Like all teas, oolong starts out as a varietal of the evergreen Camellia sinensis bush. And like our other fine teas, it is a result of how it is cultivated, where it is grown, elevation and climate—and most of all, how it is processed. But unlike most teas of the world, oolong is a relative newcomer, developed in Formosa (Taiwan) in the mid-nineteenth century. Its name means “black dragon” in Chinese in reference to the long, twisted leaf forms.
Oolong gains its alluring character through a meticulous, multi-step process that begins with withering and a brief oxidation in direct sunlight. As soon as the leaves give off a distinctive fragrance—often compared to apples, orchids or peaches, this stage is halted. The leaves are rolled, then fired to halt oxidation when it is about half way between black and green tea. The caffeine content is also midway between black and green teas. Chinese oolong teas are often quite green and floral. Oolong tea from Taiwan, known as Formosan oolongs, are oxidized longer, fired longer and brew a more ripe, fruity cup.
We invite you to sip and explore the sublime poetry that is a cup of oolong from The Republic of Tea.
Steeping Oolong tea is Easy
- Fill the kettle with fresh, filtered water and heat to a rolling boil.
- Steep tea for 3-5 minutes (if using a tea bag) or 5-7 minutes (if using full-leaf tea) using one teaspoon of tea leaves or one tea bag and 6 oz of heated water per cup.
- Experiment to find your favored steeping time. Enjoy Sip by Sip.