You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Tea – Oolong’ category.

Subscriptions! They’ve been around for many years but just recently, subscriptions have been taking on new forms and increasing in popularity. From movies to even dinner kits, you can get just about anything through a subscription. So when you hear about subscribing to tea, is it truly a surprise?

The answer is yes! Introducing English Tea Store’s Tea of the Month Subscription! Each month presents an opportunity to try new teas at an unbeatable price. How does it work? You can either try the:

Loose or Tea Bag Month-to-Month Subscription: For $13.95 a month, you can choose between loose leaf tea or tea bags! Loose leaf comes in 4oz and tea bags are in packs of 25. If loose leaf is chosen, two of the 4oz packs are sent or if you prefer tea bags, you will get two packs of 25 teabags. You can also choose to get one loose leaf and one tea bag! Also included are 5 tea bag samples or a 1oz loose tea sample. This subscription is billed monthly and you can cancel at any time.

Tea of the Month, Loose Leaf Yearly Subscription: As previously described above, you will get two 4oz packs of loose leaf tea, plus a 1oz loose tea sample. However, with this subscription, you must prepay a lump sum once a year. For purchasing the yearly subscription, you get to save an extra 20%, bringing your monthly total down from $13.95 to $11.17.

Tea of the Month, Tea Bag Yearly Subscription: This subscription has the same terms as the Loose Leaf Yearly Subscription, only you get to choose the two packs of 25 tea bags per month for a prepaid annual price (same as the Loose Leaf Yearly Subscription), billed once a year when you begin your subscription. A sample pack of 5 tea bags is also included!

The boxes ship out the first week of each month for our subscribers. Tea samples are selected by our own tea enthusiasts, ensuring you will get to try the best teas! You can subscribe to these services for yourself, or you can give one as a gift! Every month will feature new teas to try and you may find a new favorite. Give us a try!

-CD

 

 


*MONTHLY SUBSCRIPTIONS

By purchasing a Monthly Subscription, you agree and acknowledge that your subscription has an initial and recurring payment charge at the then-current subscription rate and you accept responsibility for all recurring charges prior to cancellation, including any charges processed by Englishteastore.com after the expiration date of your payment card.

*ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTIONS

By purchasing an Annual Subscription, you agree and acknowledge that your subscription has an initial pre-payment feature for 12 months of service without a recurring Annual Subscription renewal. Including any charges processed by Englishteastore.com after the expiration date of your payment card.

Orders placed on or after the 1st of the month will ship the 1st business day of the following month.

IMG_5998

Julia Briggs (c)

Is it OK to say I do not like chocolate cake?  I do make chocolate cakes and I do eat some chocolates, like Maltesers but I have never been a fan of rich chocolate cakes so I make this orange flavour cake and put chocolate chips in and it is good.

You can of course use cocoa powder in place of some of the flour if you want a chocolate colour, you can also use milk, plain or white chocolate chips, I only had white chocolate in stock.  I filled half with orange marmalade and half with lemon curd and butter icing to satisfy the whole family!

You will need: Two 8″ cake tins well greased or one well greased 10″ cake tin. Oven 180 C  350 F  Gas Mark 4

  • 8 oz Butter
  • 8 oz Caster Sugar
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • A few drops of vanilla essence
  • A few drops of orange essence
  • 8 oz Self Raising flour
  • Grated rind of an orange
  • juice of half an orange
  • 4 oz chocolate chips
IMG_5995

Julia Briggs (c)

Cream the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy then add the beaten eggs with a spoonful of flour and the vanilla and orange essence.  Fold in the flour, grated rind, juice and chocolate chips.  Pour into two 8″ cake tins or one 10″ tin.  Cook for 35 minutes until well risen and firm to the touch.  Leave in the tin to cool slightly, using a cake tester or needle prick all over the top of the cake and then mix the other half of the orange juice with a little hot water and pour onto the cake. When slightly cool take from the tin and place on a wire rack until completely cold.

Slice the cake, or not if you have made two!  Spread orange marmalade or lemon cheese on the bottom half then cream or butter icing onto the underside of the top half of the cake.  Sandwich them together and enjoy a piece with a cup of tea.

 

–  JAB

One of my favorite ways of enjoying tea may not be familiar among the British but it is beginning to sweep the United States by storm. Bubble Tea, or Pearl Tea and Boba Tea (boba is what bubble tea is called in the area I live in), is a Taiwanese variant of milk and tea but with an added twist of little black bubbles. The term bubble comes from the little black “bubbles” or “pearls”* on the bottom of the cup. But what are they?

