It's been a while since I've talked about Oolong, and I have one I can highly recommend. For Westerners, the name is unfortunate, but ignore the fact that it sounds like cow patties, and you'll be alright. It's called Dung-ti Oolong. Can't wait to hear the jokes about this one.
'Dung tea? What're you on about now, Lahikmajoe?'
Trust me-if you're not yet used to Oolong tea, this is a good one to start with. Although it's lightly oxidised, it doesn't taste at all like green tea.
What is Oolong exactly?
Some people say it's a mix between green and black tea. That's an easy way for a tea seller to describe it to an uninterested customer, but more accurately: it's a little like a black tea but not fully oxidised. Some people talk of tea fermentation, and that's another word for oxidation. It has absolutely nothing to do with the fermentation they talk about when they ferment grapes to make wine. It's the same word for a different process.
Green tea has the least amount of oxidation (aside from white tea, which has almost none), while black tea is fully fermented. Oolong has been anywhere between 10-90% oxidised. That's why if you look at the leaves, they can occur in gradations from dark green to almost brown. Logically, the lighter the green, the shorter the time the process took place. My method is certainly not scientific, but I've found that it's accurate enough to differentiate between different Oolongs.
Tell you what. I know Sylvia's tried Oolong, because I gave her some (the first one's always free). If you've had Oolong, say something here about whether you liked it or not. If you have one to recommend, please do so. Would love to try some more.