Varieties of Oolong Tea

Oolong tea is prepared and packaged in several grades; however, all of these are considered Chinese’ most desirable teas. There are variants that are served after drying, while there are those that are allowed to age in order to produce complex flavors. Despite the many contemporary preparatory methods, most of Oolong tea varieties are roasted after drying.

The main characteristics of Oolong tea lie between black and green tea. Black teas are completely oxidized, green teas aren’t and Oolong teas are semi-oxidized in 20% to 75% range. Generally, Oolong tea is harvested during spring season. When all of the leaves are mature for processing, they are plucked, dried and allowed to wither. The withering process bruises the leaves’ edges which immediately initiates the oxidation process. After the oxidation, the tea leaves are roasted, rolled, fired, cooled and fired once again. The particular level of oxidation determines the features and quality of Oolong tea.

Oolong tea best prospers in mountainous areas with harsh climates with Wu-Yi mountain and Tie Guan Yin in China as the best examples for it. Aside from China, Taiwan has also been considered one of the big names in Oolong tea since 1800s which include Pouchong and Dong Ding.

Kinds of Oolong Tea

Da Hong Pao

This is one of the most prestigious Wuyi teas. According to its legend, the emperor of Ming Dynasty has a sickly mother. After trying all herbs, only a certain kind of tea cured her. In gratitude, the emperor sent red robes to protect the bushes from which the miraculous tea originated. Three of the bushes still produce tea leaves until today and for that, it is continuously being venerated.


This kind of Oolong tea has black long leaves and is highly fermented. Pouchong is categorized under the floral types, considerably light and are popular in Formosa, Taiwan.

Nai Xiang

The name basically means “milk Oolong” or “milk fragrance”. Its name suggests that this has a unique taste and milk-like aroma. Nai Xiang is common in Taiwan, but is available all over the globe. Today, Nai Xiang is becoming popular in Russia and the United States.

Assam Tea

This black tea is named after its region of origin and production which is Assam, India. Assam tea grows in coastal areas and is popular for its bright color, malty flavor and briskness. Almost all of the blends that contain Assam are marketed as teas for ‘breakfast’.

Ti Kuan Yin

This kind of tea is tightly pelleted. Commonly, this is known by the name “iron goddess” and is characterized by crinkly and stout leaves. Ti Kuan Yin is very popular in China.


This originated in Taiwan and is harvested during spring season. Formosa is known for its delicate taste.

Tung Ting

In Taiwan, Tung Ting is considered the best kind. It’s fermented lightly; thus, has a gentle and light taste.


Darjeeling is one of the rarest Oolong kind, picked from India’s Darjeeling region.


Legend reveals that Tieluohan was a masterpiece of a warrior monk who had bronze skin. This is what gave the name “tieluohan”- Iron warrior monk.