Originally the traditional home of Oolong is China (Guangdong and Fujian provinces) and Taiwan. Small quantities of oolong is also produced in other countries such as India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Korea.
Production of Oolong
Oolong is a semi-oxidised tea made from large, mature leaves.
Once plucked, the leaves are withered to remove some moisture. The leaves are then rolled, this can also happen by twisting or curled into tight balls.
After rolling, the leaves are allowed to oxidise for a while. This process can be repeated several times, creating many layers of flavour and aroma.
This slow, gradual browning at low temperature will oxidise the leaf at a slower rate. This extended and complicated process means that one batch can take several days from harvest to packing.
Oolong teas vary greatly in taste and preparation time.
Darker oolongs ( highly oxidised) generally need very hot or even boiling water to allow the leaves to open up and release their oils.
Greener oolongs (lightly oxidised) can be brewed at around 185-190 degrees. Steep time is really to your preference. Oolongs are designed to be infused multiple times.
For voluminous, large leaf teas, it’s recommended that two teaspoons per cup of water.
All oolongs will unfurl to be quite large leaves, so keep in mind the legroom for them to swim around in. As they will not yield good flavour when crammed into a tiny infused or tea ball.