Roasted Oolong = Dark tea?

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

Jan 5th 15 12:43 am
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Roasted Oolong = Dark tea?

by Jneb802 » Jan 5th 15 12:43 am

Hey guys,

I recently got a Charcoal Roasted Dong Ding from a tea house called Aroma Tea. Im wondering if you guys would consider this a Dark tea? Im not super clear on what exactly constitutes a Dark tea. I know this is a 2014 tea so it wasn't aged. My understanding is that Dark teas are post-fermented, is that correct? Does roasting ferment the tea leaves?

Here is a link to the supplier site.
http://aromateashop.com/index.php?route ... uct_id=363

Thanks guys!

Jan 5th 15 3:53 am
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by bonescwa » Jan 5th 15 3:53 am

dong ding is oolong. Dark tea is something else, heicha

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Jan 5th 15 5:12 am
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Re: Roasted Oolong = Dark tea?

by Tead Off » Jan 5th 15 5:12 am

Jneb802 wrote:Hey guys,

I recently got a Charcoal Roasted Dong Ding from a tea house called Aroma Tea. Im wondering if you guys would consider this a Dark tea? Im not super clear on what exactly constitutes a Dark tea. I know this is a 2014 tea so it wasn't aged. My understanding is that Dark teas are post-fermented, is that correct? Does roasting ferment the tea leaves?

Here is a link to the supplier site.
http://aromateashop.com/index.php?route ... uct_id=363

Thanks guys!
Dark tea is not really any classification for a tea. It might be an attempt to describe either the color of the leaves or the tea, itself. A high roasted oolong may give a very dark colored liquid, whereas a black tea like Darjeeling will not give a very dark liquid.

Fermented tea is not the same as oxidized tea. Oxidition is a process of exposing the processed leaves to the air for a finite amount of time. This will change the taste and aroma of a tea. Oxidized teas are oolongs, which are semi-oxidized, and black/red teas which are fully oxidized.

Then there are fermented teas like Puerh which is a tea processed to make use of the bacteria occurring naturally and sometimes introduced into the 'compost' of tea leaves through heat and moisture. This is a different process than oxidation.

A charcoal roasted Dong Ding can be lightly roasted or high-fired to make it darker. It is still an oolong tea and should be described as such. Roasting has nothing to do with fermentation or oxidation when speaking about teas.

Hope this helps.

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Jan 12th 15 3:59 am
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Re: Roasted Oolong = Dark tea?

by ABx » Jan 12th 15 3:59 am

If you talk to a Chinese speaker about "black tea," hei cha is what will come to mind. (What the west calls black tea, they call hong cha -- red tea, because the infusion is red-ish.)

As Tead Off points out, fermentation is different from oxidation. Hei cha is fermented (by micro-organisms, whereas hong cha is oxidized). Puerh is sort of loosely hei cha (at least the cooked/ripe stuff), but technically puerh is its own separate category. Hei cha came before cooked puerh, and they adapted the post-fermentation process to puerh in the 70s (debatably, IIRC) in order to make a puerh that doesn't need as long to age.

Examples of hei cha would be liu bao (maybe liu an) and brick tea. I believe most of it is just sort of miscellaneous brick tea, but you don't usually find it in the west. I still have a brick from Jing's that you'd have no idea that it's not shu puerh (except perhaps by taste, and even then you'd be forgiven for confusing them).

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Jan 12th 15 10:12 pm
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Re: Roasted Oolong = Dark tea?

by Evan Draper » Jan 12th 15 10:12 pm

ABx wrote:Puerh is sort of loosely hei cha (at least the cooked/ripe stuff), but technically puerh is its own separate category. Hei cha came before cooked puerh,
DOWN WITH RUNNING-DOG PUERH EXCEPTIONALISTS

:wink:


puerh isn't heicha until it is

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Oct 20th 15 6:23 am
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Re: Roasted Oolong = Dark tea?

by john.b » Oct 20th 15 6:23 am

They're saying what is essentially the same as my understanding, it could just be a little clearer. Per my understanding:

Pu'er is one type of hei cha, the general category name. Pu'er comes from a village name but the designation has been expanded to a slightly larger region.

Hei cha translates literally from Chinese as black tea, hence the confusion, because in English what we call black tea they call red tea (referring to the brewed liquid color rather than the oxidized leaves, as already mentioned).

Really a non-fermented sheng pu'er isn't yet "dark" in any sense, it's still essentially a green tea with a variation in processing, but I'm not sure there is any distinction to be made about a newly created non-fermented pu'er being something else, no other label to apply. The boundary condition problem would never work out if there were since fermentation changes by storage conditions.

Shou pu'er really is fermented, just using a different process, not aging, but instead a form of wet piling. By most accounts the tea can still change over time but not to the same degree and in the same way sheng does.

Oolong is oxidized by roasting, a different thing. It can be intentionally aged but this isn't referred to as a form of fermentation, just flavor changes due to the effects of age.

Any of this seem wrong?

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Oct 20th 15 7:46 am
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Re: Roasted Oolong = Dark tea?

by Tead Off » Oct 20th 15 7:46 am

All puerh teas that are fully processed fall into the category of fermented tea, both shou and sheng.

The Shoucha is put through an accelerated fermentation process that renders it very dark.

Oolongs are not oxidized by roasting. The oxidation process happens before they are roasted. The roasting is a type of 'finishing' to the tea. Oxidation happens with exposure to air. Too much and you lose the aroma and flavor.

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Re: Roasted Oolong = Dark tea?

by wyardley » Oct 22nd 15 5:17 pm

john.b wrote: Oolong is oxidized by roasting, a different thing. It can be intentionally aged but this isn't referred to as a form of fermentation, just flavor changes due to the effects of age.
Oolong isn't oxidized by roasting. Oolong is partially oxidized to one degree or another, then it has "kill-green" applied; baking / roasting is last in the process.

If you haven't already, I find that:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tea_proce ... essing.svg
is generally pretty good.

http://www.amazon.com/Tea-Lovers-Travel ... 0982654006
also has more in-depth discussion (and photos) of oolong tea processing.

Also, post-processing oxidation will happen to some degree with oolong and pu'er, however, it will take a long time. So, oxidation (vs. post-fermentation) is part of what happens in aging to raw pu'er, but it's probably not the only thing.