Oolong means “black dragon” in Chinese, a reference to the appearance of the tea after it has been processed. The long, twisted, blackish-green leaves reminded the poetic Chinese person who named it, of a dragon. But the “black dragon” leaves produce a tea that is graceful, alluring and a world favorite.
Oolong is a relative newcomer to the ancient world of tea. It was developed in Formosa (Taiwan) in the mid-nineteenth century. A cool-climate tea, it is also grown in the misty hills of China’s Fujian province. While all oolongs are aromatic with a lingering finish, Chinese oolongs tend to be more green and floral, reminiscent of orchids. Formosan oolongs, which are oxidized and fired for a longer period, have a more ripe and fruity profile: hints of peach and apple flavor are typical.
We’ll take a moment to point out that the many hundreds of different tea styles all come from the same plant species: Camellia sinensis. As with grapes, coffee and other agricultural products, the distinctively different flavors and appearances of the different styles of tea are a result of terroir (pronounced tur-WAH, the microclimate where it is cultivated) and processing techniques. Learn more about tea in our Gourmet Tea Section.
Two of Republic Of Tea’s selections of oolong
If you like oolong, deepen your appreciation by trying different varieties—grown in different locations—and experience the differences of terroir. Republic of Tea, one of our favorite tea purveyors, offers oolong lovers a beautiful selection of oolongs.
Whether for yourself, a tea-tasting party or a gift for your favorite tea lover, the Republic Of Tea makes it easy to comparison-taste different oolongs. While some of the more rare teas may seem pricey at $13.50 to $37.00 per canister (22¢ to 62¢ per cup), it could be half that cost, since the full-leaf tea can be infused at least twice.
“Rare” refers to a tea that comes from a specific location—a single estate or an even smaller microsite— and by result of its small growing area, is available in limited quantities. It offers very complex flavors to the demanding palate. Don’t even think of adding milk and sugar or you’ll cover up the glory of a rare tea! (In fact, Republic Of Tea’s products are so fine in general that each one should be brewed properly and tasted straight. Milk and sugar are best used to enhance less flavorful teas.)
Take a look at these lovely hand-picked oolongs:
WHOLE LEAF LOOSE OOLONG TEAS
OOLONG TEA BAGS
There are two options for those who prefer tea bags to loose tea:
Loose tea or tea bag, the Republic Of Tea’s airtight metal canisters keep the tea fresh (and can be repurposed when the original tea is gone). The attractive label designs are good for gifting.
The teas are certified gluten-free and certified kosher by OU.
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