Chinese for "Black Dragon," oolong teas vary greatly; they are in between green teas and black teas; may also be called "Wulong" tea. Some oolongs are lightly oxidized and others are heavily oxidized. They can range in oxidation levels from 10% up to 70%, and also in leaf size. The dried and processed leaves may also vary in appearance from tightly curled, irregular shaped balls to long and narrow twisted leaves; some leaves will remain very green in color and others will be light brown to dark brown. The more oxidized it is - the darker the leaves, and of course, the darker the infusion.
The flavor of oolongs vary greatly, as well; from mild, light and fruity, floral with even a melon aftertaste, to strong, toasty, even chocolate tasting. The greener oolongs no longer have the grassy, vegetal taste of a green tea and the darker oolongs don't quite have the rosy taste of black teas.
Oolong teas are diverse and complex and the caffeine levels vary as greatly as the colors and tastes do. This also makes oolongs possibly the most challenging and difficult teas to manufacture. Larger leaves are also picked for oolong teas, they are durable and can hold up to the lengthy processing techniques. The more mature leaves are rich in aromatic oils.
Oolongs are recognized by country and region, elevation and season and categorized by the varietal (the family of tea plant it is derived from).
YOU MAY SEE SOME OOLONGS ALSO BEING REFERRED TO AS: "BLUE TEA"
Producers of Oolong: China, Taiwan (formerly Formosa) & Thailand
FIVE CATEGORIES OF OOLONG: 1. Pouchong 2. Jade Oolong 3. Amber Oolong 4. Champagne Oolong 5. Aged Oolong
POPULAR OOLONG VARIETIES: Tie Guan Yin or Tie Kuan Yin, Wuyi, Oriental Beauty, Green Dragon, Silver Tip, Jade Pouchong, Tung Ting.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF OOLONG TEAS: Increase metabolism, aid digestion & weight loss and ease eczema and psoriasis symptoms.