Zealong Tea Varieties and Harvest Times

Not all tea estates do things the same way.  Below you can explore behind the scenes a few of the decisions that make Zealong tea so unique.

Zealong Harvest Times

Zealong typically harvests three times per year: November, January and March for about 20 days each time.  Using ancient techniques, they hand pick just the top 3 leaves of the new growth.  A special team is flown in from Taiwan at each harvest to ensure the best outcomes possible. 

Zealong Tea Plant Varity

There are two main varieties of the tea plant, Camellia sinensis. The Chinese variety, Camellia sinensis sinensis, has a small leaf and is more tolerant of cold weather. The second variety, Camellia sinensis assamica, is native to the Assam region in India. It thrives in tropical areas and low elevation. 

Most oolong teas, especially those of fine quality like Zealong's oolong, involve unique tea plant cultivars that are exclusively used for varieties. 

Because of the experience and craftsmanship of the Zealong tea masters, Zealong has been able make green, oolong, and black tea from the same cultivar. The result is some truly unique teas that are different from the typical green and black teas that are currently on the market today.

Difference Between Zealong's Green, Black, and Oolong

The main difference in Zealong's green, black, and oolong teas is the different level of oxidation involved in the tea processing that gives tea different characteristics. Green tea does not undergo oxidation, while black tea is fully oxidized. This is why green tea has a clear, light color while black tea is a lot darker (some of the tea’s compounds are transformed into flavors and colors during the oxidation stage).

Oolong tea is between green and black: the 10%~70% natural oxidation allows oolong tea to have the refreshing taste of green tea, but also the rich and soft flavor of black tea.  By producing a variety- this gives tea drinkers the opportunity to locate their preferred taste profile along the oxidation spectrum.

Oxidation Levels in Zealong Teas

Oxidation is the process where enzymes within the picked tea leaf react with the oxygen in the air. Over time, this process causes the leaf to turn brown, and also affects the flavor profile. This is the same thing that happens to sliced apple, for example, when it starts to brown.

There are various ways to stop oxidization. In tea making, high heat is used to control this process to the desired level.

Zealong Collections & Blended Teas

All Zealong products are completely organic and all flavors have been achieved with natural raw ingredients.

The Origins Collection has its unique flavors and characteristics through the creative manipulation of oxidation, processing techniques, and roasting.

The Botanical Collection uses New Zealand grown teas as a foundation and harmoniously introduces unique botanicals from within New Zealand and from around the world.

The Heritage Collection redefines traditional tea favorites with Zealong’s own interpretation – without the use of any artificial flavors, oils, or additives, which is why these unique flavors often taste different from large scale tea companies.