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Oolong Tea

There is something in the nature of tea that leads us into a world of quiet contemplation of life.

— Lin Yutang

Oolong is neither black tea nor green tea; Oolong falls into its own category of tea. Still, an Oolong can eventually acquire more of the characteristics of black tea or more of the characteristics of green tea, depending on the direction the tea master takes in processing the tea.

As with any tea, the taste of Oolong is partly determined by the degree of oxidation. Black tea is completely oxidized and green tea only moderately. Oolong is somewhere in between. Every tea master can have his own preference in this. This also applies to the shape of the tea leaf. Oolong tea is traditionally rolled, twisted, or curled into tight balls or thin strands. These artisan molding techniques depend on the traditions of the tea master who processes the loose tea leaves. Rolling is an important aspect of oolong processing that changes the appearance, color and aroma of the final tea. Depending on how and when the leaves are rolled during processing, the tea master can subtly alter the final flavor of the tea.

Chinese Oolongs are grown in high mountainous regions over rocky terrain and in cool weather. It is the unique geography and harsh environment that give these Oolongs the rich flavor they are famous for. Taiwan oolongs have traditionally been less oxidized (10% to 40%) and are therefore usually greener in color and lighter in flavor than Chinese oolongs. The styles of oolong produced across the country vary as much as the wine styles that come from France.

Curious about the rich diversity of Oolong tea?

The webshop of The Smallest House offers a nice selection of loose Oolong tea. This collection is of course also available in our tea shop in Amsterdam.

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