Bergamot Oolong


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Bergamot Oolong

Postby gingkoseto » Sep 26th, '08, 16:56

Oh I am excited about the bergamot oolong I recently obtained. It's a variety of oolong hybridized with bergamot tree. I looked forward to it for a long time.

I got Grade 3 and Superior Grade, and only tried Grade 3 so far. The Grade 3 is already so good! Now I am really wondering how much better the Superior Grade can get!

The tea bears subtle fruity flavor and floral fragrance and is different from all the other oolongs I had before.

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Postby edkrueger » Sep 26th, '08, 17:48

That is not possible. They couldn't have been hybridized. They aren't even in the same order, much less the same family, genus or species. Most hybrids are hybridized from species of the same genus. On rare occasions two species from different geniuses, but same family, can be hybridized.

The only way such of a "hybrid" would be possible is if they genetically implanted genes (DNA) from one species into another. Also, that would not be a hybrid, but a transgenic organism.
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Postby gingkoseto » Sep 26th, '08, 19:41

edkrueger you are right. I was wrong saying they were hybridized. I looked it up in the dictionary and found it should be called grafting. Thanks for pointing it out!

So here is the correction, bergamot oolong is obtained from tea tree grafted with bergamot branches.
Last edited by gingkoseto on Sep 27th, '08, 09:14, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby PolyhymnianMuse » Sep 26th, '08, 20:32

gingko wrote:edkrueger you are right. I was wrong saying they were hybridized. I looked it up in the dictionary and found it should be called grafting. Thanks for pointing it out!

So here is the correction, bergamot oolong is obtained from tea tree grafted with bergamot branches.

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Wow I just check out the wiki on plant grafting... thats some heavy duty stuff and very interesting. So there are tea bushes out there that are half bergamot tree? :shock:
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Postby gingkoseto » Sep 27th, '08, 09:12

PolyhymnianMuse wrote:
gingko wrote:edkrueger you are right. I was wrong saying they were hybridized. I looked it up in the dictionary and found it should be called grafting. Thanks for pointing it out!

So here is the correction, bergamot oolong is obtained from tea tree grafted with bergamot branches.

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Wow I just check out the wiki on plant grafting... thats some heavy duty stuff and very interesting. So there are tea bushes out there that are half bergamot tree? :shock:


Actually when I was little, I vaguely remembered almost all apples, peaches, pears... their trees must had grafting to have edible fruits. Then one day I found a friend of mine just planted a peach tree and got peaches without grafting. I was so shocked and felt like I was from mars :P
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Postby edkrueger » Sep 27th, '08, 12:09

Grafting is cool, the plants don't even have to be related. Navel oranges need to be grafted, because they can't reproduce.
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Postby ABx » Sep 30th, '08, 04:01

I actually have to wonder about this. Although I admitedly don't know much about grafting, my understanding has always been that the result is just basically two separate plants growing off of eachother and sharing the same flow of nutrients. So the result would be basically the same as just having a tea plant and a bergamot plant growing side-by-side, at least as far as the tea.

ginko wrote:It's a variety of oolong hybridized with bergamot tree.
Are you sure it didn't just say something like 'a fusion of oolong and bergamot'? Oolong isn't a particular type of plant, it's just a tea leaves that are processed differently. White, green, oolong, and black teas all come from the same plant. It may have been more tastefully done, but this basically just sounds like an oolong earl gray. I do admit that it sounds a bit interesting, though. I've had earl gray black, green, and white, and have always wanted to try an earl gray oolong just to fill in the blank :) (In case you're wondering, the bergamot kind of over-powers the white tea, but then I tend to think that of just about any flavored tea these days. It's still not entirely bad, though.)
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Postby edkrueger » Sep 30th, '08, 13:03

Oolong is a type of plant or at least oolong cultivars are rarely used for any thing else.
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Postby PolyhymnianMuse » Sep 30th, '08, 16:50

edkrueger wrote:Oolong is a type of plant or at least oolong cultivars are rarely used for any thing else.


