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Oolong Tea is a traditional Chinese tea that is prepared by oxidizing it more than the green tea but less than the black tea. It does not have the grassy taste of black tea; rather it has a very different, indescribable flavor. It is generally brewed strong towards the bitter side, but still has a sweet after-taste.
The name Oolong means black dragon or snake, and has many legends associated with its origin, largely on account of the fact that the tea leaves look like twisted, snaky threads when dried.
Oolong tea is oxidized in a special manner using the following procedure:
- Wilting: Drying in the sun or air to remove a part of the moisture.
- Yao-Qing: Creating more contact surface for oxidization by bruising the edge of the tealeaf.
- Rou-Qing: Tumbling the tealeaves for the next stage.
- Sa-Qing: Frying either by hand (for premium tea) or by machinery (for lesser quality tea). This process is primarily aimed to stop further oxidization.
- Cooling followed by drying to remove excessive moisture.
- Grading and finally Packaging
The greatest Oolong teas come from Wu-Yí mountain in Fújiàn province. The production is organic and rarely false, and the teas have a distinctive aroma. Some of these teas are:
- Da Hong Pao: Also known as Big Red Robe, this highly prized Si Da Ming Cong is 1 of the top two Chinese Oolongs.
- Bai Ji Guan: A especially light Si Da Ming Cong with distinctive lightly colored leaves. Also known as White Cockscomb.
- Rou Gui: A dark tea with a spicy aroma.
- Jin Fo: A new tea producing a light brew.
- Huang Guanyin: a very new and famous tea, which is also called Yellow Goddess of Mercy.
- Huang Mei Gui: A new taste with a light floral infusion taste, also called Yellow Rose.
Besides this, the Fújiàn province is known for three more Oolong teas. These are: Tie Guan Yin which is also called 'Iron Goddess'; Huang Jin Gui, which is a tightly curled tea; and Pouchong, which is considered the lightest and the most floral Oolong. The Guangdong province is known for Dan-Cong tea, a highly floral and scented flat tea with large undamaged leaves
The Taiwanese Oolong teas are equally well known. Some of the best ones are
Dòng Ding, which is produced in the Dong Ding mountain ranges and Bai Hao Oolong, which is also known as Oriental Beauty.