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A cup of wu-long tea (or oolong tea) - what's in it?

(� Photographer:Olga Lyubkina | Agency: Dreamstime.com)

Are you familiar with wu-long tea (sometimes called oolong)?

Not know much about it? ...Let me help you!

* The name in China means black dragon

Want to know why it's called wu-long tea?

Key points

* OOlong in China means black dragon OR "champaigne tea"

* they are mostly grown Taiwan.

* Fresh leaves are partially dried (or fermented) in direct sunlight

* leaves are black with a hint of red

* Has a very nice flowery fragrance

* taste is bold but not as much as black tea

* This tea is now one of the most popular tea in Japan.

This tea sometimes has the nick name as the child of green tea and black tea . It's true! Green tea is unoxidized. Black tea is fully oxidized. So this kind of tea would be semi-oxidized.

Some people may call it a type of light green tea because this kind of tea is often used in place of other expensive green tea. They have some similarities in taste.

The name is sometimes written as Wu-long. In Chinese, it means black dragon and black snake. One word refers to both animals.

Most of OOlong tea is cultivated in Taiwan. Some are cultivated in high mountains in Fujian, China.

Formosa Oolong tea is known as the best oolong tea in the world.

Many countries have tried to produce this wu-long tea. But no other product can replace the original.

Formosa OOlong tea has brownish color with a fruity flavor. It is a close relative of original Chinese wu-long tea, but more delicous. Especially to Americans.

This special blend of tea is one of American's favorite tea starting around 1920s.

The discovery of wu-long tea was rather accidental. Original wu-long tea plants were first grown in province Fukien of China.

When the people of Fukien province migrated to Formosa, they attempted to cultivate the tea plants there. They tried to produce the original oolong tea.

Although the growing and processing methods are exactly the same, the oolong tea from Formosa tastes rather different. Of course, in a good way.

Methods of processing can be mimicked. But there are 2 things that can't be.

Due to the differences in soil fertility and the weather conditions between Fukien and Formosa, the Formosa oolong tea is more delicious and full-flavored.

The interesting thing is that Formosa oolong tea is the only type that tastes better than the original oolong.

The green and black teas from Formosa are not much different from the originals. Somehow, the soil and weather make the tea leaves perfect for semi-fermentation of oolong tea.

The grades of Formosa wu-long tea can go from Standard - Good - Superior - Fine - Choice. There are many intermediate range in between.

The ideal conditions for growing this special wu-long tea are that the plants should be grown on the hill sides and the soil has to have a yellowish color.

This blend of tea is harvested from April to the end of November. The harvestments are classified as Spring tea, Firt Summer tea, Second Summer tea, and finally Winter tea.

The weather in the summer is fairly consistent, therefore summer plucking will most likely to produce high-quality tea.

The color of dried this special oolong is greenish black. Its color is the mixture between unoxidized green tea and fully oxidized black tea.

The production of this kind of oolong tea is treated with greater care than other tea. The withering time and the number of drying must be greatly controlled to produce strong yet fruity flavor oolong.

Now this special kind of oolong tea is one of the most popular teas beside black tea. A fact that partly makes this Formosa oolong special is that Formosa is the only place that has the perfect soil and climate conditions to produce this uniqure oolong tea.

One other kind of tea is scented oolong . It's called Pouchong - this tea is scented with Jasmine flowers.

For all wu-long tea...

During processing, the leaves are heated many times - allowing the outer of the leaves to become dark red while the inner is still green.

Due to this control in tea making, the dried tea leaves appear to be reddish black.

Since the tea is semi-oxidized, its taste is stronger than green tea but not as strong as black tea. The characteristic taste of wu-long tea is bold but smooth, with a hint of nuttiness.

OOlong tea also has a very nice and pleasant flowery fragrance.

Recent studies have shown that this tea contains less caffeine than black tea but a bit more than green tea. The amount is about 15-50 mg in a cup. Black tea contains 30-100 mg. While green tea has 10-35 mg/per cup.

This tea is now one of the popular tea in Japan.

How to drink a cup of Formosa oolong tea? Formosa teas are brewed a bit differently than other teas. First, run hot tap water into your teapot and tea cups to warm them.
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