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What is Oolong tea?
Oolong tea is partially oxidized and intricately processed leaves of the tea plant, Camellia Sinensis. Oolong type of tea originates from China, its name literally means “black dragon tea” (wulong cha) in Chinese.
How is oolong tea made?
There are several steps in tea production. Right after tea leaves are harvested, they are getting withered by blowing air on them until leaf’s veins are transparent. Then, the tea leaves are rolled into strips. Next step for some tea types is fermenting, or oxidizing. The type (“color”) of the tea depends on the level of oxidation. Black tea is fully oxidized. In green tea production, the oxidation process is prevented by applying heat to the leaves: by steaming or pan-firing. In the case of oolong, oxidation is haltered half way through.
What is the ratio of monkeys employed in Oolong production? Is it cruelty free?
To the best of our knowledge, no monkeys are exploited in Oolong manufacturing. The term Monkey Picked simply means very rare, hard to find.
Here are some aspects to consider when shopping for the best oolong around.
- Diversity. Oolongs fall somewhere between green and black tea with oxidation level of anything between 8 and 80 percent. That’s a wide range. If you take into account variety of tea plant cultivars, growing regions, and multiple recipes of production, you would get an idea about the kaleidoscopic world of oolong.
- Vintage. Most kinds of tea are best to consume fresh, withing a year of production, until the new crop comes to the market. However, quality oolong would develop its aroma with time. Like a good wine, Oolongs can be consumed young or aged.
- Origin. Most of the oolongs come from China and Taiwan. This region is a place of birth of oolong, with fascinating rich history, an abundance of expertise, and well established standards of production. Nowadays, one can also find new types of oolong coming from India and Vietnam.