Oolong

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Oolong (simplified Chinese: 乌龙; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: wūlóng) is a traditional Chinese tea (Camellia sinensis) produced through a unique process including withering under the strong sun and fermentation before curling and twisting[1]. Most oolong productions, especially fine quality ones, involved unique tea plant cultivars that are exclusively used for particular varieties[2]. In terms of degree of fermentation, it can range from 8% [3]to 85%[4], depending on the variety and production style. The popularity of this tea category is closely tied to tea connoisseurs of south China and Chinese expatriates in Southeast Asia[5], and the tea preparation process that originated from this area: gongfu tea-making, or the gongfu tea infusion approach.

In Chinese tea culture, semi-oxidised oolong teas are collectively grouped as qīngchá (Chinese: ; literally "blue-green tea").[6] The taste of oolong ranges hugely amongst various sub-varieties[7]. It can be sweet and fruity with honey aromas[8], or woody and thick with roasted aromas[9][10], or green and fresh with bouquet aromas[11], all depending on the horticulture and style of production[12]. Several subvarieties of oolong, including those produced in the Wuyi Mountains of northern Fujian and in the central mountains of Taiwan, are among the most famous Chinese teas.

Different varieties of oolong are processed differently, but the leaves are formed into two distinct styles. Some are rolled into long curly leaves, while the others are 'wrap-curled' into small beads each with a tail. The former style is the more traditional of the two.

The name oolong tea comes into the English language from the Chinese name (Chinese: 烏龍茶), which is pronounced as O·-liông tê in the Min Nan spoken variant. The Chinese name means "black dragon tea".

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