entropyembrace wrote:Isn't it silly to think that thousands of tea producers share secret knowledge of how to make oolong just because they're Chinese? Especially if an overview is published in English on Wikipedia?
Also what exact same production process are we talking about? There's a huge variety of oolong even within China, how is a high fire wuyi yancha anything like a nuclear green tgy?
I didn't say it was secret. I'm not trying to fetishize Oolong tea as some kind of Ancient Chinese Secret.
But just because the basic process has been documented doesn't mean that a) it's easy to do (like any craft, it requires hands-on skill to really master), or b) that people in other places will use the same methods. So it's been done - for example, I seem to recall one or two actual Darjeelings that follow the oolong production process, and Zealong. Most of the places that have done it successfully have imported Chinese workers and Chinese equipment because they have the requisite experience.
I think mostly what we're trying to say is that just because a tea is partially oxidized doesn't mean it's automatically an oolong (Korean hwang cha is one example of a partially oxidized tea that's not an oolong).
I don't think most of the partially oxidized Darjeelings use the same process at all, I'm sure someone may have more details, but my guess is that they may follow the same process as for black (red) tea, but just stop the process before the tea is fully oxidized. I can't vouch for the veracity of the information, but see, e.g., the explanation athttp://www.cantonteaco.com/blog/2014/01 ... an-secret/
[edit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darjeeling ... ing_oolong
has a little information about Darjeeling "oolongs" as well]
And I think some of the "air conditioning" processed TGY does follow a slightly different process in parts, but as I understand it, the steps are pretty much the same for all oolongs. The parameters (degree of oxidation, degree of roast, type of roast) vary, the picking style and the way the tea is shaped (ball vs. stripe), and of course, some manufacturers do all steps by hand vs. mechanizing some or all steps.