Knowing where to by Oolong tea can make the difference between buying a premium product that is fresh and value for money vs stale on-shelf products that your taste bud will resent.
The Fu-Jian Province of south-east China is the birthplace of all Oolong teas. (Also the place where Valley Green Tea founder En Jie grew up.) It is still is the predominant heartland of the Oolong tea production today producing many big names such as Tie Guan Yin and Da Hong Pao.
Like all other premium loose teas, the most crucial aspect of buying a Oolong tea is the quality. When order Oolong tea online, trying before purchase is the way to go, by free samples or buying small packages.
Oolong teas produced in different regions have distinctive characteristics.
Classics are the group of Oolong teas produced in the Wu-Yi region - norther of the Fu-Jian Province. Wu-Yi Oolong teas are also known as Wu-Yi Rock teas. The premium tea bushes are wild grown on the rocky mountains with natural rain fall and creek as irrigation, with well drained and sandy soil to produce a unique 'Yan Yin' (岩韵) - a clean, elegant and refreshing aroma.
The most well known one being the An Xi Tie Guan Yin, a lightly fermented rolled Oolong loved and consumed by many in China and overseas.
Produced in the Guang Dong Province of China. The most well known one being the Phoenix Single Bush (Feng Huang Dan Cong) produced in the Chao-Zhou area of the Guang-Dong province for its high and elegant frangance, mimicking the blossoms of the surrounding areas.
Taiwan High Mountain Oolong (Dong-Ding Oolong) is a special class of Oolong tea produced in Taiwan’s high mountains, typically named after the mountains where they are produced and priced based on the altitudes of the mountains.
Dong-Ding translates into icy peaks in English. The higher the mountains are, the lower the temperature is and the better quality the teas are, as the tea plants grow slower in the cooler conditions and have more time to store up the nutrients and flavour.
In comparison to its mainland cousin Fu Jian Tie Guan Yin, their leaves are bigger, stronger and fuller, with a distinctive bold, refreshing and long-lasting aftertaste.
You can also find information on Oolong tea's health benefits buy searching a scientific database (by key word) at: Pubmed