As is traditional in tea lore there are several explanations of how Oolong tea and its name came to be. The first explanation suggests that the name Oolong is derived from the style of tea that was popular before loose leaf tea, a form of tea cake that was called Dragon-Phoenix tea. When oolong loose tea replaced the dragon-phoenix tea cake it is theorized that since the loose leaf form was long black and curly, it was named "Black dragon tea" or oolong.
A second traditional explanation of the name tells a story of a man named Wu Liang who spent a hard day picking and preparing tea leaves. As he was preparing to pan fry the leaves he was distracted by some form of game animal and set out to chase it. When he returned the tea had partially oxidized. He tested the leaves anyway and was thrilled to discover that the flavor was quite good and altogether different from the tea that was popular at the time. The theory suggests that the mans name, Wu Liang, became corrupted over time and became Wu Long.
Oolong teas are among the most prized on the Chinese and Southeast Asian markets. Connoisseurs enjoy the variety of flavors that are present within this style of tea ranging from light and sweet, to earthy and smokey. Not only is the flavor of oolong incredibly varied there are also a number methods in place to prepare the leaf, ranging from a slightly curly loose leaf to a tightly wound pellet shaped pearl of premium tea.