The little bubbles are actually a form of tapioca. The tapioca comes from the cassava root. Americans make tapioca pudding from this but the Taiwanese use this to make their little pearls. They make them small or large. In addition to the tapioca pearls, they add other things like pudding (not the British pudding!), aloe, and flavored jellies like lychee or mango. This can be added to the milk teas, clear teas, and even the slushies they make!

Boba

(c) Crystal Derma for use by The English Tea Store

The tea used to make the bubble tea are simple black, green, oolong, and ceylon teas. They are mixed with milk or made iced. Another type of drink that is made by bubble tea shops is called a snow, which is LITERALLY like snow! Just be warned, they’re very hard to drink. The fun part of bubble tea is that the milk tea can be made in many flavors, like coffee, chocolate, taro, red bean, or fruity flavors. The plain teas like black, green, oolong, and ceylon can also be flavored as such. Of course, the MOST fun part is drinking the pearls through a straw. Usually a large, wide straw is given so the pearls can travel up and be chewed (yes, I eat the pearls).

Unfortunately, there is a debate among my fiance and I. Where I come from in California, there is a competition for bubble tea. I like to get the “Tapioca Milk Tea” which is made with black tea and milk and I consider it to be the basic flavor but when I visit my fiance out in Virginia, there isn’t such a flavor. I tried to order it out there and everyone gave me funny looks, including the fiance. The closest thing I had to get was coffee/mocha and it just wasn’t the same.

I have been a fan of bubble tea since about 2001 or 2002 as a teenager and it’s an undying love for me. The local specialty stores are finally stocking the pearls to make my own bubble tea. You need to take the pearls and cook them. Once I obtain these next time I go, I hope to tell you all how to make them! I have also been told it is just black tea that is used to make the original milk tea. However it is made, bubble tea is delicious!

*When consuming these pearls, they CAN be a choking hazard. Do be careful and supervise a young child if they are enjoying one!

~CD

Spring Pouchong is a great tea for Thanksgiving! (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

Spring Pouchong is a great tea for Thanksgiving! (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

Whether you have a more traditional, Norman Rockwell-esque Thanksgiving dinner or something very untraditional and unique, tea is an important part of that feast. And serving the right tea can make the difference to you and your guests between success or “so long, folks.” Not that anyone would walk away from a great meal just because you served the wrong tea with it. But they will walk away from the tea. So, let’s see how to have a bit more assurance that this won’t happen. Here are 5 tasty teas that are great with traditional Thanksgiving dishes and even non-traditional ones.

1 Assam Black Tea (CTC style)

The sky is the limit here, as far as food pairings are concerned. So, no matter what your feast menu consists of, this tea should be a big hit! Great hot or iced, straight (steep only 2-3 minutes instead of 3-5 minutes) or with milk and sweetener.

  • Meats: Hamburgers, Bacon, Fried or Roasted Chicken, Baked Ham, Eggs, Mexican Foods, Lasagna
  • Cheeses: Goat Cheese
  • Grains: Corn Bread, Couscous
  • Vegetables: Chiles, Baked Beans, Mushrooms (Chanterelle, Common, Morel, Porcini)
  • Desserts/Sweets: Dark Chocolate, Carrot Cake, Crème Brûlée, Caramel, Pecan Pie, Ones with Coffee or Mocha Flavors, Cinnamon, Nutmeg

2 Spring Pouchong Tea

You’re probably thinking I’ve flipped my lid, but quite the contrary. This is a rather surprising tea, pairing with more foods than you might think. Plus, although many classify this as an oolong, it is so lightly oxidized that it is more like a green tea.

  • Meats: Chicken Curry
  • Fish/Seafood: Anchovies
  • Cheeses: Gorgonzola, Muenster
  • Vegetables: Potato Salad, Antipasto (even ones with meats in them)
  • Desserts/Sweets: Baklava, Ones with Bananas, Avocados, Ones with Vanilla, Ones with Mint, Fresh Fruit

3 Darjeeling Tea

Another tea style that goes with a wide range of foods. And it can be served hot or iced (I’m keeping all you folks in warmer climates, like the Southwest U.S., in mind here).

