What’s Oolong?



Oolong tea is a semi-oxidized tea.  It is often considered to be somewhere in between Green and Black tea, with both light and dark notes.  Different types of Oolongs vary in the level of oxidation that they receive.  Traditional styled Oolongs tend to be more oxidized than modern style Oolongs.  The modern style of oxidizing Oolongs is focused on preserving the bright fresh lightness of the leaves.  The modern style preserves the greenness in the finished tea.  Though lighter Oolongs are meant to preserve a freshness in a similar way to Green tea, leaves meant for Oolongs are bruised before being fixed.  This bruising promotes oxidation and withering, that allows the leaves to oxidize slowly.  Oolong is also one of the favorite teas to roast.  Roasting Oolong promotes smoothness in the darker notes of the tea.  Oolongs typically have a butter sweet aroma when processed in the modern style, and a deeper, charcoal aroma in the tradition style and when roasted.  Oolongs are known for coming rolled, in the shape of a ball or in strips similar to Black tea.

Oolong teas are most famously produced in China and Taiwan.  The methods of production have mutually effected the production in both of these places.  One of the most noted diversions was between the modern and traditional styles.  However, the different methods are practiced in both places today.

Chinese Oolongs: Fujian Province

Anxi Tie Guan Yin, or Anxi Iron Goddess of Mercy, is a famous Oolong that is ball rolled and enjoyed both roasted and unroasted with a floral aroma and lasting sweet flavor.  The liquor color of this tea depends on whether it is roasted.  Unroasted, it is green, roasted, it is golden.

Anxi Huang Jin Gui, or Anxi Golden Cassia is a ball rolled Oolong known for the yellow color of its dry leaves and yellow liquor.  The flavor of this tea known for its smooth sweetness and lasting nutty taste.

Anxi Ben Shan, or Anxi Original Mountain, is a lightly roasted ball rolled Oolong with a complex flavor of both high and low notes that include floral and nutty tastes.

Anxi Mao Xie, or Anxi Hairy Crab, is a ball roasted Oolong characterized by the hair on its leaves.  This tea has a thick, sweet flavor with less floral notes.

Anxi Jin Guan Yin, or Golden Guanyin, is another ball roasted Oolong with bright, slightly sweet vegetal flavors and a sweet mineral aroma.

Wu Yi Da Hong Pao, or Wu Yi Big Red Robe, is a famous Chinese roasted Oolong that is charcoal roasted.  This tea has a copper-gold color and sweet fruity roasted flavor.

Wu Yi Shui Jin Gui, or Wu Yi Golden Water Turtle, another roasted Oolong, is noted for its dark chocolate aroma and floral taste.  However, this tea does not go bitter.    

Wu Yi Tie Luo Han, or Wu Yi Iron Monk, is a roasted Oolong with dark chocolate, roasted, sweet, mineral flavor and creamy aftertaste.

Wu Yi Bai Ji Guan, or Wu Yi White Cockscomb, is characterized by its yellow/brown colored dried leaves.  This is a rare Chinese Oolong with a sweet, floral, and fruiting flavor and light liquor.

Wu Yi Rou Gui is a roasted Oolong characterized by its aromatic dry, cinnamon flavors.

Wu Yi Shui Xian is a roasted Oolong known for its refreshing floral flavors and smoothness.  This tea is also known for its notes of honey.

Taiwanese Oolongs

Taiwan is in close proximity to China’s Fujian province and is most famous for its Oolong teas.  Taiwan is where the modern style of Oolong tea production originated.

Jin Xuan, or Golden Lily, is a famous ball rolled Taiwanese Oolong with light a golden finished leaf color and lightly golden liquor.  This tea is known for its creamy viscosity and milky aroma.

Si Ji Chun, Four Seasons of Spring, is a fresh green ball rolled Oolong that is lightly oxidized and lightly roasted.  This tea has a mineral, fruity flavor and rich, bright gardenia aroma with a light amber liquor.

Cuiyu, or Green Jade/Emerald Oolong, is a bright green ball rolled Oolong that is lightly oxidized with yellowish green liquor and a floral flavor.

Qing Xin, or Green Heart, is a light green ball rolled Oolong with sweet bright floral aroma and sweet creamy flavor.

Nantou Dong Ding, or Frozen Peak Oolong, is a ball rolled Oolong typically with a slight roast and lower oxidation.  This tea has a light color and floral aroma with sweet, creamy, fruity flavor.

Muzha Tie Guan Yin, or Iron Goddess, is a heavy roasted ball rolled Oolong with a deep roasted, minty aroma and a roasted slightly sweet flavor.

Wen Shan Bao Zhong, or Wen Shan Wrapped Kind, is a strip Oolong that is only slightly oxidized, and therefore remarkably green with a light green liquor.  This tea has a smooth, toasty,  butter flavor with a floral, sweet aroma.

Dong Fang Mei Ren, or Oriental Beauty, is a strip Oolong tea that is heavily oxidized with a goof amount of buds in the finished tea product.  This tea has a fruity, floral aroma and famously sweet taste.

Gao Shan, or High Mountain, is a ball rolled Oolong that is less oxidized and unroasted with lighter green colors in the finished leaves and light golden liquor.  This tea has sweet milky flavors and a floral aroma.


If you’re a fan of Oolong tea, tell us what you’d like to try and we’ll look into sourcing it!  Have a favorite flavor profile?  Let us know below!


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