Hong Oolong Tea | Eco-Cha Tea Club
Batch 71 of the Eco-Cha Tea Club is a Hong Oolong Tea made by our source of Traditional Dong Ding Oolong as well as our Small Leaf Black Tea. Both of these teas that we regularly procure from this family-run farm are closely related to this month's batch of the Eco-Cha Tea Club. This is the premier batch of Hong Oolong Tea made by this Dong Ding Oolong artisan however, and it exists only because of our encouragement (not nagging!) about trying out a new recipe!
The tea leaves above represent the degree of oxidation in the making of a Traditional Dong Ding Oolong Tea, prior to the tumble heating/cease oxidation phase. The name Hong Oolong (hong cha = red tea in Mandarin, which we call Black Tea in English) represents a hybrid processing method that combines Black Tea and Oolong Tea making processes. This batch of Hong Oolong was processed in the same fashion as a Traditional Dong Ding Oolong Tea — up to the stage just prior to tumble heating, or cease oxidation — also called "kill green" in Chinese. Prior to tumble heating, these leaves were rolled, similar to, but not the same as Black Tea. They were only partially rolled with the rolling machine that is used for Oolong Tea making rather than Black Tea making.
The photo above shows the leaves after they have been rolled in the concave "half moon shaped" rolling machine used for Oolong Tea making. This is a specific difference from a more standardized, large scale production of Hong Oolong. in a standardized production of Hong Oolong, a larger flat rolling machine used for Black Tea processing is used. But here, we are in a home style Traditional Oolong Tea making factory. And the processing methods are more based on 30 years of personal experience in Oolong Tea making, along with several years of Black Tea processing. This is a home recipe, rather than a factory SOP.
Shown above are the leaves after they've gone through the tumble heating. After this they are bundled in cloth tarps and left overnight to redistribute the remaining moisture in the leaves, before they are rolled and dried the following day. Below is a short video clip showing the unique added step in the making of this batch of Hong Oolong that differentiates it from a Traditional Dong Ding Oolong, as well as a Small Leaf Black Tea.
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With the arrival of our spring batch of Taiwan Dong Ding Oolong Tea, we were inspired to brew it alongside our Traditional Dong Ding Oolong as well as our current edition of the Eco-Cha Tea Club — which also happens to be a Traditional Dong Ding Oolong. All three teas were harvested this spring from the same community in Lugu, Taiwan.