shaolin said

Oolong teas


I’m new to Steepster. I have been drinking loose leaf jasmine and PG tips with milk and sugar my whole life. I recently discovered the world of tea but the more I learn the more I feel I do not know!

In particular, different types of oolong confuse me – I was wondering if someone would be able to enlighten me? Some oolong I’ve bought is green, tasting grassy, and others (e.g. £1 Sea Dyke China Fujian Oolong) is dark and aromatic. I actually really liked the green colored one but do not know the name – I’ve heard names like tieguanyin , milk and taiwanese moutain thrown about.


9 Replies

At a very high level (over simplification here), the 3 primary types of tea are green, black, and oolong. These teas are classified based on how much they are oxidized. Green teas are typically 0%-15% oxidized. Black teas are 85%-100%, and oolong is 15%-85%. This huge range for oolong allows for many very different types of oolong, ranging from very green (15%) to very black (85%) or somewhere in the middle (i.e. 50%).

Tie Guan Yin has been trending more and more green, around 20%-30%, but you can also find darker TGY. “Milk Oolong” is a common name for Alishan Jinxuan (i.e. tea from Alishan mountain in Taiwan, grown with the Jinxuan cultivar), which has a very subtle but natural milky flavor and mouthfeel. It is also on the greener side (20%-40%). People also often talk about “gaoshan” which is ‘high mountain’ tea, typically from Taiwan. These teas are also typically on the greener side (Lishan, Alishan, Da Yu Ling, Shan Lin Xi are all classic examples).

Good luck in your tea journey!

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shaolin said

Thank you so much for your reply! I have had the pleasure of tasting some very nice (and expensive) teas occasionally but often they are in chinese packets and the owner has no idea about them so I never learn!

I really liked the green oolongs so I’ll look out for the Milk and mountain teas you mentioned.

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In my opinion, oolong is the most varied type of tea. Not only does it vary widely in oxidation level – from very green to quite dark brown as you experienced, but there’s also the level of roast to contend with as well. So you can have anything from a low oxidation, unroasted oolong to a highly oxidized and dark roast oolong (and everything in between).

The shaping can also vary between rolled and unrolled or flat-leaf styles.

If you’re looking to explore oolongs, I would highly recommend giving TeaVivre a try. They have a good selection and offer small sample sizes at an affordable cost.

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thefundu said

I am glad to visit this thread as I am a newbie in this world of tea. We in Indian culture are more deviated towards black tea and that too with milk. A very little population takes black tea and even a quarter of them now drinks green tea, because they have just become health conscious.
I have heard this term ‘Oolong’ but have never tried to explore it. Now I know at some clear level the types of tea and why they are different.
Where in India can I explore more types of tea? Anybody?

A few well-established companies that specialize in Indian teas and are also located in India:

I have also been happy with Indian teas ordered from Capital Tea Limited, but they are located in Canada and I’m not sure of their shipping rates to India.

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lizwykys said

Hi, thefundu! I am not so familiar with sources in India, but I would suggest checking out Vahdam Teas:

I hope someone who knows more can suggest other ideas!

thefundu said

Thanks liz…I am already onto ordering an assortment pack…

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Lindsay said

The explanation from Leafy Green Tea above is a good summary, but I would add that some oolongs are also roasted, which adds another layer of flavour (often something reminiscent of baked goods) on top of whatever the base flavour is (usually grassy/floral for the greener oolongs, or more malty for the darker oolongs). And even among roasted oolongs you can have a lighter roast or a darker roast.
If you’re in the UK, I recommend What-Cha tea – looks like they have plenty of oolongs that you could try.

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Lumpkin said

Oolong tea, also known as dark tea, is a kind of half-fermented tea with distinctive features in the tea category. It has not only the thick and fresh flavor of red tea,but also the fragrant aroma of green tea. After infusion, the middle tea leaves are green while those on the edge are red. People describe it vividly as “green leaves embroidered with red margin”. Meanwhile, it is between non-fermented tea and fermented tea. Its aftertaste is sweet and fragrant. Among the six tea series, the tea ceremony of Oolong tea is the most complex and time-consuming and the brewing method is very exquisite, so Oolong tea is also called “Gongfu” tea.
If you want to know more about oolong tea, I highly recommend you try UMITEASETS. They have good choices and each tea has a detailed introduction.

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