Oolong tea in a nutshell

Oolong tea, also known as Wulongcha, blue tea or literally translated "Black Dragon Tea" comes mostly from the southeast of mainland China, and there mainly from Fujian and Guangdong. Due to the isolation of mainland China, almost only Taiwan Oolong was known to us until the 1980s and this island has a lot to offer. In addition, there are also smaller growing areas in Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, etc., which usually only emulate the "great" models. The oxidation (not fermentation!) of Oolong usually lies between 10% to 85%, which covers almost the entire range between green, white and yellow tea on one side and black tea on the other

 

Overview of different Oolong teas

Each area has its own school and is also subject to the requirements of the times what is "in". Oolong can roughly be divided into two groups: the rolled and the unrolled. Rolled with "little tails" are very popular in Taiwan, including Nantou Dongding, Alishan, Oriental Beauty, Lishan or Sanlinxi. Rolled, without "tail", we have a strong tradition in Anxi, the southern Fujian, with the well-known Tieguanyin (also Iron Buddha [or Mercy], Benshan, Huangjingui (Golden Turtle) or Foshou (Buddhas Hand). The list goes on with the unrolled Oolong from northern Fujian, namely the Wuyi Yancha (rock or stone teas). Here are only the best-known of the 264 varieties recognized to date: Dahongpao (Big red robe), Tieluohan (Iron Monk Arhat), Baijingui (White Cocks Comb), Shuijingui (Water-Golden Turtle) and Bantianyao (Half-Days Waist (?). The last in this enumeration are the Single Bush Oolong or (Fenghuang-)Dancong named with several varieties which orient themselves according to tastes, but also descent, e. g. Songzhong, Milanxiang, Guihuaxiang, Zhilanxiang, Xingrenxiang etc.

Other Oolong teas are not geographically "tangible" like Shuixian or Rougui, but they are often attributed to Wuyi Yancha.

Tea Flavor

The spectrum of flavours in Oolong tea is incredibly wide; many of them are floral or fruity: possible associations range from orchid, osmanthus, to berries, jam, and dried fruit. Slightly oxidized varieties tend to be more likely.

The slightly more strongly oxidized varieties tend to go in the aromatic direction such as roasting, honey and nut-caramel, but usually retain a multi-layered character from the floral and fruity notes in the background. However, you can only really experience all this to the full extent if you take the time to prepare your tea in the form of Grandpa or Gongfucha.

 

Production

In the production of Oolong tea, several steps are repeated until the desired amount of crushing and oxidation of the tea leaves is achieved. Withering, rolling, moulding and heating are similar to black tea, but much more attention needs to be paid to time and temperature.

Organic Oolong Tea

Organic or organically grown teas are often found in the remote valleys and canyons of the quite impassable Fujian, or in the mountainous highlands of Oolong from Taiwan. However, there are hardly any products that have been declared organic in the trade - above all, no real high-quality oolong. Why? The European Union tea market (for Oolong tea) is too small and the legislator demands a relatively time-consuming and capital-intensive procedure. This is simply not worthwhile for many manufacturers, because they get rid of their high-quality teas without any problems at partly fantastic prices also in Asia.

Nevertheless, there are goods produced according to Chinese organic standards, which may not be sold as organic in this country, because of course the limit values and requirements are completely different.

Preparation

Western preparation takes place in a big pot: just break off a small piece, add 4-5g to 1 litre pot and then simply pour 90°C or more. After 1-2 minutes you can drink the tea. Not suitable for multiple infusions!

Grandpa is the most widespread tea drinking method in China. Here a large glass or cup is filled with 2-3g again. Simply refill with 90°C or more hot water (few exceptions e.g. Oriental Beauty rather 80°C!) Then wait briefly until the desired drinking temperature is reached. But be careful! However, one never drinks the contents completely empty, but leaves about 1/3 in the cup or glass. Pour again as often as you like and it will taste good.

Gongfu (-cha) is the most ideal method, but not always practicable due to lack of time, hardware or desire. However, it can be shrunk to an essential degree as follows: a jug and another drinking vessel such as a cup or glass. Optional sieve and an intermediate vessel also called pitcher/fair cup or gong. Pour a small pot of 5g of tea into a small jug (my way Yixing jug with a capacity of 150 ml) and pour it again with at least 90°C hot water (which is really a lot in relation to Grandpa or western method), but pour the first infusion after about 15 seconds into either the cup or pitcher. Et Voila, the first infusion is done! After the same pattern we can now make further infusions, whereby only the infusion time varies gradually increasing like e. g. 15 seconds, 25 seconds, 35 seconds, 50 seconds, 70 seconds, 100 seconds, etc. until you don't feel like it or the tea doesn't give any more. Experience shows that this usually takes more than 10 laps! The temperature, infusion time and the amount of tea can be changed according to your taste. More means more intensive. Just try it out!

Why this effort? Because it makes it easier to listen to the history of tea (the change in taste). Firstly, you get a lot more out of your tea as a saver. Because it has a certain meditative function.

And watch the water, please! 95% of all tap water in Germany is not suitable. Just like the totally calcified kettle. Clean it up. Lime kills the taste optically and sensory. It is better to use a clever mineral water or filtered tap water if you don't have a natural spring on your doorstep.

 

Effects, weight loss, TCM and capsules

In traditional Chinese medicine TCM, highly oxidized Oolong teas are definitely warm. Fewer oxidized substances, on the other hand, tend to go in the cold direction. The tea has numerous positive properties, including detoxifying, purifying, and antibacterial, stimulating to the liver metabolism, regulating the digestive system, brightening the mood and lowering uric acid levels. However, it is up to you to decide what you believe.

Really negative side effect such as increased risk of bone fracture could be disproved. However, as always, it does the mixture: one oolong per day is okay. Five with full gongfucha to the end will be difficult and is not really the healthier beneficial. Not suitable for infants Oolong tea in general! Pre-school children can sip here and there.

Oolong can help you lose weight, at least that's what some studies suggest, but as always, no tea diet can replace a holistic approach. Tea is healthy, but not a miracle drinks.

 

Storage and storage

Very brief and simple: dark, dry, not completely airtight, but also far from foreign smells. A ceramic vessel covered with a linen cloth is ideal in the bedroom or guest room. Avoid kitchen and bathroom. Living room is only possible to a limited extent, because depending on the use of the room, certain odour waves can sometimes or even regularly blow through.

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