Can You Call Wu Yi Tea, Oolong Tea?

Simple! Because wu yi tea is oolong tea. Confusing? It is not, really, but first you should know a few things about the various types of tea.

Camellia sinensis is the plant for which all real teas are harvested. The final product, or variety, depends on how it is processed.

Black tea is the most popular. At least 75% of all tea produced is black tea. The tea leaves are left out to wither after harvesting. They are then rolled using one of two methods: orthodox or CTC (cut, tear, curl). Both methods release more moisture, but CTC crushes the leaves more because a machine is used.

They are then spread out in a cool, damp place to oxidize. This turns the leaves from green to brownish color. The tea leaves are then dried using hot air. Finally, the tea is sorted into various grades depending the final leaf size.

Green tea goes through a similar process, however the oxidation step is left out which allows the leaves to remain green. Instead, after the tea is dried, it is steamed to stop the oxidation process. This also helps maintain the integrity of the nutrients in green tea, though black tea also retains some of its nutritional value. Green tea is rather grassy in flavor due to the lack of oxidation.

White tea comes from the “baby” leaves on the Camellia sinensis plant. It can only be harvested a few days in a year when the buds of the plant have yet to fully open. It is then processed similarly to green tea, but because the leaves are so young, the tea has a smoother, more delicate flavor. White tea has only been available for worldwide distribution as it was once reserved only for the Chinese nobility. True white tea remains rather expensive.

Perhaps oolong is the best tea because it is not as pricey as white tea, but it has a great flavor more like black tea. Plus, it retains most of its nutrients and weight loss capabilities like green tea and white tea. Unlike white or green tea, oolong tea is oxidized to some extent, which is what lends to the flavor. However, it still has most of its nutrients and it can be harvested like green or black tea using more mature leaves.

Now, to answer the question about oolong and wu yi tea. Wu yi tea is merely oolong tea that is grown in the Wuyi mountain chain. This mountain chain is located in northeastern China and it is home to some of the best oolong tea in the world.

Think Florida and oranges, Idaho and potatoes, New Zealand and kiwis. Though oranges, potatoes and kiwis are grown in other areas, the final product may not match those grown in areas that have the perfect climate and soil for the very best end product.

Wu yi tea like white tea was once considered a gift for nobility. It is now available to the rest of the world who have embraced not only its health and weight loss benefits, but also it is gorgeous flavor more akin to black tea.

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