Difference Between Tongding Oolong & Tieguanyin Tea?

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People often ask what is the difference between Tongding Tieguanyin and Tongding Oolong? First of all, Tongding refers to the name of the harvest area, while Tieguanyin and Oolong are the names used to categorise the different degrees of fermentation. Since both Tieguanyin and Oolong teas are produced in Tongding, people often confuse these two excellent teas. Today, let’s see the difference between these two teas!

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What are Tongding Oolong and Tongding Tieguanyin?

What is the difference between Tongding Tieguanyin and Tongding Oolong? 

  1. The two types of tea trees are different.
  2. The degree of fermentation is different:
    Different tea factories have different degrees of fermentation. Tieguanyin is mainly fermented at 8%-18%; Tongding Oolong is 20%-70%.
  3. Different classifications:
    Tieguanyin belongs to the “Southern Fujian Oolong” category; Tongding Oolong belongs to the “Northern Fujian Oolong” category.
  4. The process is different:
    There is no “softening” process in the production of Tieguanyin; for Tongding Oolong tea, the first-dried tea leaves are added into the stir-frying machine, and heated to soften. The tea is then placed into a special cloth towel or cloth ball bag, and rubbed back and forth by hand or with a cloth ball rolling machine.

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Tongding Oolong Tieguanyin, a serenade to the senses, dances on the palate, a harmonious symphony of earthy depth and floral grace. It’s a journey to tranquil gardens where leaves whisper secrets to the soul.

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Tea Classroom – 6 Types of Tea

Six Categories of Tea

According to the degree of fermentation, tea can be divided into six categories: green, oolong(Qing), black, white, yellow, and dark. The most famous tea in Taiwan is mainly semi-fermented – oolong tea. The botanical name of the tea tree is Camellia sinensis, and the biological classification is Camellia.

In China, this tea tree has been cultivated and eaten for thousands of years. Sinensis means Chinese, and is mainly grown in China and other parts of East Asia, and has a mild, full-bodied character; while “Camellia sinensis var. assamica” is mainly grown in India, and is usually stronger.

What Is Oolong Tea and Where Does It Come From?

Oolong tea is partially fermented with a degree of fermentation between green and black teas ranging 10%-80%. As a result, oolong tea can be re-brewed many times, with each cup having a slightly different taste and colour, from light yellow to rich amber.. Many types of oolong tea, such as Jinxuan oolong tea, are bred from special varieties of tea trees that have been cultivated for many years to give the tea its unique flavour.

Depending on the type of oolong tea, some are fermented for a short period of time, or more thoroughly fermented after some production procedures; some are fermented almost to the level of black tea. After drying and packaging, some oolongs are tightly hand-rolled into balls.

Oolong tea is mainly produced in China and Taiwan. In China, oolong production areas include Wuyi Mountain and Anxi in Fujian Province. Taiwan is famous for its specialty oolong teas, including the popular Jinxuan oolong tea and Tongding oolong tea.

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Where is Tongding and why is tea famous?

Tongding is located in Lugu Township, Nantou County, in the central part of Taiwan, and is one of the most important cities for Taiwanese tea production. Located in Taiwan’s most important central mountain range, the tea gardens stretching between Tongding Mountain and further up the mountain in Shanlinxi, is particularly where high-quality tea is produced.

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The main reasons for Tongding tea production

  • High-quality soil with good mountains and good water

As the water source of streams comes from high mountain areas, obviously the closer to the peak, the purist the water quality will be, and Nantou is right up there! For this, it’s no wonder that Nantou is a natural haven for fine produce.

  • One of the early Taiwanese export crops

Due to Taiwan’s warm humid climate and rainfall season, the native environment has been ideal for tea trees since ancient times. The commodities primarily exported from Taiwan in the early days were tea, camphor, and sucrose, which were also called the three treasures of Taiwan. At that time, Taiwan’s tea industry was already well established, which led to the development of independent tea producers and boutiques.

  • Hillside environment, favorite of tea trees

The sloped landscape also has a great influence on the growth of tea trees. Under sunny conditions in winter, cold air will gather in the low-lying areas; but when the cold wave hits, the temperature at the top of the slope facing the wind is low, while the temperature at the end of the slope is relatively high. Most of the crops on flat land are rice and sugarcane, which is quite the contrary to tea trees.

Tongding Tieguanyin Introduction

Tieguanyin is an oolong tea, and the degree of fermentation is close to that of green tea. Tieguanyin has a different taste due to the use of different tea tree varieties. The common types of Tieguanyin are: Zhengfei Tieguanyin, red heart Tieguanyin, and green heart Tieguanyin.

The biggest feature of Tongding Tieguanyin is that each brew has a different taste. “Seven brewed has the reputation of a lingering fragrance”, the reason why it is selected as one of the top ten famous teas in China is not only that the Tieguanyin fermentation method is retained, but because the product origin of Tongding is guaranteed.

Tongding Oolong Introduction

Oolong tea is one of the six major teas and is the representative of semi-fermented tea. Most of the tea leaves that are neither black nor green are classified as oolong tea, which results in many different degrees of fermentation.

Tongding oolong tea has no certain standard of fermentation range, often as broad as 20% to 70%. Therefore, it is suggested that consumers try it before confirming which Tongding oolong tea they prefer when purchasing.

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In the realm of tea, the Tongding Oolong Tieguanyin is a jade symphony of tradition and innovation. It unfurls in your cup like a love story, with notes of orchids, honey, and the mountains’ whispered secrets.


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We hope that after reading the introduction of the above two teas, both of which are from Tongding, you will have gained some inside to easily differentiate from other tea categories.

ABoxTik is a retailer of Tongding Oolong, types of Oolong tea bags, and we strictly select authentic tea from all over Taiwan. The beautiful and exquisite gift box packaging demonstrates the heart of Taiwan. We welcome you to visit the official website of ABoxTik now to browse our superior range!