Oolong Tea


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

Oolong Tea

Postby teachat » Jun 8th, '05, 14:05

Is there any difference between Orthodox & Oolong. Could you help me in manufacturing process?

San
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Postby teachat » Jun 8th, '05, 14:05

San--

Thanks for the note.

Oolong is a variety of tea that is oxidized somewhere between green and black teas. Orthodox is a method of picking leaves (any leaves) wherein they are only picked by hand.

Hope this helps,

Chris
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Postby teachat » Jun 8th, '05, 14:06

All oolongs are necessarily orthodox, correct?

Evan Draper
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Postby teachat » Jun 8th, '05, 14:06

Evan--

Although all the Oolongs I've seen are orthodox, i don't think they have to be. I know that some Japanese gardens grow Oolongs, and Japan is almost exclusively CTC (machine harvested).

Keepin' my eye out for any non-orthodox oolongs,

Chris
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Postby teachat » Jun 8th, '05, 14:06

Hmm. Perhaps this calls for a clarification of terminology. Ultimately, I think orthodox and CTC should prove useful distinctions for black teas only. CTC stands for cut-tear-curl, a machine that processes leaves prior to oxidization. CTC shreds leaves to tiny, teabag-suitable particles. On the other hand, the orthodox method crushes and rolls the leaves, either by hand or with a Rotorvane machine, to maintain the whole leaf for loose brewing.

Leaves for oolong tea do not endure wholesale rolling or crushing; rather, they are alternately shaken and dried to bruise the edges of the leaf, producing a "semi-fermentation." The resulting product, according to Jane Pettigrew at least, is always whole-leaf. The problem for me is the existence of fannings-grade oolong teabags, produced by Twinings and others. I can see three possibilities: 1)whole leaves undergo the shaking and drying, and the fannings are byproducts of the process, eventually sorted out from the whole leaves, 2)whole leaves undergo the shaking and drying, and then are shredded further to produce the fannings, or 3) withered leaves are processed by CTC, and the resulting green fannings receive shaking and drying. I doubt #3 would work, and if it did, I doubt the results would look anything like the above-mentioned teabag contents now in front of me. In #1 and #2, any machine processing of leaves is not strictly CTC, nor does it occur prior to and for the purposes of oxidization.

To address a different matter, CTC has nothing to do with harvesting methods. Tea can be hand-picked (plucked) or machine harvested. Hand-plucking targets the first two leaves and bud, while machine harvesting is less exact. The results of Japanese machine harvesting may be used to create less-dainty sencha and bancha, but neither of these teas (nor any other green teas) are processed using a CTC machine.

Evan Draper
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Postby teachat » Jun 8th, '05, 14:06

Evan--

Thanks for the note.

As usual, you are correct on all points.

I'll have to do a little more homework on this!

Soon,

Chris
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