In the 19th century, a British ambassador to China dedicated Oolong tea to the Queen of England. The Queen wasn’t just impressed by the gesture, but as they say, she was awestruck by the distinctive appearance, and unique taste and aroma of the tea. So much so, she even named the tea “Oriental Beauty”.
The history of Oolong tea travels almost 1000 years back in time to Fujian province, where it is known to have begun its life journey. But, what’s all the more interesting is the legendary story associated with this amazing tea type.
When a tea farmer got distracted by a deer, Oolong was born. – A legend
Oolong, also spelt Wu Long, literally translates to Black Dragon tea. But, it has little to do with dragons or the colour black.
A story goes…
During the regime of Quing dynasty in Fujian, one day, a tea farmer was distracted by a deer when he was picking leaves. Instead of processing the picked tea leaves, he decided to hunt down the deer, and it wasn’t until the next day that he got around processing the leaves.
But, by then, the edges of the leaves were already partially oxidized, and the leaves were emitting a beautiful aroma. After finishing the processing of leaves, he found out that the resulting tea wasn’t at all bitter as usual. Instead, it carried a strong, sweet flavour. And since the farmer’s nickname was Oolong, the newly formed tea was given the same name.
Oolong tea is like a middle sister to green and black tea
…yet combines the best of both worlds.
Black tea can be called the eldest of all since it is fully oxidized, and green- the youngest of all since it is not at all oxidized. Oolong, being only partially oxidized, is the middle one in the family.
In respect to its flavour, the tea has only little in common with its sister teas. it doesn’t emit stridently grassy taste that represents green tea, and it also lacks the rosy, sweet aroma that is typical to black tea. Also, unless over-brewed, oolong is almost never bitter.
Oolongs emit stronger aroma than green or black tea.
Just as green and black tea, Oolong is also refreshing and delicious, and harbours plentitude of health benefits, thanks to its heavy concentration of polyphenol antioxidants.
It is uniquely processed
Oolong is obtained following a unique process, including withering, which involves sun drying the leaves to remove moisture partly, and then shaking them to bruise their edges so that they oxidize faster than the centre part of the leaves.
Baking or roasting is the last step in the processing of Oolong tea, and is exclusive to this tea. Such is the importance of this step, that it is also known as the “real art” in making the said tea.
Now that you know an interesting fraction of oolong tea’s biography, aren’t you tempted to try it? For the masterfully blended bespoke teas, don’t forget to visit, Garnet Glow.