Tea of the Week: Eastern Beauty Oolong
Eastern Beauty, or ‘Oriental Beauty’, is one of the most exclusive Formosa Oolongs. Highly revered in Asia, Oolong teas are only semi-oxidised and make up one of the great Chinese tea families. The term Oolong comes from 'Wu Long' or ‘Black Dragon’, referring to the dark colour of the dried leaves.
This special Oolong's name, Eastern Beauty, is said to have originated in 19th century England. Apparently, Queen Victoria was so enchanted by the tea’s sweet, mellow and elegant flavours that she gave her royal seal of approval by naming it ‘Oriental Beauty’.
Like both black teas and green teas, Oolong teas are made from the leaves of the Camelia Sinensis bush, part of the same family as the garden Camellia. However, unlike black teas which are fully oxidised and green teas which are only slightly oxidised, Oolongs are made from semi-oxidised leaves. As a result, they have a complexity, richness and golden amber colour that places them halfway between green and black teas. Considered one of the most complicated teas to make, the craft lies in carefully controlling the oxidisation process (the same browning as when you leave a peeled apple out in the air). The tea master repeatedly stirs, tosses and gently bruises the leaves, using his sense of smell, touch and sight to monitor the process. As the tea leaves begin to darken, releasing the special flavours and aromas, the master decides when to stop the oxidising process with the swift application of heat. The warm leaves are then rolled or twisted into the desired shape and dried.
Elegantly mellow, with golden undertones of sun-drenched fruit.
Allow freshly boiled water to cool a little and infuse the oolong teabag for 2-4 minutes. For added nuances, reinfuse up to 3 times. This tea is best enjoyed without milk.
If you're a fan of our Eastern Beauty Oolong, try our recipe for delicious Oolong Island Iced Tea Cocktails!
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