What is involved in the typical roasting process of Taiwanese Oolong?
To begin, tea leaves are prepped for roasting by undergoing a higher level of oxidation than unroasted Oolong tea, typically between 25-50% oxidized.
The roasting process itself is a rather long, intensive procedure and can include a lot of variation from farm to farm, or even from batch to batch. Depending on the type of tea being roasted, there are usually between three to five roasting sessions spread out over a few weeks.
The traditional method of roasting involves creating a bed of ash atop charcoal in a large woven basket. Roasting temperature begins around 80-100°C and steadily increases to around 120°C for the final roasting interval.
Roasting finalizes the drying process of the tea leaves and is what creates the more full-bodied flavor associated with roasted Oolong tea.