  • Meats: Turkey, Hamburgers, Chicken (Buffalo Wings, Curry, Lemon), Lamb, Smoked Ham, Eggs, Quiche, Pork, other meat curries, Carpaccio (an appetizer made of raw meat or fish, thinly sliced or pounded thin)
  • Fish/Seafood: Blinis with Salmon, Smoked or Grilled Fish/Seafood, Anchovies
  • Cheeses: Brie, Cheddar, Cream Cheese, Edam (best with Autumn Flush Darjeeling), Camembert (best with First Flush Darjeeling)
  • Vegetables: Eggplant, Potato Salad, Morel Mushrooms (best with Second-Flush or Autumn Flush Darjeeling), Polenta (cornmeal boiled into a porridge – can be eaten as is or baked, fried, grilled)
  • Herbs/Spices: Cinnamon (best with Autumn Flush Darjeeling), Basil, Ginger, Mint, Nutmeg
  • Desserts/Sweets: Chocolate (Dark, Milk, or White), Baklava, Carrot Cake, Cheesecake, Crème Brûlée, Crêpes, Fruit Compote/Tart (Ones with Apples, Blackcurrants, Raspberries, Strawberries), Pecan Pie, Pumpkin Pie, Fresh Fruit, Avocados

4 Ceylon Green Tea

An all-round good green tea that will be strong enough in flavor yet light enough in its general impression on your palate to suit your guests after that big meal. Consider this your dessert tea, although it can go with a few other foods well, too.

  • Fish/Seafood: Anchovies, Clam Chowder, Prawns
  • Other: Capers, Salsa
  • Desserts/Sweets: Pumpkin Pie, Baklava, Carrot Cake, Cheesecake, Crème Brûlée, Ones with Raspberries, Ones with Caramel

5 Ceylon Black Tea

Another tea that is pretty general when it comes to pairing with foods. So let your inner chef take over when planning the menu and have free rein.

  • Meats: Turkey, Pork, Beef (Hamburgers, Stews, Roasts, Briskets, Steaks), Bacon, Eggs, Quiche, Chicken (Buffalo Wings, Fried, Lemon, Roasted), Baked Ham, Lamb, BBQ Meat, Salami, Lasagna, Antipasto (even ones with meats in them), Carpaccio
  • Fish/Seafood: Ones that are Smoked
  • Cheeses: Cream Cheese, Edam, Gorgonzola, Provolone
  • Vegetables: Any Raw Veggies, Mushrooms (Chanterelles, Common, Porcini), Eggplant, Potato Salad, Baked Beans
  • Grains/Pastas: Corn Bread, Couscous, Macaroni & Cheese
  • Other: Nutmeg, Spicy Foods, Mexican Dishes, Pizza
  • Desserts/Sweets: Pecan Pie, Pumpkin Pie, Baklava, Carrot Cake, Cheesecake, Crème Brûlée, Fruit Compote/Tart, Ones with Caramel, Ones with Bananas, Ones with Raspberries, Ones with Vanilla

Wishing you a great dinner and some lovely tea experiences. Enjoy!

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

There is a trend toward people trying to bake their own tea. I like that “do it yourself” spirit, but there are 3 reasons why you should let the vendor bake your tea. There may even be more.

Baking machine for tea used by Thomas Shu, expert on Taiwanese oolongs (Screen capture from site)

Baking machine for tea used by Thomas Shu, expert on Taiwanese oolongs (Screen capture from site)

No, we’re not talking about the kind of baking that produces such deliciousness as cakes, pies, breads, and scones. This is a rather different process, but philosophically, there are similarities. Which brings me to reason #1.

1 The Process Takes a Practiced Skill

Just as when making any of the luscious treats named above so that they turn out truly luscious or like when making a soufflé that would bring tears of joy to the eyes of a chef at Le Cordon Bleu cooking school in Paris, success with baking tea leaves takes practice which in turn builds up skill. Just cracking an egg can be tricky. Mixing the batter just right is, too. So is baking tea leaves. The right temperature and duration is determined often through experimentation. You also need to monitor the process, baking for awhile, then smelling the leaves, then maybe baking some more, adjusting the temperature up or down as you might think is due. Of course, what you use to bake the tea leaves matters, too, which brings us to reason #2.

2 The Process Takes Special Equipment

Unless you’re planning to bake a lot of tea or just like to spend your money on something that will sit around collecting dust most of the time, you may not want to buy your own tea baking oven. See the one shown above used by tea pro Thomas Shu who bakes quite a bit of tea and is a real pro in this area. Sure, you can use the regular oven in your kitchen, but this is better in that the leaves can be closer to the heat source. A toaster oven is another option, though. It’s smaller and easier to control the amount of heat getting to the tea leaves than that big turkey-sized oven is. But even so, you could end up with burnt tea nuggets instead of a lovely nutty oolong or wonderfully toasty black tea, no matter how skillful you are. Which is a waste and brings up reason #3.

