Oolong teas are partially oxidised, being somewhere between green tea or black tea in most respects - their caffeine, their levels of antioxidant compounds, the way they're made - but tasting surprisingly unlike either. Oolong tea originated in the Fujian province of China, where much of the world's best oolong is still produced. Other noteworthy oolong producers include Taiwan, usually under its Dutch name of Formosa, and the region of Guandong.
My Oolong Tea Song is based on the true story of a sad time in my life when, having once discovered oolong tea, I managed to lose my only box when I took it camping. Every time I found a shop which I thought might just sell oolong - health food shops, coffee shops - I would check their tea shelves carefully, and time after time I came up oolongless. I had to go back to sitting in my dull office, drinking green tea which just never quite hit the spot. So - I wrote this song.
A week or so later I went back to the place I bought it the first time, a souvenir and tea stall in Camden Lock. They still had it in stock. I probably should have tried that sooner.
Nowadays I am always well stocked with a variety of oolongs. I mostly buy them in Chinatown, but there are a few other places scattered around London and Edinburgh if you know where to look. Sooner or later I expect I'll sort out a more efficient supply chain. If you would like to try some oolong I will post some to anyone not too far away, at a fair price.
I'm still fond of the Twinings oolong I first fell for, but I have found that better still are the warm richness of Ti Kuan Yin, the refreshing autumnal tang of Silvertip or the sweet subtlety of Formosa Peach-Blossom Oolong.
If you've read this far, you might like my tea page at oolong.co.uk/tea
released March 19, 2011