The Origins Of Oolong Tea Revealed!

There are all sorts of amazing and unique teas out there to try, but one of the most popular absolutely has to be oolong tea, a drink that has a particularly rich history that stretches all the way back to Ming Dynasty China (1368-1644).

In fact, there are several theories that abound regarding the origins of this delicious tea. There’s the Wuyi theory, for example, that claims the tea was named after the Wuyi mountain region, first documented in poems from the Ming Dynasty (the word ‘wu’ means black and the word ‘lung’ means dragon… hence black dragon tea!).

Another theory is that it comes from the dragon-phoenix-cake tribute tea, made up of two different teas produced in the Beiyuan tea gardens. When loose-leaf tea became popular, the name was later changed to black dragon to reflect the shape of the dark, wiry leaves that came from this new processing technique.

And then the third theory suggests that oolong tea was actually first discovered in the Fujian province and Anxi region, when a farmer called Sulong or Wulong forgot about his tea leaves after being distracted by a deer and, when he returned to the leaves, he found they had oxidised.

The tea itself needs to go through a semi-oxidation process, which makes it unique to other teas, with the leaves left out in the sun before being dried in the shade. They’re then tossed in a basket to break down the cells on the leaves, before being fired in a wok to stop the oxidation process.

Different flavours are achieved by processing the leaves over charcoal or wood, with the finished leaves curled into shapes to resemble little dragons - hence the name!


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