Updated: May 24
Oolong is a dark-coloured traditional Chinee tea made from fermented withered leaves. The tea represents 2% of the world's tea. Since Oolong tea is a combination of dark and green tea, it has interesting health benefits. That's why it's worth drinking Oolong tea - let's take a deeper look at it.
Oolong tea is made from the Camellia Sinensis plant. It is the same plant that is associated with green and black tea. The name differs depending on how the teas are processed.
Camellia Sinensis leaves go through an oxidation process that turns green tea leaves into a deep dark colour. The Oolong tea is partly oxidized and somewhere between Green and Black tea.
In other words, the partly oxidized state of the leaves is what is responsible for Oolong tea's colour and characteristics. The colour of the tea will vary depending on different brands.
The appearance, taste, and shape of this tea vary depending on the origin and how it was processed. China and Taiwan are the mother country of Oolong tea. The difference between China's and Taiwan's Oolong tea is that tea from Taiwan is less oxidized.
That means it's more green in colour and light in flavour than Oolong tea from China.
Taste and Appearance of Oolong Tea
The oxidation process of this tea varies, which means even the taste will be different. You can expect the tea flavour to range from light to full-bodied, sweet to toasty, and floral to grassy.
But that's not all.
It's colour too changes; sometimes, you may find a light green, other times golden or brown. There are so many factors that affect their growth and processing, which makes it tastes different.
Picture Oolong tea like the different tastes you experience with fine wine. All wines come from grapes, but they are a variety of grapes, grown at different places, and different artisan winemaker, makes the final product have different tastes.
The same thing happens with Oolong tea. For starters looking to have an enjoyable mouthful experience with oolong tea. It is recommended that you taste only three varieties of this tea.
1. Sightly oxidized oolong tea (Alishan)- It is a Taiwanese light oxidized oolong tea that has a comforting creamy flavour and green notes2. Medium oxidized oolong tea (Jun Chiyabari)- An unusual medium oxidized Nepali oolong tea which is light and warm3. Dark Oxidized oolong tea (Da Hong Pao)- The famous Chinese dark oxidized tea having roasted honey.
You will have an enjoyable experience when you start tasting either of that Oolong tea before moving on to other flavours.
Nutritional Value of Oolong Tea
Oolong tea is rich in vitamins, minerals, and beneficial antioxidants. An excellent cup of oolong tea will have approximately.
Fluoride: 5 to 24% of RDI(Reference Daily Intake)Manganese: 26% of RDIPotassium: 1% of RDISodium: 1% of RDIMagnesium: 1% of RDINiacin: 1% of RDICaffeine: 36mg
The main antioxidant you'll find in green tea are polyphenols, theaflavins, thearubigins, and EGCG. All these antioxidants are beneficial for your health.
How to Steep Oolong Tea?
There are two ways to steep Oolong tea. You can either steep using the Asian-style (gaiwan or clay Yixing teapot) or the western style using a teapot.
The general rule is to use 6 ounces of water for every one teaspoon of tea balls. When steeping the tea, it is recommended that you avoid distilled water because it will taste flat.
Here are the steps you need to follow:
Step 1: Get fresh spring or filtered water. With the water, you are guaranteed to get the best flavours from the tea
Step 2: You'll need to fill your teapot or tea infuser with a decent amount of leaves. One teaspoon if the oolong tea is rolled into balls and two teaspoon if you have oolong tea leaves.
Step 3: In a separate teapot, boil or heat the water. Water used to prepare the oolong tea is heated between 185F to 205 F degrees. If you have a thermometer at home, you can get the exact measurement of the temperature.
Step 4: Steeping methods do vary. First, you'll want to read the oolong tea label to find out the steeping time, which can be between 1 to 2 minutes. Any leafy-style oolong tea will infuse more quickly than the ball or rolled-style oolong tea. You also need to taste the tea every 30 seconds.
What is the Benefit of Oolong Tea?
A population study done by the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health in 2011 found out that drinking oolong tea is linked to a reduction in mortality rate from patients with heart ailments.
The study composed of 76 979 adults from 46 years of age and above. The members who were surveyed were free from strokes, heart diseases, and cancer at the start of the study. From the survey, it turned out that those who drank coffee, green tea, and oolong tea daily had a low risk of developing heart diseases.
According to the book, the Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine, consumption of oolong tea improves fat metabolism, therefore reducing the body weight. In the study of 102 obese people, it was discovered that 66% of the participant who took oolong tea lost more than 2.2 pounds in 6 weeks. Overall, 22% of the people lost more than 6.6kg.
From these evidence-based studies, it is clear that drinking oolong tea is beneficial to our health.