Can’t decide between black tea and green tea? Maybe Oolong Tea is what you are looking for!
Oolong tea is a tea that is rapidly gaining popularity in the Western world due to its many health benefits. It is an integral part of traditional medicine and is consumed regularly in Asia.
Oolong tea is an everyday use beverage in China. Having a considerable following in the sub-continent and other parts of the world; this tea has an array of flavors ranging from sweet to smoky.
Oolong Tea: The Best Of Both Worlds!
Oolong tea or black dragon tea is a semi-oxidized tea that has the best of both its cousins – black tea and green tea!
It is one of the four true types of tea as it is prepared using the leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant. The variation among these teas starts during their production stage.
The leaves of oolong and black tea are oxidized, whereas the leaves of green and white tea are not oxidized.
The leaves of black tea are entirely oxidized; however, the leaves of oolong tea are semi-oxidized. This is why oolong tea has the best of both – black tea and green tea!
Another thing that sets this tea apart is its shape. The leaves of oolong tea are twisted and rolled into long bars or balls. This unique shaping technique used to pack oolong tea leaves is essential in telling apart low-quality leaves.
Mostly cultivated in China, the best oolong tea is produced in the region of Wuyi, China. After China, Taiwan is the largest producer.
This is an extremely versatile beverage. In general, oxidation levels for oolong tea range from 8 to 80 percent.
The fragrance of the lighter oxidized oolong teas contains traces of honey whereas other stronger oxidized teas have more complex aromas.
5 Best Oolong Tea Variations
Here is our guide to the best oolong tea varieties out there!
1. Phoenix Tea:
One of the bestsellers, phoenix tea, is grown in Guangdong, China. In English, the Chinese name of this tea means ‘single bush’.
For this reason, the leaves for this are picked from a single bush as each bush has its distinct flavor. This means that each batch of this tea will taste different!
Known for its floral flavor, phoenix tea tastes similar to orange flowers. The leaves have a curly appearance that unfolds during the steeping process.
2. Iron Goddess of Mercy:
Grown in the southern Fujian province, this is without a doubt, the most famous Chinese tea.
Often called ‘monkey-picked’, these tea leaves were believed to be harvested by monkeys, trained by monks!
Considered to be of the highest quality, this tea was only available to the rulers of China. However, in today’s day and age, you can buy these royal tea leaves at any tea shop and e-commerce store like Amazon.
This tea smells like an orchid and possesses a delightful touch. All these characteristics combine to help this tea mark its position.
3. Red Robe Tea:
One of the most expensive teas in the world, the red robe tea can cost upwards of $1 million for just 1 kilogram!
Believed to be over a thousand years old, this oolong tea is harvested from those original tea bushes!
If money isn’t a problem, this tea is considered to be the best for fanatic tea lovers. The red robe is dark in color and heavily oxidized. Loved for its health benefits, this tea is famous for having saved the mother of an emperor from the Ming Dynasty.
Usually of bright orange and yellowish color, the leaves of this oolong tea are fat with bold strips and have a somewhat glossy appearance. It has a distinctive smoky flavor as compared with other oolong teas.
4. High Mountain Oolong Tea:
Grown at high altitudes of 3,300+ feet in Taiwan, these seasonal teas consist of a variety of different oolongs. Harvested twice a year, in June and October, these teas are plucked by hand. The tea leaves are left to dry out on a massive canvas before the start of the oxidation process.
During this drying process, the leaves develop smells similar to jasmine, rose, and geranium. When the tea leaves develop their fragrance, they are curled and shrunken for 8 hours before being oxidized.
High-mountain oolong tea is usually sweet and crunchy with hints of flowers. The tea has a smooth and buttery flavor.
5. Milk Oolong Tea:
Milk oolong tea or Golden Daylily is a deliciously creamy drink. Grown at higher altitudes, this tea is also produced in Thailand.
The tea has a milky flavor which is surprisingly not attributable to the infusion of milk in it. Instead, it is related to the natural milk-like taste of the tea leaves, which is produced when they are oxidized for a specific time.
Characterized by a buttery flavor, this oolong tea also has some artificial equivalents in the market, usually named ‘flavored oolongs‘.
5 Easy Steps To Make Oolong Tea
- We endorse using loose tea leaves instead of tea bags because they release a much more dominant flavor when steeped.
- Use two teaspoons of tea for every cup of water.
- Warm some water to a temperature of 190-200◦F ideally. It is best not to use boiling water when preparing oolong tea. If you do not have an electric kettle, simply boil the water and let it cool for 3-5 minutes before you add in the loose-leaf tea.
- Let the tea leaves steep in hot water for about 2-3 minutes before filtering them out using a strainer. You can use high-quality tea leaves to make tea 3 to 5 times!
- Pour the tea into a mug of your choice, as your drink is now ready to be enjoyed!
5 Common Benefits Of Drinking Oolong Tea
Traditionally considered a therapeutic beverage in Chinese culture, oolong tea not only has a unique flavor compared to other teas but also has numerous effects on our health and beauty.
1. Speeds Up The Oxidation Of Fat And Aids Weight Loss:
It is a well-known fact that caffeine increases the metabolism rate of our body and thus, leads to more fat being burned in the process. Oolong tea burns fat twice as fast as compared to green tea according to some studies done recently.
Polyphenol antioxidants also contribute to the factor that speeds up the burning of fat in our bodies. It is thought that these polyphenols activate enzymes that help us to use energy stored in fats.
2. May Help Prevent Diabetes:
According to several studies, polyphenol antioxidants are believed to reduce blood sugar levels by increasing insulin sensitivity and thereby reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes.
More research is needed, though to confirm the effects of oolong tea on the body’s blood sugar levels.
3. Improves Brain Function:
Few studies have shown that drinking tea may help sustain brain function and prevent Alzheimer’s disease. It was found that tea lovers, primarily black and oolong tea drinkers, had up to 64% lower risk of brain function decline!
Several components may assist our brain function:
- Firstly, caffeine increases the release of norepinephrine and dopamine. These two are believed to improve our mood, attention, and brain function.
- Secondly, Theanine, an amino acid present in tea, helps improve our attention span and relieve anxiety.
- Thirdly, polyphenols in tea have a soothing effect according to some studies conducted.
4. May Protect Against Cell Mutations:
Some research conducted on the effects of oolong tea shows that polyphenol antioxidants present in tea help prevent cell mutations and decrease the rate of cancerous cell division.
5. Promotes Tooth & Bone Strength:
Several studies confirm the positive effects of tea on bone mineral density. Theoretically, a higher bone mineral density should lower the risk of fractures, but no research has been done to verify this yet.
Further, some studies link tea consumption to reduced dental plaque because of the presence of fluoride, which helps reinforce tooth enamel.
Depending on your mood, oolong tea can be brewed as both a hot or cold beverage. The best reason for you to start drinking it is for its many health benefits like weight reduction.
It is packed with antioxidants and vitamins that help to keep your body healthy, which in turn keeps you in a good mood.
Besides its health benefits, sipping a cup of this yummy tea allows you to relax and enjoy the simple pleasures in life. With mild caffeine content, this tea can be enjoyed throughout the day!