Good morning, tea friends! We hope that you are all having a wonderfully productive week and are ready for the upcoming weekend. In our weekly meeting a few weeks ago, we came to the realization that it's been "oo-long" since we've talked about oolong teas! If you are saying to yourself, "Wait, what the heck is an oolong tea?", don't worry, this post will detail exactly what constitutes this type of tea, as well as some of our most popular varieties of it.
Let's start with the basics. As we mentioned, you may be asking yourself, "What is oolong tea?" or "Does this mean it just takes 'oo-longer' to steep?" :). No, you silly goose! An oolong tea is what we describe here as a cross between a black tea and a green tea. For those unfamiliar with the difference between black and green teas, it has to do with the process in which they are made. Both are made from the same leaves of the plant, Camellia sinensis. After the leaves are harvested from this shrub for tea, when making green tea, the leaves are steamed to prevent oxidation. This halting of the oxidation is so the leaves retain their color and delicate, fresh flavor. When making black teas, the leaves are instead wilted, crushed, and allowed to oxidize giving them their characteristic dark coloring and deeper flavors. When making oolong teas, the leaves are harvested, wilted, and steamed, allowing them to partially oxidize, and leaving the flavors to be almost a hybrid or cross between a green and a black tea. Oolong teas typically have a medium caffeine content due to this processing as well as a medium flavor profile. If you came to us looking for something with a bit more kick than, say, our Genmaicha, but not as intense as something like Assam, oftentimes we would direct you to the oolong section. Below I'll detail a bit more about the history of oolong teas as well as highlight a few of our most popular types!
Oolong teas are grown in South China. The Wuyi Rock region is an oolong hub where many great oolong teas hail from. This is the area where our own Wuyi Rock Oolong is grown. On the spectrum of oolong teas, our Wuyi Rock leans more toward the green tea end of the spectrum as it is less oxidized and holds more true to the light flavor profile characteristics of green teas. In this beautiful tea, you will notice subtle hints of sweet honey and floral notes of orchid. Due to being an oolong, the slight oxidation brings in a bit of woody flavoring as well. We have received nothing but 5 star reviews on this tea, so it's safe to say, it comes highly recommended.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, a darker tea I would like to highlight here proves our Formosa oolong tea. This oolong, conversely, as it is allowed to oxidize and wilt more, leans more toward the black tea end of the spectrum. In Formosa, about 75% oxidized to be exact, you will taste a nutty, almost toasty flavoring that is complemented by the subtle sweet tones of peach and roasted carrot. Hailing from Taiwan, this highly sought after oolong tea, steeps into a beautiful copper color. You will be delighted in sipping this tea and I recommend adding a few of our amber sugar crystals. The sweetness that slowly seeps in from these perfectly accompanies the tartness that is presented in the peach. We regularly hear that this is delightful both hot and cold. Try it today and let us know which you prefer!
Another one of our most popular oolong teas is our Ti Kuan Yin. This is the basic, most common oolong, that when people come into the store asking to try an oolong, we recommend they start with. In the black teas, we equate it to the Ceylon. It is the most popular oolong tea worldwide and it is the perfect balance between black and green teas. We love this tea so much on its own but love even more so that it is the base oolong for so many flavored ones. Stay tuned for what's next!
No, it's not a trap, sweet sipper.
As spring and warmer weather is upon us, it may be that you are looking for a fruitier tea. No worries, we have oolong teas that support this hankering as well. If you are someone who is partial to pomegranate then I would, of course, refer you to our Pomegranate Oolong tea. This oolong tea is a base of the Ti Kuan Yin oolong tea mentioned above, that is infused with real tangy pomegranate. It is the perfect tea to welcome the warm temperatures ahead. I happen to be sipping this one as I write to you all, and, I must say, it's exquisite! Don't believe me? Check out this video review from one of our customers!
To end this blog post, I think it is appropriate to mention just one more specific oolong tea. What is the best way to end each and every day? For me, the answer is almost always with dessert. We have an oolong tea for those with a sweet tooth like me, as well! If you are a self admitted chocoholic like myself, the oolong tea for you is our Chocolate Truffle Oolong Tea. This is an oolong tea complete with rooibos, apple, cacao beans, cacao powder, chocolate bits, natural chocolate and vanilla flavor, and white chocolate bits. It is so pleasantly decadent and leaves me overly satisfied every time I choose to reach for it in my tea cupboard. This is yet another one of our oolong teas that has received nothing but 5 stars, so I'll let our customers' reviews speak for themselves. You will not be disappointed when you choose to try this oolong. It's cheaper than good chocolate and better for the waistline! There is no downside.
I do hope that in reading this post you have learned a bit more about our beloved, and often overlooked, oolong teas. I hope you get the chance to try one and that you fall in love with them just as I have. As always, if you have any recommendations or your own, or any further questions, please don't hesitate to reach out. We love hearing from you all! It certainly won't be "oo-long" until you hear from me again! - Kaytea :)
P.S. If you are local, don't forget that the Wood Library Annual Book Sale begins this Saturday, June 4th, at noon and extends through 4PM on Sunday, June 12th! Go check out all the books, movie, CDs, and more that they have to offer!