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Tea Tuesday: All About Oolong

Today, tea is one of the world’s most consumed beverages. And in the United States, over the past few years, tea consumption has sharply risen to become the fourth largest tea market based on retail value. But our preferred choice of tea is very different from eastern nations, as the vast majority of tea consumed in the United States is iced tea. There are four main groups of tea in existence across the world—white, green, oolong, and black. Today, we’re giving you the scoop on oolong tea, as it is perhaps the most complex type to produce, and is so uncommon in the Western part of the world, that there isn’t even an English word for it! What is Oolong Tea? Like all teas, oolong comes from the Camellia sinensis tea plant. However, the defining characteristic is the extent to which it is oxidized. Oxidation refers to the chemical reactions that cause the browning of tea leaves, and is also responsible with the flavor and aroma produced. Oxidation commences after the leaf has been plucked from the plant and it undergoes processing—drying, withering, rolling, and heating. Oolong teas are semi-oxidized, which is somewhere in between a black tea and a green tea, giving oolong characteristics of both. In fact, the name oolong comes from the Chinese word wu-lang, which means black dragon, because it represents a cross between green and black tea. Origins and Background There are many legends regarding the true origins of oolong tea, but it’s generally accepted that it dates back to the early Qing Dynasty of ancient China. For two centuries, it was the specialty of mainland China, and in the early 19th century, tea farmers introduced it to Taiwan, which is now the world’s leading producer of exceptional quality oolong tea. Flavor of Oolong As we said, the length of the tea’s oxidation determines the resulting flavor, and is also responsible for the variety of oolong teas available. Those that are more lightly oxidized have a floral aroma and taste, while the more oxidized oolongs have very creamy and full aromas. Even the environment in which the tea is grown has an impact on the overall flavor. For example, certain oolongs have a distinct mineral-like flavor due to the unique growing conditions. Our Oolong Teas At CoffeeAM, you can experience a few different types of oolong tea for yourself, and discover why it’s so widely loved across the Eastern part of the world. First, we have China Magnolia Oolong Tea, a smooth, fragrant tea, that’s not only soothing, but it also offers great health benefits. Grown on the mountainous landscape of Fujian, China, Chinese Oolong is the official tea used in the 400 year old Chinese Fujian Tea Ceremony. By adding magnolia essences, we have made that classic tea even more refreshing. Next, there’s Formosa Green Dragon Oolong Tea, a Taiwanese tea with a tantalizing aroma, delicate and smooth flavor with floral undertones, and a lightly lingering aftertaste. Try steeping it multiple times to bring out an even richer flavor, and no loss of quality. With each cup, you’ll se why Taiwanese oolong is considered to be so precious and world-renowned. Finally, there’s the classic Formosa Oolong Tea, a full-bodied, fruit flavored tea. It’s not too strong or too light, and lacks the bitterness of many teas. If you need a quick pick-me-up, enjoy it hot or cold, with or without sugar. Interested in trying even more exhilarating gourmet teas from around the world? Visit us today at CoffeeAM, and check back again to learn more tidbits, trivia, and news from the world of gourmet tea and coffee!
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