Oolong (black dragon) is a traditional Chinese tea produced through a process similar to black tea. It begins by withering the leaves outside in sunlight then withering some more inside at room temperature. Leaves are stirred by hand every hour or so to encourage the fermentation. Now the leaves are pan-fired to halt the oxidation which can vary from 8 to 85%. Next, the leaves are formed into one of two distinct styles. Some are rolled into long curly leaves, while others are 'wrap-curled' into small beads, each with a tail. Additional firing and rolling are performed as dictated by the type.
Most oolong teas involve particular tea plant cultivars to create different varieties. Oolong is especially popular with tea-lovers of south China and Southeast Asia. The Fujian preparation process known as the Gongfu tea ceremony (Gongfucha) includes the use of oolong tea. Also popular in Taiwan.
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