3 Wasting Good Tea Is Criminal

Well, not technically criminal. There’s no real law or statute or government regulation against it. But considering the time and effort that goes into growing, tending, harvesting, and processing the tea that you are trying to bake, I would certainly not be happy about it.

There are certainly legitimate reasons to try to bake your own tea: experimentation, the tea leaves have absorbed moisture from the air around them due to improper storage, the tea wasn’t baked enough for your taste. Whatever the case, should you get the urge to bake your own tea, do so with care. Enjoy!

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Formosa oolong (ETS Image)

Formosa oolong (ETS Image)

There are a few significant tea producing countries or regions that have changed their name since tea began to be a significant industry there. Probably the most notable example is Sri Lanka. It used to be known as Ceylon, and to this day the tea produced there is known by the same name. And then there’s Taiwan.

Formerly known as Formosa, Taiwan is an island nation located directly to the east of mainland China. Unlike the situation in Sri Lanka, Taiwanese tea such as this one is no longer sold under the name Formosa. Much of the tea that’s produced in Taiwan today is one of a number of highly regarded varieties of oolong.

Writing about tea in the early twentieth century, in an article called The Tea Industry of Formosa, journalist Herbert Compton that there were “highly bright prospects” for the future of this industry. He also noted that Formosa, as it was still called, was “a most delightful realm for human habitation.”

Compton recounts that according to some tales wild tea plants were thought to be native to Formosa but suggests that it was more likely that the plant was brought there from neighboring China. Tea historians Victor Mair and Erling Hoh don’t go into the specifics of exactly when and how tea got to Taiwan but apparently there are records of it being grown there as early as 1701.

By 1861, according to a British government report, a fair amount of tea was being shipped from Formosa back to tea’s place of origin – China – but tea production was apparently still a relatively minor industry. Compton credits Englishman John Dodd with doing much to further the tea industry there in the years that followed.

In the half century from 1895 onward Formosa was a colony of Japan, and both sources agree that it was during this time that tea production really began to take off. Which is probably not surprising, given Japan’s long relationship with tea. Of course, Japan is best known for producing green tea and, while it would be interesting to determine how their colony became a hotbed for oolong tea, that’s a question that will have to wait for another day.

See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

I investigated Pouchongs in some depth a while back on this blog, having previously not known very much about them. However, although I had researched them thoroughly, I had not had a chance to sample them as much as I would like, and as such they featured on my list of five teas that I would like to explore more. Following up on this list, I decided to give the English Tea Store’s Spring Pouchong a try.

Spring Pouchong in the cup (photo by Elise Nuding, all rights reserved)

Spring Pouchong in the cup (photo by Elise Nuding, all rights reserved)

Grown, processed, and packed in a small remote town in Taiwan, this pouchong is produced entirely by hand, using the same traditional methods followed by generations of tea growers in this area.

Pouchongs are lightly oxidised oolong teas, although the low level of oxidation means that they often taste like, or are grouped with, green teas. As such, they are at their best when brewed in water that has been lightly boiled (165-190°F or 74-90°C), and they often have a slightly shorter steep time than regular oolong teas.

The recommended steep time for Spring Pouchong is 1-3 minutes­– quite a large time frame, which leaves a lot of room for personal preference. For my first steeping, I decided to err on the side of a shorter steep and left the leaves for 1 minute. The result was a lightly fragranced brew with floral overtones, which had more similarities to a green tea than to an oolong tea.

Pure pouchongs such as this one can be resteeped several times, and so on my second brew from the same leaves I left them to steep for 2 minutes. On the third resteep I left them for 3 minutes. As the second and third steeps tend to be lighter, the resulting brews were of about the same strength as the first as they steeped for longer. I found that Spring Pouchong re-steeped very well, and provided excellent second and third cups of tea.

I wanted to experiment with a longer steep the first time around, and so, starting with a fresh batch of leaves, I left them to steep for 3 minutes. The result was a tea that tasted like standard strong oolongs that I am used to. The subtle floral overtones that were present in the lighter brew were masked in this stronger brew. That is not to say that I preferred one to the other, but I feel that the unique qualities of Spring Pouchong are lost slightly when brewed for a longer period of time and the resulting brew is more recognisable as an oolong.

This range of steeping times means that Spring Pouchong is a very versatile tea that can suit tea drinkers who prefer pouchongs that are closer to green teas, or who prefer them closer to oolongs. It could also be good for those who enjoy both, as they can opt for a shorter steep on some days and a longer steep on others.

