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Oolong Teas
 
Oolong Teas

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Baozhong

Baozhong Baozhong tea is processed with a minimum of rolling and drying, resulting in a larger dry leaf that has undergone only slight oxidation. This tea is noteworthy for its fresh, floral aroma, and is a good starting point for those new to oolongs. Brewed Baozhong tea is translucent green in color and possesses a light, subtle flavor. Baozhong tea is perfectly suited for consumption by itself or before a meal, since the light flavor both entices and stimulates the palate.

 
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Boluomi

BoluomiBoluomi is a winter tea selected for it particular flavor qualities. Boluomi means pineapple honey, and aptly describes the sweet pineapple flavor and honey color of this tea. Although this tea is made from leaves of the Jinxuan varietal, its qualities are distinctive and stand on their own. The pineapple sweetness makes this tea somewhat less rich than other Jinxuan teas, but sweeter. The finish lingers pleasantly, but is milder and less dry than is typical for Wulong and Jinxuan teas. Boluomi has really come into its own in recent seasons, and will appeal to novice and experienced oolong drinkers alike.

 

Jinxuan

JinxuanJinxuan tea is made from a relatively new tea plant varietal, popularized in the 1990s, that possesses the creaminess often associated with Wulong teas grown at higher elevations. Processed like Wulong tea, it is similar in color but, has a distinct aroma that blends well with its creamy flavor. Its mildly astringent finish is somewhat more muted than that of a typical Wulong, making this a tea that often appeals to fans of green tea or lighter oolongs such as Baozhong.

 
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Wulong

WulongAlthough Wulong literally means dark dragon, its characteristics are neither dark nor ferocious. Having undergone light oxidation during processing, it has a stronger flavor than Baozhong tea, a complex aroma, and mild astringency. The tightly rolled leaves expand dramatically during steeping to produce a pale golden brew. Its sophisticated flavor makes Wulong a fine introduction to the complexity of oolong teas. All of the currently available premium grade teas are gaoshan (high mountain) Wulong teas, made from leaves grown at elevations over 1000 meters in central Taiwan.

 

Foshou

FoshouFoshou means Buddha hand and refers to this tea’s unusually large leaves, which when dried and rolled resemble chubby fists. This tea makes an amber brew with a slightly toasty flavor, sweet aroma, rich flavor and typically dry finish. Although it is made from a different varietal tea plant from either Tieguanyin or Wulong, it may be best described as in between those two teas: somewhat more robust than Wulong, but not baked so long as Tieguanyin. Foshou is also produced on a smaller scale than most oolongs, and consequently varies significantly in style from season to season.

 

Jin Tie

JinA very uncommon tea, Jinxuan Tieguanyin (abbreviated to Jin Tie) is made using leaves of the Jinxuan varietal processed in the fashion of a Tieguanyin. The result is a lighter Tieguanyin that exhibits the creamy flavor and mellow aroma typical of Jinxuan tea, combined with a pleasant sweet finish. Jin Tie is only sporadically available because it requires certain qualities from the raw leaves which cannot be found every season.

 
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Tieguanyin

TieguanyinTieguanyin tea is named after the Bodhisattva of Compassion (guanyin), reminding one of the use of tea by Buddhist monks as a stimulating refreshment during long periods of meditation. Tie means iron, and while the name Tieguanyin describes a metal statue of the Bodhisattva, the reddish color of the brewed tea is surprisingly close to that of iron ore. Dry Tieguanyin has a very distinctive roasted aroma and when brewed possesses a smooth, sweet, woody flavor that is robust and satisfying.

 
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Shuixian

Shuixian Shuixian tea has a robust, toasty flavor similar to that of Tieguanyin, combined with a unique floral aroma as mystical as its name, which means water fairy. Its reddish liquor has a characteristic dry finish. Unlike other oolongs, leaves for Shuixian tea come from larger, more mature tea plants allowed to grow to head height or taller. By contrast, most tea bushes are kept pruned back to waist level. Shuixian will appeal to Tieguanyin drinkers, and provides an excellent counterpoint to the comparatively sweet Tieguanyin teas.

 

Baihao

Baihao Baihao, or white filament tea, is made by picking the bud and first two leaves of the tea plant and then processing them to greater oxidation than the other oolongs. This results in dried tea leaves which are darker than normally expected for an oolong mixed with white from the tea buds that give the tea its name. When brewed, Baihao tea has a deep red color and smooth, mild flavor. The inclusion of the tea buds also gives it a characteristic and highly developed floral aroma. I most often find myself drinking Baihao after dinner for its rich flavor, a nice compliment to desserts.

 

Cheongcha

Cheongcha Oolong teas produced in Korea are collectively referred to as cheongcha. The leaves have been allowed to oxidize slightly before being pan-fried by hand in the style of the green teas. The grading convention follows that of the green teas, although currently only Woojeon and higher-grade oolong teas are available.

 


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