Oolong Tea Origins
China is considered to be the birthplace of tea. China produces many different styles of tea that are grown and processed through different regions of the country. There are seven categories of Chinese Tea – green tea, red tea (what is usually called black tea in the US), white tea, yellow tea, oolong tea, puerh tea, and black (or dark tea). Each of these categories contains teas that are grown and specifically processed in different regions of China.
Oolong teas are semi-oxidized, meaning they lie somewhere between green and red tea. Oolong teas are processed at varying levels of oxidation – the lower the oxidation level, the lighter and more floral the tea is, the higher the oxidation level, the darker, sweeter, and more robust the tea tends to be. Oolong teas are also rolled dried and baked, depending on their specific style, which tends to bring out specific notes within the finished tea. There are multiple styles of oolong tea that are grown and produced in China and Taiwan.
Taiwan produces multiple kinds of tea, but is most known for its oolong teas. Taiwanese tea is often grown in higher elevations, resulting in teas that are quite floral, delicate, and full of energy. Many of the processing techniques and methods applied to Taiwanese oolongs have been borrowed from Mainland China. Some of Taiwanese oolongs mimic some of the shapes, styles, baking, and roasting methods of Chinese oolongs, but take on completely different flavors than that of their Chinese counterparts.