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes. Oolong tea is considered to be an herbal supplement for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.
8. Stress buster: The natural polyphenols present in oolong tea act as stress busters and alleviate mood swings. Drinking oolong tea during the day helps to maintain focus and improves mental agility.
9. Fights bacterial infections: Antioxidants present in oolong tea fight bacterial infections by strongly inhibiting the growth of certain types of streptococci.