Most people believe that oolong tea belongs to black or green tea families. But in fact, it belongs to a separate group. Despite this, it is regarded as a proper tea because it comes from the same Camellia sinensis plant as green and black tea leaves.
The term "partially oxidized tea" is used to describe oolong tea. The oxidation levels might range between 8% and 80%. Because of this, it's frequently assumed that it's between black tea and green tea leaves.
How Is Oolong Tea Prepared?
Oolong tea is one of the more difficult teas to grow and make. Additionally, this is due to factors other than oxidation levels. The way the tea is grown is also a little different.
First, oolong is picked much later despite coming from the same plant as white, yellow, and green tea. Once ready, three or four new leaves will be pulled from the oolong tea plant. Its buds may occasionally be present in Taiwanese teas, but this is uncommon.
It should be noted that different regions may use other precise processing techniques. The total procedure does, however, generally consist of several fundamental components. Oolong is produced in a manner that varies from black and green tea, especially during oxidation.
The process of withering begins after the tea leaves have been harvested. The leaves spend a few hours in the sun after losing their wetness. After that, oxidation starts to take place. The leaves are allowed to oxidize on bamboo trays in a precisely regulated environment.
As previously stated, each batch will see varied degrees of oxidation and fermentation. As a result, the precise duration of this phase can vary greatly. The tea leaves are subjected to extremely high heat once they have oxidized to the optimum level for less-than-fully fermented teas like black tea. As a result, the oolong's ability to be oxidized is interfered with by the enzymes, ending the chemical reaction.
The makers will proceed to the shaping step of the tea processing production once the leaves have achieved the ideal oxidation level. Some leaf varieties will roll their leaves into balls. The leaves are then customarily grilled over charcoal until they are appropriately dry.
The Different Oolong Teas
Oolongs are often identified according to the area where they are grown. Oolong teas can so be categorized as follows:
Oolongs from North Fujian
Most oolong teas produced in this region of Fujian are known as Da Hong Pao or Big Red Robe. There are some differences among the oolong teas produced here. Daffodils, Cinnamon, Water Golden Turtle, etc., are such plants. They are nonetheless recognized as being of a similar type because of their similarities.
Oolongs from South Fujian
The Tie Guan Yin, commonly called the Iron Goddess of Mercy, is the most well-known oolong tea grown in this region. The roughness and weight of these tea leaves give them their name. Their loosely folded leaves distinguish them.
Oolongs from Guangdong
Lonely Bushes from the Mountain of Phoenix is the only variety of oolong produced in this province. The region has produced tea for generations and is well-known for its intricate flavors and smells.
Oolong tea leaves produced in this region are frequently confused with green tea. This is because they produce a bright color when they are brewed. The flavor, nevertheless, is totally different and is light and wonderful.
Oolong tea: What does it taste like?
It might be challenging to describe the general flavor of most oolong teas. This is because the flavor many different things can influence flavor. These include the location and method of the tea's cultivation, the time of harvest, the length of the oxidation process, the degree of roasting, and other processing-related factors.
Oolongs with a lighter flavor can remind you of drinking green tea. For example, there is that fresh, grassy taste. However, because these teas are slightly more oxidized, the flavor is more flowery with a buttery undertone.
Less sweet teas have medium oxidation levels. Instead, the flavors have a richer, almost woodsy tone. Be prepared to detect nuttiness, honey, and sesame undertones among these flavors.
Teas that have undergone more oxidation may resemble black tea. The malty black tea flavor won't necessarily envelop you, though. Instead, the strong flavor and scent are comparable in intensity to coffee. Nevertheless, every sip still pays homage to green tea.
Oolongs have the drawback that comparing them to other teas might be challenging. Yes, there are undertones of green tea and black tea characteristics. But in the end, the flavor is unique and unlike anything you have ever experienced.
Oolong tea does contain caffeine because it is made from the camellia sinensis plant. The precise quantity can differ depending on the brand and type of oolong. However, a cup's usual amount of caffeine is between 50 and 75mg. Showing that it has less caffeine than black tea but more than green tea.
The Health Advantages: What Makes Oolong Tea Special
As additional studies on this partially oxidized tea have been undertaken, it has become clear that it offers a wide range of advantageous effects.
May Reduce Diabetes Risk
Another alarming ailment that is on the rise is diabetes. But once more, oolong tea might offer some hope. It has been demonstrated that drinking tea can lower type 2 diabetes risk.
Only in a more recent study did experts particularly examine the effect of oolong tea. Oolong tea use regularly was found to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by the systematic review.
According to research on the beverage's impact on blood sugar, Oolong tea drinking was found to lower blood sugar levels universally. As a result, it might aid in enhancing glucose metabolism.
Strengthens the teeth and bones
A major problem is bone loss in postmenopausal women. This is why learning that oolong tea consumption may reduce the risk of this illness is so encouraging. Oolong tea contains flavonoids and catechins, two antioxidants that may help prevent bone loss in women who regularly drink it before menopause.
Fluoride is also present in oolong tea. This may lead to stronger tooth enamel, which may withstand different oral health problems and daily wear and tear better.
Possibly Reduces the Risk of Cognitive Decline
Your brain function is frequently impaired as you age, which is one of the major problems. This may result in diminished mental capacity and a loss of concentration. However, oolong tea could aid you in reversing these aging effects.
Tea can, however, generally help with focus and concentration levels. Caffeine is to blame for this. However, a comprehensive evaluation discovered that the theanine in tea might be able to help with anxiety symptoms.
Can Help You Lose Weight
Oolong tea, in particular, aids in subcutaneous fat loss. This is significant since excess fat contributes to weight growth and can also harm your health in general. Consequently, doing away with this can be advantageous in all respects.
Participants in the study also noted a reduction in the size of their waistlines. This demonstrates that you can use this tea to combat diet-induced overweight characteristics.
Oolong tea can help you exercise more effectively by raising your energy expenditure if you're already exercising. Interestingly, similar outcomes were obtained even when the participants didn't follow a lower-calorie diet.
Even better, there is proof that oolong tea can lessen the fat absorbed from meals. The pancreatic lipase enzyme is inhibited by tea. This stops the body from breaking down and absorbing lipids.
Oolong Tea's Origin and History
Let's now discuss the history of oolong tea in more detail.
It is challenging to trace the tea's precise origins. But tea has been cultivated and prepared for consumption for many years. However, it is known that Fujian, a region along China's southern coast, is where oolong originated.
Oolong was found unintentionally. Back then, tea was produced by Buddhist monks working out of their temples. They devised a method of drying by gently toasting the tea over charcoal. This gave rise to oolong tea, along with unexpected oxidization.
How to Keep Oolong Tea Fresh
The tea's flavor and health benefits can be preserved by properly storing the beverage.
The tea should be stored in an airtight container as soon as possible. This will guarantee that no additional additives will overpower the oolong's flavor. The container must be opaque because sunshine can wreak havoc on the foliage. Of course, keeping the tea out of direct sunlight and in your pantry is preferable.
However, if you're not used to drinking tea frequently, you should buy smaller amounts.