Oolong Tea: the Chinese Blue Tea

It is said that oolong teas have a natural complex range of aromas and flavors such as honey, amber, orchid, peach, even sandalwood and leather. Now why someone would compare a fine tea to drinking leather is beyond me, I guess aromatic and flavor inspirations are up to the individual. Nevertheless, oolong teas have a long and sweet finish that is a treat and challenge to describe. Oolong teas are some of my personal favorites - not leathery at all in my opinion.

Along with the myriad of flavors finished oolong tea varies in appearance, ranging from rich chestnut brown (or leather if you prefer) to greenish-gold. Oolongs are also the most complicated to manufacture taking ten to eighteen steps over many days to bring this fine tea to perfection.

Oolong teas are made from large tea leaves sometimes slightly twisted, other times loosely folded, or even compressed and rolled into tea balls. Because oolongs are made from large mature leaves they do not open to their full size until the third or fourth infusion, thus one can enjoy the subtle flavor sensations of oolong tea for up to nine infusions.

The historical source of oolong tea is the Fujian province of China, and one of the most famous and revered oolongs is the Wuyi, or rock oolong cultivated in the jagged fog enshrined Wuyi mountains. It is made from one large leaf slightly twisted and is famous for the beautiful green, red and brown colors in the cross-section of each leaf.

Wuyi Ensamble Oolong Tea

Try Wuyi Ensemble tea from Adagio Teas - a simply delightful oolong tea!

"I love light oolongs, and this was the first Wuyi type I ever tried--it's become one of my favorite Adagio teas. I usually steep it just below boiling for best flavor; the second and third steeps take a while to reach their best, but they're worth the wait!" - - - Andi

While oolong tea has its origin in Fujian China it has been introduced to other tea growing regions most notably Darjeeling India and Sri Lanka. It is also all the rave in Japan these days where they are experimenting with the Fujian sub-varietal Tieguanyin. While some are skeptical of the quality of a non Fujian oolong many tea drinkers world wide are finding delightful new sources for oolong tea.

A fine example of the Darjeeling oolong tea from the Gopaldhara estate of India is the Ooooh Darjeeling which maintains a 4.5 out of five rating from avid tea drinkers. If you are looking for an earthy tea with a hint of lemon give this one a try.

Try Adagio's Ooooh Darjeeling oolong tea

"Probably my favorite Oolong. Very refreshing, yet relaxing at the same time; try the sampler!" - - anm

"My favorite oolong so far, I think it has a lighter more sweeter taste compared to some other deeper oolongs" - - Dave

Darjeeling oolong tea