Chinese Tea Guide

Oolong Tea

Oolong or ‘Black Dragon’ tea originated in Fujian province, and is considered a blue tea because its properties fall in between green and red teas.

Processing: Oolong teas are partially oxidised (from 15 to 75 per cent) before being heated in a tumbler of hot air until the moisture level is satisfactory. The arduous process can last up to 36 hours and gives the tea its nickname of gongfu cha (or kung fu tea) for the hard labour and dedication the brewing process requires.

Serving: Oolong teas are much hardier than green and white tea and can be served with water that is near boiling point. Porcelain tea ware should be used with oolong tea.

Health Benefits: Oolong tea has been attributed with weight loss properties, but is also used to aid digestion and cleanse the body.

Black Tea

While the Chinese call the colour of this particular tea ‘red’, in the West it is commonly referred to as black tea. The most famous black tea is pu’er, which originated in Yunnan province and migrated to the coasts along the Tea Horse Trail. The trek required the tea to come packed in compressed cakes. While green tea loses its flavour within a year, black tea retains its taste for decades.

Processing: Black tea’s leaves are fully oxidised – often for upwards of two months – for a drink that is full of flavour.

Serving: Black tea can withstand near boiling temperatures. Serve black tea in a clay pot (known as zisha yixing) that absorbs the flavours and re-releases them into the tea over the years of brewing.

Health Benefits: Black tea, especially pu’er, reduces blood cholesterol, enhances weight loss and counteracts excessive alcohol consumption