And then came the next bombshell. He explained that the primary difference between green, black and blue tea was the length of time the leaves were oxidised before the drying process. I'd always thought that green and black teas just came from totally different plants - like the difference between a Braeburn and a Granny Smith tree - but that's not actually what gives the tea its colour. Green tea comes from leaves that are immediately dried after they have been cut or rolled; black tea leaves have been left to oxidise - much as a cut apple or banana would - for around an hour; oolong, or blue tea, leaves have also been left to oxidise but for, roughly speaking, only about half an hour.
OK, all very interesting, but what did this oolong taste like? Well, it wouldn't be too much of an exaggeration to say it blew me away. The flavour, unsurprisingly, was somewhere between a green and black tea: fragrant, light, but with a bit of oomph. It was refreshing but also invigorating in the way that a morning cuppa can be. I immediately went out and bought a packet and haven't looked back since.
I'll happily drink it anytime but I find it a real boon at work. Like everyone else I absolutely hate those machine teas and coffees; and I was bored stiff of fruit and herb teabags. So, I put a spoonful of oolong into my little tea infuser (a rather twee but highly useful little house on a chain!) each morning. Later, at work, I pop it into a cup of water that is hot but not boiling so as not to scorch the leaves, infuse for about 3 minutes and then drink the delicious tea! And the beauty of oolong, like green teas, is that, as long as you don't leave them sitting in water, you get at least 3 infusions from each serving of leaves - in fact I find the tea gets better by the 2nd or 3rd brew. I very rarely drink more than 3 hot drinks during a working day so it's perfect for me. And you don't have it with milk so you can avoid the whole is it off or not sniff by the fridge. I know you may be thinking that it sounds like a bit of a faff, but aside from remembering to fill your infuser before you leave the house and washing it out when you get home it's really no bother at all.
But wherever you drink your hot drinks I would urge you to give blue teas a try. There are, of course, a whole gamut of oolongs to choose from, but in the first instance, just get hold of some good quality medium strength leaves and see what you think. I don't think you'll be disappointed.