New to Oolongs...How to Choose?


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

New to Oolongs...How to Choose?

Postby TimeforTea » Feb 22nd, '08, 15:45

I am new to tea, and I enjoy mainly greens, whites, and tisanes. The other day, I had my first oolong--adagio's grapefruit oolong--and I did not like it. Today I had adagio's jasmine #12, and after the first couple of sips which were too floral, I am enjoying it immensely.

How do I choose oolongs that taste similarly to green or white teas?
How do I tell if an oolong is light vs. dark, before brewing it? :?
What are good light oolongs to try for a newbie?

Thanks in advance.
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Postby Victoria » Feb 22nd, '08, 15:56

I would say that to start with flavored oolongs is not a good way to judge an oolong. Some here may differ in opinion, but I don't think oolongs are meant to be flavored, and are best enjoyed for their natural nuances and flavors.

I think you will like the greener oolongs, and you can tell the difference by looking at them. They are more green and the dark ones are more roasted and more brown. It is all in the amount of roasting or oxidization. Once you try a few of each you will decide if you like dark or greener. But you may also find you like degrees of both.

On the way are few to try. I think you will like the Ti Quan Yin. It is one of the most popular oolongs. And Adagio's is a very decent representation. I really enjoy it.
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Re: New to Oolongs...How to Choose?

Postby scruffmcgruff » Feb 22nd, '08, 16:30

Time4Tea wrote:What are good light oolongs to try for a newbie?


I think baozhong (aka pouchong) is great. It is the oolong most like green tea, but it has a lot more strength to it than greens, IMO.
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Postby xine » Feb 22nd, '08, 17:03

Victoria's Own wrote:I would say that to start with flavored oolongs is not a good way to judge an oolong. Some here may differ in opinion, but I don't think oolongs are meant to be flavored, and are best enjoyed for their natural nuances and flavors.

I think you will like the greener oolongs, and you can tell the difference by looking at them. They are more green and the dark ones are more roasted and more brown. It is all in the amount of roasting or oxidization. Once you try a few of each you will decide if you like dark or greener. But you may also find you like degrees of both.

On the way are few to try. I think you will like the Ti Quan Yin. It is one of the most popular oolongs. And Adagio's is a very decent representation. I really enjoy it.


I agree w/ V.O. -ditch any sort of flavored tea when you want to taste how that particular variety tastes.


TKY by adagio is the one I recommend to those looking to explore Oolongs for the first time. If they like that, I rec. the fancy jade oolong, our oolong #18. :)
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Postby TimeforTea » Feb 22nd, '08, 17:08

Victoria's Own wrote:I would say that to start with flavored oolongs is not a good way to judge an oolong. Some here may differ in opinion, but I don't think oolongs are meant to be flavored, and are best enjoyed for their natural nuances and flavors.

I think you will like the greener oolongs, and you can tell the difference by looking at them. They are more green and the dark ones are more roasted and more brown. It is all in the amount of roasting or oxidization. Once you try a few of each you will decide if you like dark or greener. But you may also find you like degrees of both.

On the way are few to try. I think you will like the Ti Quan Yin. It is one of the most popular oolongs. And Adagio's is a very decent representation. I really enjoy it.


Thanks Victoria. I knew I could count on you for oolong advice. I can't wait to receive the ones you sent. Hope you receive mine today, too. How's the matcha going?
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Re: New to Oolongs...How to Choose?

Postby henley » Feb 22nd, '08, 17:08

Time4Tea wrote:How do I choose oolongs that taste similarly to green or white teas?


I'm on the other end of the spectrum. I don't like green teas. How do I choose oolongs similar to black tea? I know Scruff posted about oolong #40 being close to black & I've got some of it coming but what about other oolongs? TIA for any suggestions!
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Re: New to Oolongs...How to Choose?

Postby TimeforTea » Feb 22nd, '08, 17:09

scruffmcgruff wrote:
Time4Tea wrote:What are good light oolongs to try for a newbie?


I think baozhong (aka pouchong) is great. It is the oolong most like green tea, but it has a lot more strength to it than greens, IMO.


This sounds perfect. Thanks, Scruff. I recall Tenuki mentioning this oolong, too.
Last edited by TimeforTea on Feb 22nd, '08, 17:13, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby TimeforTea » Feb 22nd, '08, 17:11

xine wrote:I agree w/ V.O. -ditch any sort of flavored tea when you want to taste how that particular variety tastes.

TKY by adagio is the one I recommend to those looking to explore Oolongs for the first time. If they like that, I rec. the fancy jade oolong, our oolong #18. :)


Thanks, Xine! I will make a note to try adagio's TKY in my next order.
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Re: New to Oolongs...How to Choose?