See more of Elise Nuding’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

To some of us the term “black oolong” can be a bit of a puzzle. We know black teas as one thing and oolong teas as another. Time to take a closer look.

Yes, folks, this is called a black tea. Not quite the liquid color you would normally expect. (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

Yes, folks, this is called a black tea. Not quite the liquid color you would normally expect. (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

First, we here in North America and much of Europe know black tea as a fully oxidized tea where the dry leaves are very dark brown. (In Asia and other locations, this tea is known as red tea based on the reddish color of the steeped liquid.) And oolong lovers know that these are teas that are partially oxidized, ranging from very light to almost full.

But wait, there are those who say that oolong teas are made from certain varietals, from certain leaves, and grown in certain locations. This seems to be the case with the “black oolong” I received awhile ago to try. It was definitely being presented as one of those special plant oolongs but was being called “black.” (An online search popped up a host of other such “black oolong” teas.)

The puzzle is easily solved here. Hearken back to that earlier statement about different levels (percentages) of oxidation. This “black oolong” tea is from Fujian Province in China and was generally processed in the way a lot of Fujian oolongs are. But this tea was allowed to oxidize “longer than our normal Fujian Oolong…”.

So how did this particular black oolong compare to regular black teas? The aroma of the dry leaves was rich, nutty, and earthy, not smoky or malty or raisiny or jammy. The liquid (infused three times in water heated to 85°C for 2 minutes, 2½ minutes, and 3 minutes respectively) was pale, not the rich reddish color of regular black teas, and had a thick feel in the mouth that I have not experienced with black teas. After steeping, the leaves took on a nutty, slightly smoky (peat-like) aroma in the cup, with a smoky, slightly cocoa-ish flavor. That smoky, cocoa-ish quality was in the cup, too.

These “black oolong” teas are certainly worth searching out. Yes, there is a big world of tea out there. Enjoy!

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Tea in Taiwan is serious business, so much so that they are constantly working on developing new cultivars of Camellia Sinensis (the tea plant) that will yield certain characteristics for both the grower and the imbiber. The results are usually sold with a TTES number on them, for example, “TTES No. 18.” But what is TTES?

Simple. “TTES” means “Taiwan Tea Experiment Station” and is used by tea researchers to designate their successes. They also include an experiment code on many of these teas.

Map of Taiwan Tea-growing Areas (from Wikipedia)

Map of Taiwan Tea-growing Areas (from Wikipedia)

The Taiwan Tea Experiment Station is located near Puxin Train Station in downtown Yangmei. Various kinds of experimental teas are grown in their fields and have led to improvements in tea cultivation. The public is welcome to visit.

Taiwan has a host of tea gardens, each with its own mini-ecosystem. Some of the cultivars are developed for optimal growing in these areas. The balance is between plants that will grow best in that environment versus plants that will steep up the best flavor. If a tea grower is willing to spend extra time tending the tea plants in order to get a special taste to the tea, that will affect which cultivar he grows.

These teas are not always labeled with their TTES number but are listed by name instead. One is Black Jade (Hongyu). It is TTES #18 which is a hybrid of Camellia Sinensis assamica and a native variety (Camellia Sinensis forma formosensis), and steeping up a liquid with notes of cinnamon and mint. Another is Jade Oolong Tea (Cuiyu). It is TTES #13 (experiment code 2029) and is grown mainly in Alishan of Chiayi and Nantou Counties, Taiwan. The leaves are light-fire roasted and steep up a golden-yellow liquid that has a wonderful floral aroma (some say it’s magnolia while others think it’s more like jasmine). A cultivar grown exclusively in Taiwan (also mainly Alishan of Chiayi and Nantou Counties) is Jin-Xuan Oolong Tea, considered to be the new generation of Formosa oolong tea. It’s TTES #12 (experiment code 2027) and has leaves that are wider and bigger than most oolongs.

Some other names to look for:

  • Baiwen (TTES #14) — Sweet and lightly scented. Often blended with Osmanthus to impart that sweetness in balance with the sharpness of the tea’s aroma and taste.
  • Baihe (TTES #16) — named after the town of Baihe in Tainan County, Taiwan, where they hold an annual lotus festival.
  • Bailu (TTES #17) — Created in 1983 by the Taiwan Tea Research Institute, this cultivar is a good one for making Oriental Beauty. The tea steeps up a clear liquid that has an aroma some say is like fine Lychee juice but with a light flavor.

