Posts tagged Oolong
The tea making process of Bruising

Bruising is a Tea making technique that breaks down the structures of leaf cells in order to promote oxidation of the tea leaves. It is a very important step in the making of oolong tea and black tea as the bruising allow for oxidative enzymes to work. 

In the making of oolong tea, the bruising is done by tossing or tumbling the tea leaves in containers. After the tossing and/or tumbling  the edges of tea leaves are bruised and the oxidation starts. 

Depending on the desired level of oxidation, some oolong teas are just lightly oxidized, while some other oolong teas are further oxidized. Taste of oolong teas can vary largely due to different degrees of oxidation. The less oxidized oolong teas usually taste more floral and vetegtal. The darker, more oxidized oolong teas take on a fuller taste profile that is earthy, nutty, and sometimes toasty.

Pictured here is the infused leaves of the lightly oxidized  Jade Oolong  tea. It is noticeable that the edges of the leaves are bruised while the overall appearance of the leaves remained green. 

Pictured here is the infused leaves of the lightly oxidized Jade Oolong tea. It is noticeable that the edges of the leaves are bruised while the overall appearance of the leaves remained green. 

Black tea on the other hand, after the bruising, usually goes through the oxidation process completely. This means most black teas are fully oxidized. And as a result, they have a full bodied profile with little to no vegetal taste.  

IMG_0154.JPG

Pictured above is a brewed cup of Golden Monkey black tea.  

Want more information? Visit our other blog posts and the information page on our website.

Pouchong Oolong

Pouchong Oolong is a very green (slightly oxidized) Oolong from Taiwan.  

The leaf appearance of Pouchong is green and wavy. Click  here  to view this product.

The leaf appearance of Pouchong is green and wavy. Click here to view this product.

It is arguably the greenest Oolong of all. Pouchong brews a very floral cup with melon like fragrance.  It has a lot of the green tea characteristics but does not have the sharp green tea vegetal notes. Its name in Chinese, literally "the wrapped kind", refers to a practice of wrapping the leaves in paper during the drying process that has largely been discontinued due to advancement in tea processing. At its best, Pouchong gives a floral and melon fragrance and has a rich, mild taste.

FullSizeRender.jpg

Brewed Pouchong. 

What Is Oolong Tea?

What is Oolong Tea

Oolong tea is semi fermented/oxidized tea. The degree of oxidation varies among different types of Oolong. This variation in the oxidation gives Oolong tea unique characters and complexity. Oxidation levels of different Oolong teas can differ greatly. Some are very green with an oxidation level of only 10-15%, while some are very dark at 85%. As a result, the taste profile can range from floral and fragrant to smoky and malty.

You will see (particularly in the infused leaf) that the edges of the leaves are slightly bruised (brownish). The reason for this is that the leaves are lightly bruised to start the oxidation process. Oolong teas usually are not picked too early or at too tender a stage. They must be produced immediately after picking.

Unlike leaves for green tea, those destined to be Oolong are wilted in the direct sun and then shaken in tubular bamboo baskets to bruise the leaf edges. The bruising is what make the edges oxidize faster than the center. After 15-25 minutes (depending upon ambient temperature and humidity levels) the tea is fired, locking in the special flavor profile.

How to brew Oolong Tea

 

Quality Oolong teas have complex taste profiles. Usually, same tea leaves can be infused multiple times (2-3 times).

Water temperature for steeping Oolong varies depending greatly on oxidation level. Generally, the darker or more oxidized types of Oolong tea the hotter the water. For example, the Fomosa Oolong and Oriental Beauty Oolong are best when steeped in freshly boiled water, because they both have higher levels of oxidation. One the other spectrum, the less oxidized Jade Oolong and Pouchong Oolong are best when infused in water that is 195°F.

Amount of tea leave to use really depend on personal preference and taste. Generally, we use 2-4 grams of leaves per 8 oz. cup. We would recommend using less tea leaves to start.

As for brewing/steeping tea, we suggest steeping 2-3 minutes for the first infusion and 3-5 minutes for the second infusion. If a third infusion is desired, steep for 5 minutes.

Enjoy!