The Darjeeling Oolong
teas are processed from leaves usually harvested in late spring to summer, and sometimes in winter. The processing of Oolong tea requires only a partial oxidation of the leaves. After the leaves are plucked, they are laid out to wither for about 8 to 24 hours. This lets most of the water evaporate. The leaves are then tossed in baskets in order to bruise the edges of the leaves. This bruising causes the leaves to partially oxidize because only a portion of the enzymes are exposed to the air. Next, the leaves are steamed in order to neutralize the enzymes and stop any oxidation. Oolong teas can have varying degrees of oxidation. After the oxidation process, a final drying takes place. Oolong teas are rich in antioxidants and thus have several health benefits.