Go on the hunt for more TTES teas and share your findings with us here!

See also:
Some Popular Taiwanese Oolong Cultivars

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Currently, Oolong teas, covering the wide spectrum of part-fermented teas on a scale ranging from ca. 10-85% degree of fermentation, are increasingly gaining popularity in the west. As for the origins of the part- or semi-fermented processing method, as well as the term “Oolong” itself (Chinese, also “Wu-Long”, or “Wu-Liong”), there are plenty of stories, some being mere legends or tales, others referring to historical events. For the scope of this article, let’s save the tales for once and focus on evident history, as well as on the way Oolong tea production has spread from its origins in China’s Fujian province to Taiwan and other south east Asian and other countries worldwide.

English Tea Store brand Oolong Teas (store image)

English Tea Store brand Oolong Teas (store image)

Tribute Tea

In ancient China, reaching back more than 1000 years in history, tea was considered a precious good. One of the most famous places for tea in the China of that time, and until today, was Fujian province, and there the Wuji (Phoenix) mountains, where Beiyuan (Dragon and Phoenix) tea gained a name as a tribute tea during the Song dynasty (960-1276).

Black Dragon Tea

It is said that Oolong (Black Dragon) tea eventually, at the times of the Ming dynasty in the 17th century, emerged from this Dragon and Phoenix tea. However, there are other historical roots of tea processing methods involving part-fermentation, such as the origin of the Iron Goddess (Ti Guan Yin) Oolong tea in another part of Fujian province, Anxi County. (More info)

From Wuji to Alishan

Whether by monks, cultural scholars/travelers, or merchants, tea  plants were brought first to Taiwan in the beginning of the 19th century, where they proofed to be growing just nicely in mountain regions such as the Alishan. While those teas were initially brought back to mainland China for processing, Taiwan soon found ways to do the processing right on the spot, apparently with the involvement of some Western key figures such as the British John Dodd as an initiator, as well as some Chinese experts brought in from Fujian as professional mentors.

Oolong Tea Development in Taiwan

While tea cultivation and Oolong tea processing spread across Taiwan very soon, e.g. to places such as Nantou province (Dong Ding mountain), the country should soon coin its own distinguished style of Oolong teas, which should become known as “Formosa” Oolong Teas. Taiwanese Pouchong (low-fermented) Oolong teas, Oriental Beauty Oolong tea, Dong Ding Oolong tea and also Ti Guan Yin Oolong teas developed their own character and name in the world of tea starting from the second half of the 19th century.

Another step in Taiwan’s claim to fame regarding Oolong tea development has its roots in Taiwan’s Oolong Tea Development Project, which started its work in the second half of the 20th century and  focused on the breading of special Oolong tea cultivars with optimized features such as high yield, better pest-resistance and greater altitude tolerance.

From Taiwan to the World

The results of this development work soon became an export good of Taiwan. Today, we find Taiwanese Oolong tea cultivars having been exported to and being cultivated in a range of south East Asian countries, e.g., most successfully in north Thailand, and I strongly believe that Taiwanese Oolong tea cultivars (and know-how) are most prone to be exported to other non-Asian countries, too, where this should not yet be the case already.

The Future

While in black and green tea, available options might be more or less exhaustively known by now, Oolong tea still offers a huge potential, whose exploration and exploitation are still just in the beginning. I personally believe that Oolong teas as a segment in the world of tea will establish besides green and black teas with at least similar weight in the long run, if not due to the wider spectrum of possibilities in cultivation and processing methods outrace those traditional two segments with time.

See also:
This Tea Is Bugging Me or The Secret of Oriental Beauty Oolong
What is High Mountain Oolong?
Tea Review: English Tea Store’s Formosa Oolong
Oolong Blasphemy
Some Popular Taiwanese Oolong Cultivars
The Mystery of Milk Oolong
Reading Tea Leaves — Oolong Teas

See more of  Thomas Kasper’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Categories

Explore our content:

Find us on these sites:


Follow Us!     Like Us!     Follow Us!     Follow Us!     Plus 1 Us!
Follow Tea Blog on WordPress.com

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Tweet This!    add to del.icio.us    add to furl    digg this    stumble it!    add to simpy    seed the vine    add to reddit     post to facebook    technorati faves

Copyright Notice:

© Online Stores, LLC, and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, LLC., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Blog Affiliates

blogged
Bloglisting.net - The internets fastest growing blog directory

Networked Blogs

%d bloggers like this: