Guide to Oolong Tea

Sipping a cup of warm black tea to get that morning energy boost or drinking a nutritional cup of green tea after a meal has become a normal part of most people’s routines. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a substitute that carried the health benefits of both black and green tea? Oolong tea is a perfect combination of both green and black tea.
What is Oolong tea?

Oolong tea shares characteristics of both black tea and green tea but doesn’t necessarily qualify under either category. The oxidation process is what sets Oolong tea apart from the other two groups.

Oxidation is when the tea leaves are chemically altered, changing the taste and colour of the tea. Black tea goes through a full oxidation process, thus turning a darker shade resulting in a rich malty flavour. Green tea on the other hand, doesn’t go through the process of oxidation and retains all its lush greenness and gives a fresh and herbal taste. Oolong tea is only partially oxidized, falling in between both types. The oxidation levels could range from 8% to 80%. Depending on which extreme the tea is closest to, it will resemble the qualities of either green tea or black tea.

Oolong tea is rolled or twisted into small beads or curled into thin strands. The tea maker has the power to change the flavour notes, appearance and aroma of the tea during oxidation and during the time of the tea rolling process.

Where does Oolong tea come from?

Oolong tea is a traditional Chinese tea. The etymology of the name derives from the Chinese word “Wu Long” meaning Black Dragon, since it was believed that the long and dark leaves resembled the shape of a dragon. According to Chinese history and literature, the tea was first found in the Wuyi Mountains. Another tale states that it originated when a tea farmer noticed that the plucked leaves were darkened and oxidized but tasted refreshingly delicious.

Types of Oolong tea

Chinese Oolong Tea is usually cultivated in high regions with cool weather. Next to China, Taiwan is the largest producer of Oolong, and their tea is mainly grown in bamboo forest regions or mountains. The taste of Oolong Tea largely depends on its type and the region of production. Famous varieties of Oolong Tea include Chinese Oolong Tea, Dragon Eye Oolong Tea, Wuyi Oolong Tea and Indian Oolongs.

Benefits of Oolong tea

Oolong tea merges the beneficial properties of both black and green tea. Oolong tea has less caffeine than black tea and slightly more caffeine than green tea. Laden with essential nutrients, Oolong tea is known to aid in the reduction of high blood pressure and reducing the risk of heart disease. It is also known to help in the healthy maintenance of weight, strengthen your body’s immunity and improve dental and bone health.

Preparation:

Preparing the perfect cup of Dilmah Oolong tea only takes a few minutes. It is important that you either use spring water or water that hasn’t been used before. Once the water is boiled, leave it for a few minutes until it cools down to around 80c. Pour 220ml of water over one teaspoon of Oolong tea. Steep for about 2-3 minutes until it turns into a bright orange or a red depending on the oxidation levels. You could add sweeteners or drink it straight to enjoy the delicate flavour of it.

An Oolong tea inspired recipe:

The rich taste and the fragrant aroma of Oolong tea could make for delicious recipes, and the Fragrant Oolong Mocktail is one of our favourites.

Ingredients: Method:

Boil water and pour it over the tea leaves. Steep for about 3 minutes before you strain out the leaves. Add the brew into a cocktail shaker, add ice and shake vigorously. If you don’t have a shaker, you could improvise with a closed bottle. Strain the beverage into a glass of your preference. Add a bit of lemon juice. Garnish with a lemon circle and honeysuckle. Enjoy!