Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Taiwan Oolong – the Names and Types

I was at a Taiwan Oolong tasting last week. The host was very kind and showed us quite a few Oolong from Taiwan. “Four Season”, “Jin Xuan”, “Alishan”, she called out the tea names while pour the teas. Not before long, I could tell people started to get confused. “What was the one we just tasted again?” So how many names/types Taiwan Oolong has?

People familiar with Taiwan Oolong are familiar with names such as Bao Zhong (Pou Chong) and Dong Ding/High Mountain. Those are names based on different levels of fermentation. Bao Zhong is 7.5% to 19% fermented, the lightest among all Taiwan Oolong. Dong Ding/High Mountain is 20% to 30% fermented. Oriental Beauty is 50% to 60% fermented, the heaviest among all Taiwan Oolong.

Names such as Four Season and Jin Xuan, on the other hand, are based on different varietals. Qing Xin Oolong was originally imported from mainland China. It is a good raw material for making Bao Zhong and Dong Ding. Jin Xuan (also known as Tai Cha #12) and Cui Yu (also known as Tai Cha #13) are new varietals developed in Taiwan in the 80s. Four Season got its name because it can be harvested in all seasons.

DaYuLing, Li Shan, Shan Lin Xi, and Alishan are four high mountain tea production regions in Taiwan. DaYuLing, located 2,300 to 2,600 meter above sea level, it is the highest among the four. Followed by Li Shan, which is 2,200 to 2,400 meter above sea level. Shan Lin Xi is at 1,100 to 1,800 meter above sea level, and Alishan is at over 1,000 meter above sea level. High mountain Oolong from DaYuLing is considered the best.

What are you drinking now?



Jason Witt said...

Thanks for an informative article on Oolongs. I didn't know Dong Ding was also considered High Mountain. This is going to take some more of the mystery out of names of Oolongs for me. I also didn't connect Bao Zhong and Pouchong. Interesting. I'm saving this article as a PDF for my permanent files on Oolong.

TeaHub said...

Glad that this helps :)