Could you provide a source where it says oolong is a type of plant? Perhaps tea grown in certain areas is specifically grown to make oolong tea, but oolong just refers to the processing and the fact that its in between a green and black tea. At least thats how I understand it :?
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Postby gingkoseto » Sep 30th, '08, 19:55

To ABx, it's not a flavored tea. It is a variety that has at least 100 years of history (some say 300 years and I am not sure of that). I had been looking forward to it for a long time. After I posted this I saw some other posts here also mentioned it, calling it Fo Shou oolong - people use a lot of Asian language here and I was lost in translation :P

I heard of it many years ago but didn't see much of it in the market. Just recently I read some article saying that it used to be much more popular and production used to be huge to supply southeastern asia market. Then during the early economic development of China, many farmers chopped down their bergamot oolong trees and replace them with some kind of profitable orange trees. Now teas are getting more and more expensive, and probably they will win farmers back.

To edkrueger and PolyhymnianMuse, I would agree with each of you in certain degree. I believe all oolong cultivars are more similar to each other than they are to other tea trees for green or black teas. But I somewhat believe it's possible to use oolong to make "green tea", even though it may not be the best use of it. Actually the aging oolong discussed in another post, to some extent, it's already close to black tea or pu'erh.
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Postby edkrueger » Sep 30th, '08, 21:38

PolyhymnianMuse wrote:
edkrueger wrote:Oolong is a type of plant or at least oolong cultivars are rarely used for any thing else.


Could you provide a source where it says oolong is a type of plant? Perhaps tea grown in certain areas is specifically grown to make oolong tea, but oolong just refers to the processing and the fact that its in between a green and black tea. At least thats how I understand it :?


There are cultivars that are selectively bred to make one and only one type of tea. In Taiwan there are many oolong cultivars: Jade, Four Seasons, Jin Xuan, Soft Stem etc. If you take an Darjeeling and process it in the style of an Oolong, it will taste like a Darjeeling. Likewise white tea refers to both a style and a cultivar.

Sources:
http://houdeasianart.com/download/Oolong_Species.pdf
http://teapersonality.blogspot.com/2008 ... e-t-e.html[/url]
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Postby ABx » Oct 2nd, '08, 00:03

I think it might be fair to say that Anhui may be the only White Tea producers, but not the only producers of white tea. This would be similar to the difference between Yellow tea (any tea specially made as an offering to the emperor) and yellow tea (basically a differently processed green tea, you could say it's between white and green tea).

It's fair to say that some cultivars are favored almost exclusively by oolong producers, but not all cultivars are used for exclusive types of tea. It's oolong made from a particular tea plant, not from an oolong plant.

Is Huang Jin Gui not an oolong, or Bian Cha is not a green tea? (Bian Cha is green tea made from the same cultivar as Huang Jin Gui.) Is my Shi Ru Xiang green not a green, or the Shi Ru Xiang oolong not an oolong?

The bottom line is that what differentiates the actual tea is how they process it. The plant is camelia senensis, and that doesn't change for any of the teas. Some strains will be favored over others, but that doesn't mean that you can't make a different type of tea from the same leaves, and you can't have a "green oolong black tea." You can, however, find Darjeeling oolongs :) They may taste like Darjeelings, but they do have the smoother characteristics of an oolong and lack the black tea "bite." At least part of the Darjeeling flavor comes from the growing environment. Get some of the ones grown outside of Darjeeling proper (like the Temi) and they have some of the same flavors but are different.

Another angle to consider is that vendors sometimes get told silly things. If you ask Brian from Shan Shui teas why he has a category for "Wulong" under "Oolong," he'll tell you that it's because the Taiwanese high-mountain oolong farmers told him that their tea is the only "wulong" and all the others are "oolong" - nevermind the fact that they're just two different Romanizations for the exact same word, and pronounced the same. Everyone else I've talked to (including Guang, whose family are Taiwanese gaoshan farmers/producers) says there's no difference, except the obvious spelling. At least one mainland Chinese I've talked to has also said that "wulong" is technically more correct (I've also read something about "oolong" being a bastardization by westerners some time ago, but I digress.)
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Postby wyardley » Oct 2nd, '08, 00:35

ABx wrote:At least one mainland Chinese I've talked to has also said that "wulong" is technically more correct (I've also read something about "oolong" being a bastardization by westerners some time ago, but I digress.)


Wūlóng is the hanyu pinyin for 乌龙 (simplified). The reason it's often romanized "oolong" is because "oolong" is closer to the phonetic pronunciation, and because the use of the word in the Western world probably predates hanyu pinyin anyway (that system was approved in 1958 according to Wikpedia). I don't think it's so much an issue of Westerners bastardizing it (though I could be wrong), as Chinese people needing to write something that Western people could read when they exported products.

