Known as Wu Long, this category translates to ‘Black Dragon’ tea. It most likely got its name from a compressed teacake made for the Emperor of the day during the Song Dynasty. This cake was named Phoenix Dragon and as the period of history changed to the Ming Dynasty we find that the tastes change and loose tea is more popular. With this transition came a change of name for this new kind of tea that was halfway between a black and a green tea. Nowadays Oolong Tea is a very popular category both within China and overseas.
It requires great skill to produce Oolong. To achieve this semi-fermented outcome the leaves must be left to wither in the sun for a day or so. Next, agitating the edges of the leaves by shaking or rubbing stimulates the oxidisation process. The leaves are then heated and sometimes rolled to shape particular varieties. The longer the heating process the darker the leaves will turn.
There is a difference in taste between the varieties of Oolong. Some can be sweet and fruity, or woody and roasted, green and milky or have floral bouquet. This category has much depth and complexity. Generally, Oolong provides the drinker with a useful variation away from either green or black tea, providing great taste and wonderful benefits for health.