what "color" does Oolong classified as?

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what "color" does Oolong classified as?

by LaybackPandas » Mar 30th 09 5:18 am

green tea classified as green, puerh as black...etc

what color is oolong?

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Re: what "color" does Oolong classified as?

by xuancheng » Mar 30th 09 5:34 am

LaybackPandas wrote:green tea classified as green, puerh as black...etc

what color is oolong?
Pu'er is not necessarily classified as black tea. Black tea generally undergoes a wodui or piling process. So many people consider shuo pu'er to be black tea, while new sheng pu'er is green tea.

oolong is also called qingcha 青茶 in Chinese. Some people like to call it "blue tea." Through different periods of Chinese history and in different dialects this character has had a slightly different meaning, so if you absolutely must have a colour, you can choose from blue, green, blue-green, black or dark.

If you are talking about the popular chinese 6 colour scheme for tea classification, oolong is its own type. Red, Yellow, White, Black, Green and Oolong (qingcha.)
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by danibob » Mar 30th 09 5:34 am

I don't think oolong is classified as one color. Depending how much the leaves are roasted the tea itself can either be light yellow/green (green oolongs) or dark/red (dark oolongs). Generally, if the leaves look green expect a light-colored infusion, and if they are browner, expect a darker infusion.

Hope that helps :)

edit: xuancheng beat me to it. more eloquently put also! ;)

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by CutieAgouti » Mar 30th 09 6:31 am

I usually hear it as oolong or blue-green. And it's oolongs do have a lot of color variety. But I read in a book it's considered a "blue-green"

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by stanthegoomba » Mar 30th 09 6:22 pm

CutieAgouti wrote:I usually hear it as oolong or blue-green. And it's oolongs do have a lot of color variety. But I read in a book it's considered a "blue-green"
As xuancheng pointed out: 清茶 (qīngchá). My guess is it has more to do with the colour of the semi-oxidized leaf than with brewed tea, because I've never had an oolong come out turqouise! :shock:

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Re: what "color" does Oolong classified as?

by edkrueger » Mar 30th 09 8:28 pm

LaybackPandas wrote:green tea classified as green, puerh as black...etc

what color is oolong?
Pu-erh is more like green than black.

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by entropyembrace » Mar 30th 09 8:39 pm

Both types of pu-erh and oolong tea are quite distinct from white, yellow, green, red and black tea. I think they're most likely not classified as a colour because both pu-erh and oolong leaves show a huge range of colour while there's much less colour variation in the various colour named categories.

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by edkrueger » Mar 30th 09 8:41 pm

entropyembrace wrote:Both types of pu-erh and oolong tea are quite distinct from white, yellow, green, red and black tea.
Yes, but of those they are most like green –at least in processing.

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by entropyembrace » Mar 30th 09 8:51 pm

How so? Pu-erh is fermented with a microbial culture and oolong is both partially oxidized and roasted.

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by edkrueger » Mar 30th 09 8:59 pm

entropyembrace wrote:How so? Pu-erh is fermented with a microbial culture
What? Maybe you should look up how Puerh is made. In short Sheng Pu-erh, it is picked, has its oxidation quickly stopped, steamed, pressed and stored store. For Shu Pu-erh its picked, has its oxidation quickly stopped, piled up, wet, left alone for a few days, steamed and pressed. Neither uses a microbial culture.

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by gingkoseto » Mar 30th 09 9:17 pm

Oolong literally mean "black dragon". The traditional oolong was quite black. So black is the color :D

A book I read about oolong (China Oolong by Gong Zhi) mentioned that oolong was the first tea exported to the west, earlier than the red tea or so called "black tea". When exported, oolong was called "black tea" for one time period. By the time the red tea was exported, dealer would call it "black tea" to make it sound similar to oolong. Later on, red tea was called "black tea" in the west, while the name "black tea" was initially for oolong. That's the book's opinion and I found it somewhat plausible.
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by scruffmcgruff » Mar 30th 09 9:45 pm

entropyembrace wrote:How so? Pu-erh is fermented with a microbial culture and oolong is both partially oxidized and roasted.
Well, sort of. Ed is right when he says young sheng is essentially green tea. The microbe part isn't necessarily intentional (IIRC), at least not like it is with kombucha or beer, it just kinda happens because the leaves are pressed while still damp enough to support microbial activity. Shu puerh is basically the same thing-- it is not intentionally oxidized before the kill-green step (like black/red tea). What happens after that is, admittedly, quite different than what happens with other teas.

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by entropyembrace » Mar 30th 09 9:59 pm

Sorry Ed, I was talking more about Shu pu-erh which is more common...it's piled and fermented in a moist environment where the ambient microbial cultures of the factory create the fermentation of the Sheng into fully ripe Shu pu-erh.

Now I'm wondering just what the difference between Sheng and green tea is though...even loose maocha is quite different from any green teas I've ever tried but I can't think of what stage of the production process is different. There has to be something to produce such a different tasting tea right?

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by wyardley » Mar 30th 09 10:13 pm

edkrueger wrote:
entropyembrace wrote:How so? Pu-erh is fermented with a microbial culture
What? Maybe you should look up how Puerh is made. In short Sheng Pu-erh, it is picked, has its oxidation quickly stopped, steamed, pressed and stored store. For Shu Pu-erh its picked, has its oxidation quickly stopped, piled up, wet, left alone for a few days, steamed and pressed. Neither uses a microbial culture.
Well the fermentation happens because of microbes, but they're not explicitly added.

[New] sheng pu'er is green tea for all intents and purposes. Whether it can still fall under the category of hei cha, or at which exact point a sheng pu'er becomes hei cha is a matter of some debate. See http://teadrunk.org/viewtopic.php?id=26 if you're interested in a long (and somewhat dry) discussion about it.

I have seen people refer to qing cha as 'semi-green' in English too.

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by entropyembrace » Mar 30th 09 11:04 pm

Sheng maocha is often pan fried at the end of the processing. If you were to put it directly into a sealed bag, it would remain green tea. I would say it becomes black tea as soon as it is pressed into cakes. They steam it, getting it all soggy and then press it into cakes and leave it to dry slowly. The microbes start the process of fermentation at the moment the temperature of the tea cake falls to the proper level. If hēi chá is defined by fermentation, then it becomes hēi chá as soon as this fermentation process begins.
From wyardley's link above.

I wonder about the sheng maocha sold to consumers? Old sheng maocha has clearly aged not lost it's flavour and aroma as green teas generally do and the young sheng maocha tastes much more like a sheng pu-erh cake than green tea.