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It’s neither black tea nor green tea, even though it comes from the same plant, Camellia Sinensis. Tea Masters can create a different flavours by even the slightest modifications in the process.

Oolong tea undergoes a more complex process than black or green tea. Black tea is fully fermented and oxidized; oolong tea is fermented but only partially oxidized.  Freshly picked tea leaves are withered, bruised and rolled, before being rolled a second time, roasted, and left to dry completely. The length of time in each process will influence the final product. Oolong tea will tend to have a lighter colour than black tea because the heating processes stops the fermentation process. 

Since the leaves are twisted or rolled twice in the process, they dry curled or are rolled in tiny balls. As the leaves steep, they unfurl. It’s fascinating to watch; David’s Tea shares a short video on their website. When we steep, osmotic diffusion occurs. Chemical compounds need time to diffuse into the water until the compounds in both the leaf and the water become equal. It’s important, therefore, that when you are steeping ooling tea, you choose an infuser that leaves space for the leaves to unfurl, giving you a more flavoursome and robust tea!

Another contributing factor to taste in oolong tea is when the leaves are harvested. Normally tea is grown year round but is not harvested in winter. Therefore, leaves in Spring can absorb floral notes around it, and in Fall, woody and malty notes. Generally, green tea and oolong are harvested in the Spring.

Be infused today with tea, love and joy!

Happy Monday!

Resources:

Oolong: Green or Black

7 Things You Need to Know About Oolong