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Taiwan Wulong, a diverse world

Updated: Dec 8, 2022

There are 6 varieties of tea, one of them is commonly known as "Wulong" or "Oolong".

Just like in Japan they are experts in green tea, here in Taiwan they are experts in Wulong tea.

In this blog post we will share with you:

  1. Basic facts about Wulong (or better said "Qing Cha")

  2. Qing Cha and taiwanese Wulong, characteristics and most famous teas

  3. If you want to know about Wulong tea processing, please visit our post about tea processing.

Basic facts about Wulong tea

In simple terms, a "Qing Cha" tea (Wulong or Oolong as we name it commonly) it's defined as a semi-oxidized tea.

There are regions in different countries that produce this variety and each of them has unique characteristics, for example Wuyi mountains in China has their rocky Wulong, Guangdong also in China which produces Phoenix Wulong, there are also relatively new regions like Vietnam, Thailand, New Zealand... and of course Taiwan where there is production of High Mountain Wulong, Oriental Beauty (Dongfang Meiren) or also "Milky Wulong (Jinxuan Wulong)" to name a few.

¿Qing Cha or Wulong?

We commonly name this variety Wulong, but the truth is:

  • Wulong is a family of plants from the variety Camellia Sinensis Var. Sinensis, categorized by it's DNA and processed as "Qing Cha"

  • Qing Cha - 青茶 is the variety of tea that is semi-oxidized ranging roughly from 8% to 70% This variety of tea has normally the following processing:

Qing Cha or Wulong tea processing
Qing Cha Processing

Important: The industry of tea is not 100% scientific. In the description we gave before there are exceptions like the taiwanese Red Wulong (紅烏龍茶), which is considered from the family of Wulong tea, but can reach even 85% of oxidation (like some red teas). About Red Wulong we will write in the future.

In Yang Tea Taiwan, we use the taiwanese terminology, this is why we call Wulong to this variety of tea. Red tea 紅茶 (or black tea as is called in the west) is another subject we will also address later.

Taiwanese wulong, it's characteristics and top teas

If we analyze the industry of tea in Taiwan we can see a virtuous cycle between demanding customers and producers.

Production of Wulong tea has been developing over the decades to satisfy the broad needs of consumers, ranging from massive production tea used in "Bubble Tea" or sweetened beverages until exquisite teas like high mountain tea for more sophisticated palates. This is how tea processing is adjusted to the needs of consumers.

Tea competitions

A good place to compare high quality teas are competitions organized in different tea regions from Taiwan. The main characteristics they look for are:

  • Of course free of pesticides

  • Low in bitterness and astringency

  • A good mouthfeel

  • Sweet aftertaste

  • Rich in aromas like floral, vegetal, fruity and some spices (depending on the type of tea, different aromas are preferred)

Check our blog post about competition tea!

Most famous taiwanese wulong teas

Dongding Wulong tea

This is probably one of the teas from Taiwan with the longest tradition.

It began around 150 years ago in the area now known as Lugu, when a farmer brought back some tea plants (Qingxin Wulong cultivar) from Wuyi in China.

Gets it's name from the hill called "Dongdin" (or Frosty Summit) and originally this tea was produced as "Qing Cha", with medium oxidation and roasting.

But recently the taste of consumers has evolved slowly into less oxidized and more roasted teas, reaching deep aromas like caramel or ripe fruit.

Jinxuan (Milky Wulong) tea

AKA "Milky Wulong tea" thanks to its milky aromas like warm butter for example or its creamy mouthfeel, this natural tea was developed in Taiwan thanks to the daily work of farmers and researchers from the Tea Research and Extension Station.

This cultivar, called TTES #12, was born in 1982 after other two cultivars (Tai Non n°8 and In-Zhi-Hong-Shin) after many. years of research.

Due to the success of this tea, there are falsifications in other countries, which uses milk essence to emulate the original, ¡but don't get confused!

For example our Jinxuan from spring is a rich and complex tea full of aromas where warm butter and cream are just a few of them. You will also discover nutty aromas, cooked vegetables, flowers, caramel, and much more.

High mountain wulong tea

High mountain tea is a category of tea based on the altitud of the tea garden it comes from. In Taiwan is considered a high mountain tea only if it comes from 1.000masl or higher.

This category of tea can also be applied to other varieties like red tea or white tea, in the photo gallery you can check our Alishan Red Tea for example.

There are many reasons why this kinds of tea are famous, like their special aromas (delicate and elegant) which lingers in your mouth, or its complexity, silky and vital color. If the tea plants are appropriately taken cared of and the production is correctly done, we will obtain an equilibrated and fascinating tea, sweet, with long aftertaste which can last 8 brews or even more in GongFu style.

If you click on each image you will access our shop, where you can get more details about each high mountain tea.

Sijichun (Four Seasons Spring) Tea

Sijichun is a cultivar discovered in the north of Taiwan, in Muzha.

It grows remarkably well at low altitudes and abundant yield. Hence its name, "Four Seasons Spring", because it can be harvested year round as if it was spring all time.

Versatile cultivar and also very popular, used in both in big industry and small artisan factories. Normally machine harvested to satisfy the needs of the big beverages market (such a big market, that most of the tea used for "Bubble Tea" comes from outside of Taiwan).

Sijichun Wulong Tea has obvious floral aromas. Once you try it, will stay in your "data base" of aromas.

Other wulong teas

Later on we will share details about Red Wulong, Oriental Beauty, Baozhong and many other remarkable teaiwanese wulong teas.

Join our Newsletter and once we have this and other interesting information available, we will contact you.

¡See you in our next post!

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