Postby scruffmcgruff » Feb 22nd, '08, 17:36

henley wrote:I'm on the other end of the spectrum. I don't like green teas. How do I choose oolongs similar to black tea? I know Scruff posted about oolong #40 being close to black & I've got some of it coming but what about other oolongs? TIA for any suggestions!


Oriental Beauty (aka Eastern Beauty, aka Bai Hao, aka Oolong #40), like I mentioned, is the closest to black tea as far as oxidation goes. That said, I think you may enjoy Adagio's "Wuyi Ensemble" and/or their "Ooooh Darjeeling", both because they are on the higher end of the oxidation range, and because their flavors are, in general, more like black teas than most other oolongs.
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Postby Victoria » Feb 22nd, '08, 18:08

Time4Tea wrote: Thanks Victoria. I knew I could count on you for oolong advice. I can't wait to receive the ones you sent. Hope you receive mine today, too. How's the matcha going?


My chasen just arrived from Japan this week, I was waiting on it before I tried my premium Manten from O-Cha. Tomorrow is the day!!!
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Postby ABx » Feb 22nd, '08, 18:15

Victoria's Own wrote:I would say that to start with flavored oolongs is not a good way to judge an oolong. Some here may differ in opinion, but I don't think oolongs are meant to be flavored, and are best enjoyed for their natural nuances and flavors.

I think you will like the greener oolongs, and you can tell the difference by looking at them. They are more green and the dark ones are more roasted and more brown. It is all in the amount of roasting or oxidization. Once you try a few of each you will decide if you like dark or greener. But you may also find you like degrees of both.

On the way are few to try. I think you will like the Ti Quan Yin. It is one of the most popular oolongs. And Adagio's is a very decent representation. I really enjoy it.
Great post, Victoria :)

I agree with Scruff, baozhong/pouchong is a great one if you like the greener ones. You might also check out the Taiwan (aka Formosa) high-mountain oolongs. Upton has some of both that are good to start with. They're not the best, but if you're looking for an introduction it's a good place to start without spending too much.

henley wrote:I'm on the other end of the spectrum. I don't like green teas. How do I choose oolongs similar to black tea? I know Scruff posted about oolong #40 being close to black & I've got some of it coming but what about other oolongs? TIA for any suggestions!
What is it about greens that you don't generally like?
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Postby Victoria » Feb 22nd, '08, 18:31

ABx wrote: Great post, Victoria :)

I agree with Scruff, baozhong/pouchong is a great one if you like the greener ones. You might also check out the Taiwan (aka Formosa) high-mountain oolongs. Upton has some of both that are good to start with. They're not the best, but if you're looking for an introduction it's a good place to start without spending too much.


Thank ABx. I guess I gotta get onboard the baozhong train, lots of buzz about that one one as of late.

Oy on the Upton though, I haven't found a good one yet. TeaCuppa is the way to go IMHO.
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Postby ABx » Feb 23rd, '08, 02:45

Victoria's Own wrote:Oy on the Upton though, I haven't found a good one yet. TeaCuppa is the way to go IMHO.
I agree that TeaCuppa has superior teas by far, they are my main vendor :) Upton's is pretty decent and inexpensive, though. It's what turned me on to baozhong, and I still brew some up now and again, particularly when I want to make some in quantity.
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Postby henley » Feb 23rd, '08, 15:55

ABx wrote:
henley wrote:I'm on the other end of the spectrum. I don't like green teas. How do I choose oolongs similar to black tea? I know Scruff posted about oolong #40 being close to black & I've got some of it coming but what about other oolongs? TIA for any suggestions!
What is it about greens that you don't generally like?


The greens I tried at a tea tasting were too vegetal & one even reminded me of shell fish (both smell & taste).

Thanx, Scruff, for the additional suggestions. My order from Adagio arrived today so I'm going to play!
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Postby ABx » Feb 23rd, '08, 16:41

henley wrote:The greens I tried at a tea tasting were too vegetal & one even reminded me of shell fish (both smell & taste).
I wouldn't exclude the light oolongs just yet, then. The light oolongs are generally thick, sweet, and floral (much more subtly and naturally so than anything scented/flavored - the aroma is more like clean air in the late spring or early summer). They resemble Chinese greens more in the fact that they're light and smooth.

There are quite a few greens that aren't particularly vegetal, and most aren't fishy, so the statement that light oolongs more like greens than blacks is a pretty broad statement. They just don't have the briskness or acidity that defines the darker teas, they're much smoother, rounder, more aromatic, etc instead.
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