Sunday, December 18, 2016

Tea Appreciation: Japanese Oolong Tea

Oolong (ウーロン茶, 烏龍茶) is semi-oxidized tea ranging from greener and more floral to dark and roasted. Oolong, alternately spelled wulong, means "black dragon tea" and is sometimes called blue tea in reference to its status between green and black teas.

Most of the oolong tea in Japan is imported from China and much of that is bottled.  However, Japanese tea growers have been experimenting with and refining oolong tea production since the late 1970s.

Oolong production in Japan is very limited with most coming from Kyushu including Miyazaki prefecture, Kagoshima prefecture, and Kumamoto prefecture and from the Kansai region including Kyoto, Uji and Saga prefecture.  Miyazaki prefecture specializes in kamairi (pan-fired) oolong.

Heat water to 175°F/79°C for greener oolong or 195°F/90°C for darker oolong and steep for 2-3 minutes before serving.  Using more tea leaves will produce more flavorful results.

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