Styles of Oolong Tea

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


Jan 13th, '14, 01:42
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Styles of Oolong Tea

by umijoshi » Jan 13th, '14, 01:42

It's sort of hard to find information on different types of oolong, from what I've gathered around the net so far, it really comes down to the following list. Everything else seems to be location dependent.

http://i.imgur.com/ZmnEm57.png

Can someone who knows more about oolong add to this?

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Jan 16th, '14, 18:33
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Re: Styles of Oolong Tea

by bagua7 » Jan 16th, '14, 18:33

Well, here. :)

Jan 21st, '14, 23:50
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Re: Styles of Oolong Tea

by Alucard » Jan 21st, '14, 23:50

I came across this today. Hope it helps.

http://teadb.org/taiwanese-oolong-compendium/

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Jan 25th, '14, 18:20
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Re: Styles of Oolong Tea

by ABx » Jan 25th, '14, 18:20

umijoshi wrote:It's sort of hard to find information on different types of oolong, from what I've gathered around the net so far, it really comes down to the following list. Everything else seems to be location dependent.

http://i.imgur.com/ZmnEm57.png

Can someone who knows more about oolong add to this?

I don't really see any value in looking at it this way. There are also inaccuracies in it as well (baozhong/pouchong, for example, is usually only barely oxidized).

The main things are these:
Cultivar -- There are thousands of different strains of the tea plant, just like there are with orchids and such. Each will have unique characteristics, and each will lend best to a type of tea.

Location -- Each area tends to have certain cultivars, and has slightly different growing conditions. More importantly, the tea producers of each region have learned, throughout history, how to best produce the tea plants grown there.

The history also goes back to before there was fast transportation, and so they learn from and compete with the immediate neighbors, which results in each area being known for a particular type of tea with particular characteristics.

This is why many people think of types of tea as "tea from this/that area," even more than they think of it as green, wulong, black, etc. It's probably more productive to think of it that way.

Oxidation and roast -- Even specific types of tea, like Tie Guan Yin and Da Hong Pao, can be produced with the full range of oxidation and roast. They will all have basic similarities among the same kinds, but the levels of oxidation and roast will probably be among the biggest determining factors of your personal preference. If you like a high-oxidation, high-fire Da Hong Pao, then you're probably more likely to like a high-ox, high-fire Tie Guan Yin than you are to like a low-ox, low-fire Da Hong Pao.

It's also important to get acquainted with how oxidation and roast affect the teas -- how it affects the taste, aroma, etc. A high-fire, high-oxidation Da Hong Pao will seem like a totally different tea to a low-oxidation, low-fire Da Hong Pao; until you can tell the difference, it's all going to seem kind of arbitrary and confusing, and you'll probably attribute differences in quality to some of these other things (e.g., it's not uncommon for people to get higher quality green wulong and poor quality high-fire, and conclude that they don't like roasted tea, even though they may like high-fire tea from another area even better).

The best thing you can do is to get the same tea with different levels of oxidation and roast. If you can, getting different cultivars from the same producer (also with different levels of oxidation and roast) would be even better. Drink them back-to-back so that you can see the similarities and differences between them.

In the end, getting some experience with as many different teas as possible will teach you the most. That's when you'll be able to start breaking it down to the specifics of what you like most.

Jan 28th, '14, 00:32
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Re: Styles of Oolong Tea

by Der Teeist » Jan 28th, '14, 00:32

The simplest way of differentiating Wulongs according to where they coem from still works quite well. The 4 main types are:
1. Taiwanese Wulong
2. Minbei (northern Fujian) - Rock Tea
3. Minnan (southern Fujian) - Tie Guan Yin
4. Guangdong - Dan Cong

With this, you can deep dive into each category and start looking at different types (e.g. different "xiangs" for Dan Congs), different locations (e.g. mountains in Taiwan) etc. I think it's a good way to start bring order to the chaos.

Regards,

Moritz

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Jan 28th, '14, 01:28
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Re: Styles of Oolong Tea

by wyardley » Jan 28th, '14, 01:28

I agree with the previous poster in terms of breaking down by geographic area first. There are some good maps out there. And worth keeping in mind that all 4 are in a fairly compact area, and the part of Guangdong that produces oolong (in the Chaozhou area) is geographically (as well as culturally and lingustically) proximate to the other 3 areas.

You can also think in terms of cultivars, though some cultivars exist in more than one of those 4 primary oolong producing regions.

As far as the partially oxidized Darjeeling, there may be a few that are made with actual oolong processing techniques, but I think most don't fall perfectly into the oolong category, depending on whom you ask.

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Jan 28th, '14, 02:11
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Re: Styles of Oolong Tea

by chrl42 » Jan 28th, '14, 02:11

Note, the very first type of Oolong must have been Wuyi tea, tracing back to mid-Qing,

Mt. Wuyi located in northern Fujian, but most tea drinkers stay in southern Fujian, the old document written in Qing dynasty indicated the method of making Wuyi Rock tea was passed down from southern Fukienese (which city I forgot)...but it's just a document.

TGY at first time was to imitate Wuyi Rock tea, because during 18c~19c, the name of Wuyi (Bohea) was very well-known even in Europe, so when they exported via Xiamen, they mixed with Anxi teas and sold as Bohea's.

