Is a traditional Chinese tea (Camellia sinensis) somewhere between green and black in oxidation. It ranges from 10% to 70% oxidation. It is among the most popular types of teas served in typical Chinese restaurants.
In Chinese tea culture, semi-oxidised oolong teas are collectively grouped as qīngchá (Chinese: 清茶; literally "clear tea"). Oolong has a taste more akin to green tea than to black tea: it lacks the rosy, sweet aroma of black tea but it likewise does not have the stridently grassy vegetal notes that typify green tea. It is commonly brewed to be strong, with the bitterness leaving a sweet aftertaste. Several subvarieties of oolong, including those produced in the Wuyi Mountains of northern Fujian and in the central mountains of Taiwan, are among the most famous Chinese teas.
Oolong tea leaves are processed in two different ways. Some teas are rolled into long curly leaves, while some are pressed into a ball-like form similar to gunpowder tea. The former method of processing is the older of the two.
Chinese Oolong Teas
Dà Hóng Páo (大红袍)
Is a very important Wuyi Red tea. Legend has it that the mother of a Ming Dynasty emperor was cured of an illness by a certain tea, and that emperor sent great red robes to clothe the four bushes from which that tea originated. Three of these original bushes, growing on a rock on Mount Wuyi and reportedly dating to the Song Dynasty, still survive today and are highly venerated. At one point, less than one kilogram of tea was harvested from these plants each year, of which a portion was retained by the Chinese government. In 2005, the remainder of this original and real Da Hong Pao was auctioned, with an initial asking price of 4000 RMB/100 g, but often reaching millions of dollars per kilogram
Shuǐ Jīn Guī (水金亀)
Is a very characteristic Wuyi Oolong tea, whose name literally means Golden Marine Turtle. The tea produces a bright green color when steeped and is much greener than most other Wuyi Oolong teas. It is one of the four famous bushes of Wuyi, a Si Da Ming Cong.
Tiě Luó Hàn (鉄羅漢)
Is a Si Da Ming Cong and a light Wuyi tea. Tie Luo Han, all but unknown abroad, is the cultivar responsible for one of the four most famous yan cha, the great "rock teas" grown on cliffs in the Wuyi Shan area of Northern Fujian. Legend tells that this tea was created by a powerful warrior monk with golden-bronze skin, hence the name Tie Luo Han, which means "Iron Warrior Monk".
The color of the leaf is very green and the resulting tea is of a lighter color. The taste of the tea should be full-bodied and supple, with gentle floral notes and the traditional long-lasting finish.
Bái Jī Guān (白鸡冠)
Is a Si Da Ming Cong and a very light Wuyi tea. It is named after a rooster who gave up its life whilst protecting a child.
Legend has it that the name of this marvellous tea (White Cockscomb) was given by a monk in memorial of a courageous rooster that sacrificed his life while protecting his baby from an eagle. Touched by the display of courage and love, the monk buried the rooster and from that spot, the Bai Ji Guan tea bush grew. Bai Ji Guan’s wonderful complex taste makes it one of the best Oolong in the world.
Unlike most Wuyi teas the leaves of this tea are yellowish rather than green or brown
Ròu Guì (肉桂)
Is a Wuyi Oolong tea; the name literally means Cinnamon. The tea can be difficult to prepare but its distinctive sweet aroma can be brought out up to 7 steepings. It was first developed during the Qing Dynasty.
This tea may be traditionally processed producing a dark dry leaf and a rich smell or processed according to new consumer standards, giving it a leaf of mixed color and a more fruity aroma
Shuǐ Xiān (水仙)
Is an Oolong tea from Mount Wuyi, it has a heavy honey fragrance. Cheaper varieties are grown elsewhere in Fujian and have a burnt taste and are very popular with Chinese restaurants. The infused color is very dark brown showing that the tea is a very dark Oolong.