How is this type of tea classified and does it exhibit the properties of Black Tea?
Tea classification can be an extremely vague area that results in a great deal of grayness and disputes. Trying to classify a tea involves looking at where it originates from, how it is cultivated, how it is processed and what taste and flavor it exhibits. Oolong Tea is one of those vague varieties of tea that could fit into several different categories but doesn’t truly exemplify the qualities of one tea. Oolong Tea is mainly considered to be somewhere between a Green tea and a Black Tea – It has a stronger taste and coloration than Green Tea, but alternatively, it isn’t as strong or dark as a true Black Tea.
How do we classify Oolong Tea? First, we should look at where it originates from and how it is processed. This type of tea comes from the Camellia Sinensis plant that is native to Asia and particularly China. From this, we can classify Oolong as a tea. Once the leaves have been cultivated and harvested, they are then stringently and extensively processed – This processing involves drying, withering, rolling and shaping of the leaves. A further process that is key to the classification of Oolong is the oxidation. Oolong Tea is oxidized extensively and this process enhances its strong flavor and dark coloration. Black Tea is also oxidized therefore by this process alone we can classify Oolong as a form of Black Tea.
Although Oolong Tea is oxidized, many people refrain from classifying it as a Black Tea as it is not actually oxidized as much as traditional Black Teas, and does not exhibit a flavor that is as strong. Regardless of how we classify Oolong Tea, it remains a fantastic beverage that is brilliant to taste and provides many different health benefits.