Dan Cong was similar, up until 19c, Chao Zhou people prefered Wuyi tea as well, Dac Cong, is also possible to say, was born in order to continue the Gong-fu tradition, follows a lot of Wuyi tea style.

Taiwan teas are simiar, too. They started to cultivate and made teas since the mass immigration of Fukinese to Taiwan took place. Some planted trees from Anxi, some from Wuyi..Dong Ding is Wuyi cultivar while Muzha TGY is Anxi cultivar (correct me if wrong)..

So it's pretty much that Oolong (incl. Gongfu) was developed by southern Fukinese and northest Cantonese (Chaozhou/Shantou) people....in 19c the mass immigration also took place to SE asia....and Gongfu continued :wink:

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Jan 29th, '14, 13:40
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Re: Styles of Oolong Tea

by TIM » Jan 29th, '14, 13:40

Image

Just FYI Chris: First documented Wuyi started in the Tang Dynasty (618-906 AD). Thru Song, Yuen, Ming and Qing Dynasty.

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Jan 29th, '14, 14:06
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Re: Styles of Oolong Tea

by the_economist » Jan 29th, '14, 14:06

Great document, thanks Tim!

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Jan 29th, '14, 21:50
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Re: Styles of Oolong Tea

by chrl42 » Jan 29th, '14, 21:50

TIM wrote:Image

Just FYI Chris: First documented Wuyi started in the Tang Dynasty (618-906 AD). Thru Song, Yuen, Ming and Qing Dynasty.

right....but they were green teas, my friend :)

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Jan 30th, '14, 20:34
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Re: Styles of Oolong Tea

by William » Jan 30th, '14, 20:34

chrl42 wrote:
TIM wrote:Image

Just FYI Chris: First documented Wuyi started in the Tang Dynasty (618-906 AD). Thru Song, Yuen, Ming and Qing Dynasty.

right....but they were green teas, my friend :)


They born as green teas? Or am I missing something?

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Jan 31st, '14, 00:00
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Re: Styles of Oolong Tea

by chrl42 » Jan 31st, '14, 00:00

William wrote:
chrl42 wrote:
TIM wrote:
Just FYI Chris: First documented Wuyi started in the Tang Dynasty (618-906 AD). Thru Song, Yuen, Ming and Qing Dynasty.

right....but they were green teas, my friend :)


They born as green teas? Or am I missing something?

right, green teas.

Back then, all of tea was greens, the first document suggesting 'oolong making' was early~mid Qing. Black tea is also 18~19c creation.

Back then, they had 'shipping' issue, shipping via ships or horses, it took months to get another places. If you could export Chinese green to europe, when they are arrived, they are already losing freshness, the same problem also occurs within China, the high-end greens were shipped via Jing-Hang canal, but most of them were using horses, when they arrived in Beijing from south, they were losing freshness, hence they added flavor and such, that's how Beijingers and Szecwanese started to like Jasmine tea....I mean loose-leaf since Ming dynasty.

Before Ming, they were bings or powder-like, they were durable in storing.

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Jan 31st, '14, 00:08
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Re: Styles of Oolong Tea

by TIM » Jan 31st, '14, 00:08

chrl42 wrote:
William wrote:
chrl42 wrote:
TIM wrote:
Just FYI Chris: First documented Wuyi started in the Tang Dynasty (618-906 AD). Thru Song, Yuen, Ming and Qing Dynasty.

right....but they were green teas, my friend :)


They born as green teas? Or am I missing something?

right, green teas.

Back then, all of tea was greens, the first document suggesting 'oolong making' was early~mid Qing. Black tea is also 18~19c creation.

Back then, they had 'shipping' issue, shipping via ships or horses, it took months to get another places. If you could export Chinese green to europe, when they are arrived, they are already losing freshness, the same problem also occurs within China, the high-end greens were shipped via Jing-Hang canal, but most of them were using horses, when they arrived in Beijing from south, they were losing freshness, hence they added flavor and such, that's how Beijingers and Szecwanese started to like Jasmine tea....I mean loose-leaf since Ming dynasty.

Before Ming, they were bings or powder-like, they were durable in storing.


Where are you getting your information from?

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Jan 31st, '14, 10:18
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Re: Styles of Oolong Tea

by William » Jan 31st, '14, 10:18

chrl42 wrote:
William wrote:
chrl42 wrote:
TIM wrote:
Just FYI Chris: First documented Wuyi started in the Tang Dynasty (618-906 AD). Thru Song, Yuen, Ming and Qing Dynasty.

right....but they were green teas, my friend :)


They born as green teas? Or am I missing something?

right, green teas.

Back then, all of tea was greens, the first document suggesting 'oolong making' was early~mid Qing. Black tea is also 18~19c creation.

Back then, they had 'shipping' issue, shipping via ships or horses, it took months to get another places. If you could export Chinese green to europe, when they are arrived, they are already losing freshness, the same problem also occurs within China, the high-end greens were shipped via Jing-Hang canal, but most of them were using horses, when they arrived in Beijing from south, they were losing freshness, hence they added flavor and such, that's how Beijingers and Szecwanese started to like Jasmine tea....I mean loose-leaf since Ming dynasty.

Before Ming, they were bings or powder-like, they were durable in storing.


Thanks for the interesting explanation chrl42!

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