Summer in Virginia comes with loads of rhubarb and strawberries at the local farm stand. Enjoy this flavor combination with the smooth flavor of this Fuijan oolong from China. This tea is especially good cold.
Chinese Oolong Tea, Rhubarb Pieces, Rose Petals, Rhubarb Flavor
Oolong teas are actually some of the youngest types of tea. It is believed that the Chinese started to really understand and control oxidation of tea in the 17th century, leading to the first oolong teas. Given that the first teas in China where documented over 3,000 years earlier, a few hundred years old is still young. Highly regarded Taiwanese oolongs only began to make an appearance during the 1960′s, when the Taiwanese realized they were losing market share to Chinese and Japanese teas. Taiwan needed to do something different to distinguish themselves in the marketplace. Prior to the 1960′s, Taiwan was producing mainly green teas for consumption by the Japanese.
The name oolong literally means black dragon, which refers to the shape of the hand rolled oolong tea leaves. There are other theories that the name originates from the Wuyi Mountains in the Fujian Province of China where it is believed that the first oolong teas where made. There is an alternative theory that it is named after the man who made the first oolongs, Wu Liang, and was later corrupted to Wu Long before being anglicized into oolong. No matter where the name came from, the oolong style offers enormous variety and is worth exploring for every tea drinker.
The art of rolling tea leaves into balls came into being almost a thousand years before the partial oxidation that makes Oolong tea possible. Most modern drinkers of tea think of Oolongs when presented with balled tea leaves, but those were far from the first teas prepared in this fashion. Taiwan, which has the most famous balled Oolongs, did not apply this technique to commercial tea until well into the 1800s. Today Gunpowder Tea is not simply the domain of China as other countries, like Sri Lanka, also produce their own variations.
Modern Gunpowder is rolled with machines with only the finest quality teas still being rolled by hand. These hand rolled Gunpowder teas rarely leave Zhejiang provenience due to the high demand for the tea locally.