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2517 W Cary St
Richmond, VA, 23220
United States

(804) 358-8327

Carytown Teas, from the tea garden to the tea cup, over 100 organic teas from around the world.

Oolong Tea

Oolongs come from distinct tea plant varietals, native to the Fujian province in China and some parts of Taiwan. Oolongs go back roughly four hundred years, originally coming from the Wuyi Mountains in Fujian. In Taiwan, most of the tea plantations began in a small area called Lugu. The original tea planters there were settlers from Fujian.Each area for Oolong production, at least in Taiwan, is exclusive to oolong production only. The more recent regions for oolong production like India, Thailand and Vietnam are too young to make any claims of native originality. Oolongs are usually described as being in-between Green and Black teas, or being semi-oxidized when there is actually much more to it. Oolong tea varietals have unique processing techniques, a vast color spectrum and unmistakable flavor profiles.

Five Ways to Categorize Oolong

  1. Shape

    Pearl : After the leaves have been withered, they are gently baked, put onto cloth that is tightly bound into a large ball and then rolled with light pressure to shape the leaves into pearls. These steps are done several times till the desired result is achieved.
    Twisted : Long tea leaves are used and then very gently twisted.
    * The reason why certain oolong teas are processed in a 'pearl' shape and others in a 'twisted' style is depends on that areas history, nature of the tea plant varietal (only some varietals are conducive to heavy rolling) and desired oxidation levels.
  2. Elevation

    High elevation or low elevation oolongs- High mountain oolongs are known for their cooling, floral flavor profile. Because the leaf is tender and has a full flavor, they are typically less roasted (oxidized) or green in color than the lower elevation oolongs.
  3. Season

    Taiwan oolongs are prized in the Winter and Spring, unlike other categories of teas, their summer oolongs from are not. Mainland oolongs, however, are prized during spring and summer.
  4. Oxidation

    Oolongs vary a lot based how much they are oxidized. Lower oxidation, greener leaf, higher oxidation, darker leaf.
  5. Age

    Taiwan tea plants have a shorter life cycle than the tea plants in the south China tea areas. The aspect of the age of tea plants is not as relevant as other tea categories. Taiwanese oolong plants peak at a lower time frame of 15-20 years. However, similar to Puer, there is a lot of interest among oolong aficionados to store and age oolongs. Every year, an oolong tea is given a light roast then stored. There are 10-15 year old oolongs available in parts of Taiwan that are have a wonderful character and finish.

General Oolong Processing

Wilting: Drying (sun or air) reducing moisture.

Cooling: Cooled in shaded area.

Yaoqing: Gently tossing to bruise edges, creating oxidation

(Cooling and Yaoqing are repeated multiple times.)

Shaqing: Oxidation is stopped with high heat.

Rouqing: Rolled into pearls.

Roasting: Using low heat to dehydrate. Sometimes repeated with temperature variations, producing varying flavors.

Carytown Teas offers a variety of oolongs that range from minimal oxidation to high oxidation. Because of this, there is a huge range of flavors that one can choose from and easily find something they like.

Take a look at all the Oolong Tea's we have available in our store.