How Does Roasting Affect the Taste of Oolong Tea?
Roasting Oolong Tea takes the aromatic, fragrant qualities of unroasted Oolong and brings more body and complexity to the tea. A roasted Oolong carries a more balanced and full flavor while unroasted Oolong is more fresh and light.
Unroasted tea does not undergo post-production "curing" of the leaves. Traditionally, Oolong Tea leaves are often roasted or baked at low temperature for long intervals. However, "Fresh" or "Green" Oolongs are left unroasted to maintain the naturally occurring aromatic oils in the leaf. High Mountain Oolong Tea is generally unroasted.
Lightly Roasted tea has undergone 1-2 intervals of being baked for several hours at low temperature. This transforms the character of the tea from fresh-green to a mellowed, more full-bodied brew. Post production roasting also increases the shelf life of the tea leaves.
Heavily Roasted tea has undergone multiple intervals of being baked for several hours at low temperature. Often, the artisan will increase the heat in the final hours of roasting to ensure a fully balanced roasted flavor. Heavily roasted tea delivers a distinctly hearty, bold character that can endure multiple brews.