The Tea Story
Part Four : Oolong
The story goes - There was once a humble tea picker named Wulong in China who served the then ruling Qing dynasty. The nature of his work was reflected in his fair reputation that outshone him. But one day, after a very intense day of back breaking labour, the man, who was walking back from the tea plantation found a deer in his path. The beauty of this particular deer served as a temptation that the man could not refuse, so he decided to chase the deer!
Unfortunately, the deer turned out to be a little to fast for him to catch, so he came back to the tea he’d collected that day and walked back home, lost in a childlike state of mind that spoke of deers, tigers and other enchanting beings of the forest. In this fervent state of mind, he forgot to process the tea leaves he’d collected that day and as a result, they began to wilt and thus oxidize. But when this was tried out by him and others the next day, it became an instant hit and they named this type of tea ‘Oolong’ after him!
This is the tale of how Oolong tea supposedly came into existence, but we never know for sure. Earliest records show that the tea was consumed in Fujian, but it could also be much older. History is never certain.
There are many different types of Oolong tea as well. Here are some of my personal favorite varieties :
1 . Dancong (Phoenix Oolong) :
Dancong teas are noted for their ability to naturally imitate the flavors and fragrances of various flowers and fruits, such as orange blossom, orchid, grapefruit, almond, ginger flower, etc. The term dancong originally meant phoenix teas all picked from one tree. In recent times though it has become a generic term for all Phoenix Mountain oolongs. True dancongs are still produced, but are not common outside China.
2 . Dongfang Meiren (Oriental Beauty):
This tea is tippy (the leaves frequently have white or golden tips), with natural fruity aromas, a bright red appearance, and a sweet taste.
3 . Tieguanyin:
Literally called the ‘Iron Goddess of Mercy’, this is probably my favorite one. Slightly aromatic with a flowery essence, this one truly should be compared to a Goddess.
Fun Fact : In Mandarin, Oolong is called Black Dragon tea because that’s what it translates into, literally! And also, I can see why the twisted long black leaves reminded people of Black Dragons.
Here are some of Oolong’s health benefits :
Increases cognitive capabilities
Helps fight diabetes
Reduces risk of heart problems
Prevents bone loss
Helps fight cancer
Promotes weight loss
Why are you still waiting?! Go grab some Oolong for yourself!