Oolong questions


Owes its flavors to oxidation levels between green & black tea.

Oolong questions

Postby taitea » Aug 29th, '08, 10:33

Some questions that I'm guessing will be easy to answer:

Rolled oolong: what does this mean? is this when the dry leaves look like little balls/pellets?

Roasted oolong: how can you tell that an oolong is roasted? Will the dry leaves just look darker? Will it have certain taste characteristics? What about the opened up leaves?

Next question is more oriented towards wu yi oolongs. I've noticed that even after brewing, the leaves seem to stay all twisted and don't really open up much. Why is this?

thank you!
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Postby Proinsias » Aug 29th, '08, 11:16

Rolled: yip, you're right. It means the leaves have been rolled up. Tie guan yin or high mountain oolong from Taiwan is often tightly rolled and stuff like dan cong or wuyi is usually just left alone or twisted a little. There are stories kicking about people being horrified at the size of the bag of tea given to them and being placated by being told it is rolled so tightly that the bag is actually as heavy as the iron statue of Guan Yin

Roasted tends to look darker and has, for want of a better word, a more roasted taste. To get an idea of the taste you can take some very green oolong and roast it over the stove a little as Imem shows here: http://tea-obsession.blogspot.com/2008/ ... -fire.html

Wuyi tea tends to be fairly highly roasted which means it is less likely to open back up to it's original shape. Much like the difference between young sheng and young shu, the more processing the less likely it is to change it's physical structure hugely during brewing.
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Postby scruffmcgruff » Aug 29th, '08, 11:30

One thing that is still pretty confusing to me is how to tell whether a tea is "dark" because of heavy roasting (many wuyi yanchas, dancongs, and other oolongs) or heavy oxidation (bai hao, some others depending on the producer). This is what I understand the distinction to be, though:

Dark, black dry leaf, green-ish wet leaf: Heavy roast
Brown dry leaf, brown wet leaf: Heavy oxidation
Black dry leaf, brown wet leaf: Heavy roast and oxidation

Of course there are gradations and in-between categories, and it is often difficult to determine between the latter two categories, but you get the point.
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Postby taitea » Aug 29th, '08, 13:17

Thanks for the replies. Oxidation vs. roasting confuses me as well, which was going to be my next question.

Instead, how can you tell if the leaves have been machine rolled, or rolled by hand?
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Postby wyardley » Aug 30th, '08, 13:49

taitea wrote:Thanks for the replies. Oxidation vs. roasting confuses me as well, which was going to be my next question.

Instead, how can you tell if the leaves have been machine rolled, or rolled by hand?


Oxidation is exposure to oxygen (in the case of oolongs, partial oxidation before some sort of processing step that prevents further oxidation); roasting is done after that, and can either be present or not present with oolongs. If there is roasting, it can be either high fire or low fire, and there can be multiple roastings.

To me, it's a lot easier to look at this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Teap ... -small.png
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