Tea processing terms can be confusing. What is rolling or shaping?
The damp tea leaves are then rolled to be formed into wrinkled strips, by hand or using a rolling machine which causes the tea to wrap around itself.
This rolling action also causes some of the sap, essential oils, and juices inside the leaves to ooze out, which further enhances the taste of the tea.
The strips of tea can then be formed into other shapes, such as being rolled into spirals, kneaded and rolled into pellets, or tied into balls, cones and other elaborate shapes.
In many types of oolong, the rolled strips of tea leaf are then rolled to spheres or half spheres and is typically done by placing the damp leaves in large cloth bags, which are then kneaded by hand or machine in a specific manner.
This content has been adapted from the book Your Path of Tea for Health of Body, Mind and Spirit by the late Thia McKann, Tea Master and Owner of The Path of Tea.