A big difference between Oolong tea and green tea is the production method, especially the first stage. Here are the 2 unique processes that differentiate Oolong production from green tea production.
1. Withering and Fermentation
Oolong leaves are stored outside to be withered under the sun. An enzyme in the leaf builds its unique flavor. This first stage to produce Oolong tea is very important because it determines the quality by adjusting withering and fermentation. In some cases the tea grower will scattered the leaves to stimulate this process.
After the first step, the leaves still have a high moisture content. They are heated to stop the activity of oxidation. A large drum is heated to over 200°C and you hear a cracking sound when the leaves are inserted into the drum. The leaves spend only a short time in the drum and the moisture in the leaves keeps them from getting burnt.
This production method does not break down the leaf tissue like the steaming process of most Japanese teas. Tea leaves are not cut, but curled. The extraction in steeping the tea is slower than Japanese green tea, however you can brew multiple cups with the same leaves. If you use a glass cup, teapot or Gaiwan (a Chinese lidded bowl without a handle), you can enjoy watching the dried tea leaf turned back to their original shape.
Most of Oolong tea drinkers are accustomed to the taste of Ti Kuwan Yin from China or Tung Ting Oolong from Taiwan which are major popular Oolong teas. However, Honyama Oolong has a unique flavor, something between those Oolong teas and Japanese Senchas. Also this Oolong tea is made of special cultivar giving it a Coconut like milky flavor with a sticky sweet aftertaste.