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Let's Talk Oolong

Before starting my tea business, I had never heard of oolong tea. I had no idea! In a tutorial it was suggested that I start with two oolongs on my tea bar shelves. I picked two of the most common, and, to be honest, they have not gotten much attention from my Maritime tea patrons. It could be, in part, that I don't up-sell them as I should. And yet, I really enjoy them as I have gotten acquainted with their tastes. I made the decision recently to begin sharing my enthusiasm for oolongs with you, and so I changed the name of Formosa Oolong to Bamboolong! Why? Well, I read in my The Tea Companion book that oolongs are shaken in bamboo baskets during processing. So here's a brief description of the darker of the two oolongs I carry:

Taiwan is famous for tea, especially the lightly roasted oolong tea. It falls between a black tea and a green tea therefore, making oolongs sometimes known as brown tea. This Taiwanese tea has a rich, dark liquor and a slightly sweet, toasty taste.

[caption id="attachment_1718" align="aligncenter" width="640"]My new Bamboolong (darker) and Oo-la-long tea lattes. My new Bamboolong (darker) and Oo-la-long tea lattes.[/caption]

Oolong means semi fermented. The leaves are first wilted and then shaken in bamboo baskets. The tea is allowed to ferment only until the edges of the leaves start to turn brown. The tea is then fired which arrests the fermenting process and captures the interesting character associated with Oolong tea.

[caption id="attachment_1719" align="aligncenter" width="464"]Bamboolong! Bamboolong![/caption]

A long-fired oolong takes on bakey notes and makes a rich amber cup of tea. My Bamboolong (Formosa Oolong) is just that! It pairs wonderfully with cheeses such as Brie, Cheddar or Muenster and with such tantalizing desserts as crepes, baklava and pecan pie.

Here's a cute (and very true) tea quote from a tea coinnoseur:

"For temporary relief of deep inner turmoil, drink tea. For lasting relief, keep drinking."

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