Guest Author - Heather J. Hasan
When you go to your favorite Chinese restaurant, do you usually order tea with your meal? Have you noticed that it has a very unique taste which is similar to green tea but also has characteristics of black tea? This is Wulong, or Oolong, tea.
Wulong tea is in a category of its own: semi-fermented tea. A semi-fermented tea is one whose fermentation time has been reduced (compared to black tea, which is fully-fermented). Because Wulong is only partially fermented, it is not classified as black tea or green tea. Fermentation time varies for the different varieties of Wulong and because of this, the tea may lean more towards black tea or more towards green tea.
The origin of Wulong tea is debatable. Some believe that the tea was discovered in one province; others believe it was discovered in another. Wulong was most likely discovered in the Wuyi Mountains in Fujian province; hence the similarity in the names.
Oolong tea posesses a deep, earthy flavor with hints of peach and apricot. But not only is it tasty, it is also healthful. Oolong tea is believed to contain as many antioxidants as green tea and is know to aid in weight loss.
Wulong is grown in various parts of China and Taiwan. Fujian Province is where the most famous of Wu-long teas is grown, Ti Kuan Yin. Ti Kuan Yin is considered one of Chinaís finest teas. In addition to Fujian, Taiwan is also known to produce superior blends of Wulong tea including Pouchong which is tea known by tea-lovers in every country.
Like other teas, Wulong tea has different grades and qualities. The more expensive the tea the more probable the quality of the tea is superior, although this is not always the case. Plenty of popular tea companies such as Republic of Tea, Adagio, and Stash Tea with highly-esteemed reputations offer Wulong tea at great prices without sacrificing quality.
Because Wulong isn't quite black or green, it should be brewed differently than a green or black tea. Fresh water should be heated to 180 degrees for proper brewing and the leaves should be left to brew for no longer than 3 minutes.