"Wulong" is technically correct as a way to write it, however "wu long", with a strong "w" as most English speakers would be likely to pronounce it phonetically, is not the correct way to pronounce it. oo is pretty close, though I think not exactly the same (maybe a native speaker can give a better description). Same for 'wu yi', 'wu shu', etc. (most other u or w sounds, e.g., "wang", have more of a "w" sound, because "oo" as a dipthong with another vowel (like "ah") naturally creates a w sound). The o in "long" is closer to "oh" than "ah".

Better explanation of the basics of how to pronounce pinyin @ http://www.sinosplice.com/lang/pronunciation/01/
(see also the explanation for when "w" replaces "u" near the bottom).

Taiwan didn't (until recently) have a standard system for romanization (many folks there use zhuyin (bopomofo), which doesn't use the western alphabet at all), so Taiwanese often use different systems, or just spell things phonetically. This causes confusion since some of the Taiwanese systems use 'ch' where Chinese pinyin uses 'zh' (the sound is like a "j" with the tongue further back), ts where Chinese pinyin uses 'ch', etc. Taiwan had an official system (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tongyong_pinyin) from 2002-2008 that was very similar to Hanyu Pinyin, and according to Wikipedia, Hanyu Pinyin is now the official standard there as well.

I have heard similar horror stories to yours, like the owner of a tea shop who told me that they needed "wu long" tea for weight loss, and wouldn't believe that her "oolong" tea was the very same thing.

My favorite "wulong" related mix up was a site that kept referring to "wu yi" tea, meaning (I'm pretty sure) oolong tea, not the specific wulong teas that come from Wuyishan.

In any event, I typically use "oolong", because otherwise, people pronounce it wrong. Heck, I know how to pronounce it and I still sometimes hear "wu long" in my head when I see it written out that way.

But it's a really tough position for tea vendors to be in, because different customers want different amounts of information. If you write the Chinese name, people will mispronounce it, or won't understand the meaning. If you write the Chinese name in a non-standard way, you make things even worse. If you translate the name, you risk translating it poorly (e.g., "Iron Goddess" for tie guan yin, which doesn't really convey the meaning of the Chinese name properly), or making it difficult for someone who knows something about types of tea to figure out what the tea is.

Even if you provide the tea's name in hanyu pinyin, with the diacritic marks indicating tones, it's still not always possible to know the tea's actual name / meaning in Chinese unless you provide the characters too. Personally, I like it when vendors provide as complete information as possible, but I understand when vendors choose not to.
Last edited by wyardley on Oct 2nd, '08, 00:55, edited 3 times in total.
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Postby wyardley » Oct 2nd, '08, 00:38

ABx wrote:Another angle to consider is that vendors sometimes get told silly things. If you ask Brian from Shan Shui teas why he has a category for "Wulong" under "Oolong," he'll tell you that it's because the Taiwanese high-mountain oolong farmers told him that their tea is the only "wulong" and all the others are "oolong" - nevermind the fact that they're just two different Romanizations for the exact same word, and pronounced the same.


ps - This is really ridiculous... it amazes me that someone who believes this is selling tea, and specializing in Chinese tea.

I wonder if the farmers told him this just to make him look stupid to his customers. More likely a miscommunication of some sort.
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Postby ABx » Oct 2nd, '08, 01:56

wyardley wrote:
ABx wrote:Another angle to consider is that vendors sometimes get told silly things. If you ask Brian from Shan Shui teas why he has a category for "Wulong" under "Oolong," he'll tell you that it's because the Taiwanese high-mountain oolong farmers told him that their tea is the only "wulong" and all the others are "oolong" - nevermind the fact that they're just two different Romanizations for the exact same word, and pronounced the same.


ps - This is really ridiculous... it amazes me that someone who believes this is selling tea, and specializing in Chinese tea.

I wonder if the farmers told him this just to make him look stupid to his customers. More likely a miscommunication of some sort.
Hehe, I know what you mean. I really suspect that they were saying "We [in Taiwan] call it "wulong" and the Chinese call it "oolong"" or something similar. In this case "call" meaning spell.

He had engaged me on that topic from my post on my blog about his teas, just academically. I asked around and researched it as much as I could trying to find something to back up his assertion, but I pretty much came to the conclusion that you posted above - though not as well drawn together :) Your statement that it predates pinyin rings a bell; I think that's what it was. I was speaking rather loosely on that point and over-simplifying an already vague memory. It had been over a year since I last thought about it, so the correction is appreciated.
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