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    Production of Taiwan Oolongs
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Lesson #25. Production of Taiwan Oolongs

Taiwan oolongs production technology:
1 Plucking
2 Whitherin
3 Tossing
4 Bruising (semi-fermentation)
5 Roasting
6 Cloth kneading
7 Rolling
8 Roasting with deblocking
9 Repeated roasting, kneading and deblocking until ready

There are 4 seasonal crops. Each tea has its advantages, still autumn and spring gathers are the best.

To make plucking of tips more accurate Taiwanese attach razors to their fingers.

This makes gathering much faster.

The leaves are spread in the sunlight to remove the excessive moisture.

The leaf heats up intensely in the sun.

So thereafter it needs to be rested indoors.

In Taiwan everything is automated.

Tea leaves are swirled in an automated bamboo drum.

A large amount of tea at a time is slowly swirled for several hours.

Afterwards the tea is placed on bamboo trays for sap fermentation on the leaf edges broken by tossing.

Present-day roasting takes place in a rotary drum at the temperature of 300°С.

The tea is processed therein for several minutes.

Afterwards it is carefully unloaded back to trays.

The machine performs multiple processes. The tea is both roasted and separated into individual leaves after roliing.

Roasting is also controlled by state-of-the-art equipment.

Separated and dried the tea is withdrawn from the machine.

It is time to shape tea leaves. This procedure consists of several repeated stages. A tea leaf can not be curled into a ball shape in one go.

A large amount of tea is placed in a cloth sack, which is twisted up tightly.

A sack is slowly kneaded by the machine and tea leaves are curled into balls.

Second roasting and separation of tea leaves. Gradually round by round the tea leaves turn into tight dry balls.

After a number of rounds the tea is finished.

It is cooled down after final roasting.

Packaged into different-sized bags. Big ones are for wholesale dealers, smaller ones — for retailers.

Packaged like this it will longer retain its freshness.

Special aspects of brewing Taiwan oolongs

Same brewing procedure as for Tieguanyin as both the plant and the production technology originate from South Fujian. The tea is brewed in boiling water at the rate of 7 grams per 100 ml and may be prepared traditionally in fast steepings. However there is a special ceremonial brewing of rolled oolongs. As Chinese web-sites describe it: 1/3 of the vessel should be is filled with the tea. First steeping rinses tea leaves. Second — infuses for 30 seconds increasing the time of infusion with every consecutive steeping. This enables to acquire rich and vibrant brew right away. Lasts 5–7 steepings.

Ceramics and porcelain fit well for brewing. However ceremonies often use round shaped Yixing teapots made of zhuni clay. You may well say it’s an ideal tea-ware for brewing Tieguanyin.

When brewing all oolongs first steeping is discarded to let the tea leaves better unfold and wash out dust of the broken leaf.

Storage of Taiwan oolong

Strongly roasted tea can be easily stored for several years in tightly sealed tea canister or vacuum package. Storage of slightly roasted oolongs is more complicated. They also retain palatability for years but their flavor changes. Yet certain «freshness», which is so valued, vanishes in a course of time. Therefore to delay its aging packaged tea is better to be stored in a refrigerator.

Illustrated by screenshots from film 2013 Spring Tea Harvest and Processing.

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