Advice for an Oolong newbie

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

Sep 8th 18 8:51 pm
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Advice for an Oolong newbie

by bjmomo » Sep 8th 18 8:51 pm

Hi everyone,

I'm looking for advice about how to explore oolong teas. Looking for some reading that's a bit more substantial than the wikipedia page--are there any good books on Chinese tea? And also would like to know what people recommend in terms of buying and tasting. I used to leave near a great tea shop in Mountain View, CA (Tea Village on Castro street), and I would buy oolongs more or less at random--just whatever smelled nice. Now I'm in Chicago and I haven't managed to find an equivalent, but the array of things available online is dizzying! In particular, I'd like to buy a few things that are good representatives of various types of oolong but I'm not exactly sure what to look for.

many thanks!

Sep 12th 18 1:26 pm
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Re: Advice for an Oolong newbie

by Bok » Sep 12th 18 1:26 pm

Read up on Teamasters blog, also the archives. Lots of info mostly about Taiwanese oolongs.

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Sep 18th 18 12:56 pm
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Re: Advice for an Oolong newbie

by Tea&Whisky » Sep 18th 18 12:56 pm

I can tell you what I did. Wikipedia's page on oolong is actually a decent base to start with, at least to get the names of some varieties. Just always be sure to verify whatever info you get from there by searching other sites. Also check out Teapedia. There's better general info on there than Wikipedia. (http://teapedia.org/en/Main_Page)

First, I think it's a good idea to start with a focus on just one country. (China, Taiwan, etc.) Personally, I found the Chinese oolongs easiest to start with as they're pretty well categorized by region. Oolong in China is produced mainly in Fujian and Guangdong provinces with some smaller amounts produced elsewhere. Within Fujian, oolong is concentrated in the Wuyi mountains in northern Fujian and Anxi county in southern Fujian. So basically you can start by exploring either the Wuyi mountains (North Fujian), Anxi County (South Fujian), or Guangdong Province. Then go from there.

I recommend first reading about the four famous Wuyi rock teas (Si Da Ming Cong): Da Hong Pao, Shui Jin Gui, Tie Luo Han, and Bai Ji Guan. You can find info on them online very easily, and that should be enough to get your feet wet.

One last thing, if you come across any tea online or in a store that you want to try, I highly recommend looking for a place that sells small samples. When I first started drinking tea, I happened upon one I wanted to try in a store and just bought it on a whim. It was 100g of tea. Luckily I liked it, because otherwise I would've been stuck with it.

Hope all this helps.

Sep 19th 18 6:11 am
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Joined: Sep 10th 18 7:09 am

Re: Advice for an Oolong newbie

by FBee » Sep 19th 18 6:11 am

Second that, in the beginning, stay open minded and sample as much as you can. Only by comparison can you learn.

The only factor that might dilute your result are your brewing skills. A lot of teas can turn out quite differently, depending on how you brew it.