Leaves for oolong tea are picked and then purposefully bruised and manipulated to break cell walls and encourage enzymatic browning (oxidation). After this, oolongs are shaped, often rolled into loose balls, tight pearls, or twisted into elegant lengths. They are then heated to arrest oxidation. The heating process is where many oolongs become unique as the “how” of the heating: air, pan, tumble drying, open fire, etcetera, often brings with it the Maillard reaction and caramelization, encouraging the development of roasted, nutty, and even smoky flavors.
Oolong teas are massively complex and the diversity of flavors they present is incredible. Of particular note, for those looking to sample oolong’s range, we offer Iron Goddess of Mercy (your recommended gateway into the world of oolong), Oriental Beauty Oolong, Formosa, and Milk Oolong. While the science is ongoing, it’s known that oolongs are packed with theasinensins, which show promise in helping with inflammation, heart disease, hypertension, and a list of other potentially beneficial preventative applications.