Oolong tea is made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, just like other types of tea. The key difference is in the way that the leaves are processed.
To make oolong tea, the tea leaves are picked and allowed to wither under the sun until they become soft and pliable. The leaves are then lightly bruised by tossing or shaking them in bamboo baskets. This bruising process encourages the leaves to release enzymes that help to create the unique flavor of oolong tea.
After bruising, the leaves are either left to oxidize for a short time, or they are fired in a hot wok to stop the oxidation process. The leaves are then rolled and shaped into their characteristic twisted or curved shape.
Oolong tea is known for its unique flavor, which is a blend of the robustness of black tea and the delicate sweetness of green tea. It is a beloved tea in China and Taiwan, and is gaining popularity around the world.
Photo by Katie Long Photography