07 December 2008

Processing Oolong

In preparation for my trip to Asia this winter, I'm reading as much as I can about the processing of Oolong.  The basics are in many tea books, English and Chinese, but I want to get into the nitty-gritty of it from people that have actually done it before.  Particularly difficult to find are first-person accounts of processing written in English that can be easily-shared on this blog.

I came across a pretty detailed account of Baozhong processing on the blog for Red Circle Tea based in San Francisco.  You may read more about the processing for Baozhong here:

           Red Circle's Baozhong Processing Feature

The first oolong I've ever seen produced was Taiwanese Tieguanyin.  Before I can start making it with the masters, though, I'll begin with Four Seasons Tea this winter.  It's a light roast that shouldn't take more than a day to complete after the tea leaves have been oxidized.

                  dong ding tasting

Baozhong tea is one that used to be among my favorites.  It has, over the last decade though, gotten greener and less oxidized, to the point that I find it too fresh and green for an oolong.  The prize-winning Baozhongs are exceptionally green and fresh - the leaves are a beautiful jade color and the tea liquid infuses into a light brew with a greenish hue.  This is the trend and the experts and consumers seem to enjoy it.  However, Floating Leaves' Baozhong farmer prefers a more oxidized and roasted Baozhong himself and will agree to make a special batch of it if so requested.  The only problem is that he has quite a large minimum order for production.  I hope that maybe a few teahouses can get together and split the minimum order so that I can taste the wonderful, full-bodied Baozhong that I used to love.

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