What Is Oolong Tea? Health Benefits, Characteristics, Prep
What is oolong tea?
Oolong Tea has a long history in China and Taiwan. It grows well in the high, mountainous regions of China. There are many legends regarding the origins of Oolong, which demonstrates its central importance to Chinese culture. Nowadays, Oolong grows well in China, Taiwan, New Zealand, and Sri Lanka. Each region's Oolong will have an incredibly unique look and flavor.
Oolong belongs to its own category of tea, it is neither black tea nor green tea, but instead falls somewhere in between. When Black Tea is processed, it is very oxidized, giving it a signature dark hue. Green tea, on the other hand, is not given much time to oxidize. Oolong's oxidation time falls somewhere in the middle.
Oolong Tea has a unique shape. Oolong means "black dragon" in Chinese. Traditionally, the tea maker twists Oolong Tea into tight balls. These Oolong balls have a unique look, but the shape also affects the flavor and aroma of the tea.
The rolling process entirely dictates the tea's final flavor. The method of creating oolong tea brings out fantastic health benefits, including weight loss in the delicious brew.
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How is oolong tea made?
When first picked, tea leaves are quite fragile. During the withering process, freshly-picked leaves are laid out in the sun to dry. As they dry, the tea leaves become softer and more flexible. This way, they are durable enough for the rolling process.
The tea leaves must be cooled off once they’ve spent time in the sun. Cooling the tea leaves causes them to shrink in size, making them ready to roll.
Rolling the tea leaves breaks down the tea's cell walls, exposing more of the surface area to oxygen. The leaves then begin to oxidize. The degree to which the tea oxidizes dictates the color, aroma, and flavor of the tea.
As mentioned before, the oxidation process determines what type of tea your leaves will become. Oolong Tea can oxidize anywhere from 8-80%. The longer the tea oxidizes, the deeper and richer the Oolong Tea will become
Once the tea leaves have oxidized, it’s time to apply heat. Roasting the tea leaves adds unique flavors to the tea leaves.
This final rolling process is what gives Oolong Tea its characteristic shape and finalizes the flavor of the tea.
Before the Oolong Tea can be stored or sold, it must be completely dried out. If moisture remains in the tea, it can cause the leaves to rot and spoil.
Finally, the tea leaves are sorted based on shape, size, and color. Similar leaves are placed together and sold based on the flavor profile they will yield.
What are the health benefits of oolong tea?
Oolong Tea has many health benefits. It contains several essential nutrients, including Fluoride, Manganese, Potassium, Sodium, and Magnesium. Drinking Oolong Tea can not only potentially help heal painful ailments but may also be beneficial as preventative medicine. Keep reading to discover some of the health benefits Oolong Tea has to offer.
Oolong and antioxidants
Some of the antioxidants in Oolong Tea include theaflavins, thearubigins, and EGCG. These antioxidants can act as strong antibiotics, potentially helping to fortify the body against dangerous bacteria. Antioxidants can also help neutralize the body’s free radicals, which can cause diseases like diabetes and cancer.
Oolong helps lower blood sugar
Oolong Tea may be highly efficient at lowering blood sugar, meaning it can help prevent and sometimes even reverse diabetes. In controlled tests, Oolong has been proven to reduce plasma glucose concentrations, making it an effective method for treating diabetes for some.
Oolong reduces inflammation
Inflammation is the cause of countless diseases and common health problems. Oolong Tea can help your body fight these diseases by targeting specific inflammation-causing genes. Inflammation is known to cause weight gain and may even lead to heart disease and obesity. Oolong Tea has the potential to be a vital part of maintaining a healthy diet and a healthy weight.
Oolong vs. cancer
Remember all those beneficial antioxidants found in Oolong Tea? They are great at helping the body fight off cancer. In some, Oolong Tea is exceptionally efficient at helping the body fight off pancreatic and ovarian cancer, and preventing the onset of melanoma. Oolong Tea contains bioflavonoids that not only have the potential to fight off cancer but also help reverse the effects of aging.
Oolong and heart disease
Researchers have found that those who drink Oolong Tea consistently have a much lower risk of heart disease. Oolong Tea is also known to help prevent the spread of atherosclerosis for some. Atherosclerosis is the thickening of the innermost layer of the body’s arteries and is often the first sign of heart attacks, strokes, and aneurysms.
Improve your brain health with oolong
The antioxidant ECGC is terrific for maintaining optimal brain health. In the short term, drinking Oolong Tea can help your brain focus and complete tasks. In the long term, Oolong Tea may help prevent cognitive decline as you age. There is also evidence to support that Oolong Tea can potentially reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Boost your metabolism with oolong
Oolong Tea helps boost the body’s metabolism, which encourages weight loss. Drinking Oolong Tea causes your body to produce more heat, a process called thermogenesis. This process helps your body burn fat at a faster rate. If long-term weight loss is a concern, Oolong Tea is also known to help prevent obesity.
Oolong and dental health
And lastly, as we mentioned above, Oolong Tea naturally contains fluoride, which helps keep your teeth clean and healthy. Drinking Oolong Tea can help reduce tooth enamel decay and the formation of dental plaque. It also helps promote general bone health all over the body.
What does oolong tea taste like?
Oolong Tea’s flavor can vary widely. Throughout the process of creating the tea, there is a lot of room for the tea maker to customize the tea’s flavor. If you imagine the broad spectrum of flavors in which you can find beer or wine, then you might be able to imagine the spectrum of Oolong Tea flavors.
Depending on how the tea maker manipulated the leaves, Oolong can taste dark and rich or light and crisp. Some oolong teas are known to have deep, chocolate notes, others are floral or buttery, while some have a more savory flavor and are comparable to nuts. There are also Oolong Teas that that taste like bright, fresh fruit.
What makes this wide variety of flavors even more interesting is that each of these profiles might come from the same batch of tea leaves. The creation of Oolong Tea is truly an art and depends more on the tea maker's skill than any other element. Here at Full Leaf Tea Co., we encourage you to try many different Oolong Teas as you may find you love a variety of flavors.
How much caffeine is in oolong tea?
Like much else about Oolong Tea, the caffeine content can vary depending on the tea maker. Oolong Tea can contain as little as 37 milligrams of caffeine per eight-ounce cup or as many as 70 milligrams. There are approximately 100 milligrams of caffeine in an eight-ounce cup of coffee as a point of comparison.
Where to buy oolong tea
Oolong tea can be found online! Shameless plug: but as of writing this, we sell 4 different types of oolong teas. We’re USDA certified organic, and our products are vegan and free of GMO’s. To top it all off, we have over 10,000 positive reviews, so feel free to try us out!
How to steep oolong
Oolong Tea is simple to make. Place one teaspoon of Oolong Tea into one of our Natural Paper Drawstring Tea Bags or your preferred Full Leaf Signature Leaf Infuser.
Steep the tea in boiling, filtered water. Try to use cold water that has not been boiled before. If you are steeping Oolong Tea in the shape of a ball, instead of loose-leaf, it will infuse more quickly. If it is loose-leaf, steep the tea for 5-7 minutes.
The Oolong Tea leaves will open up and release their flavor as the tea steeps. Once this process is over, you can remove the leaves from the tea, and enjoy!