Tea Types > Oolong Tea

Tea Type: Oolong Tea

The Tea Lover’s Guide To Oolong Tea

Oolong tea may not be as popular as other types of tea. But it provides similar health benefits for the brain, dental, heart, and bone as other green or black tea. Oolong Tea, also known as dark dragon tea in Chinese, is made with semi-oxidized leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. 

What makes this tea special and different from other typical ones? What are the health benefits you can get from drinking this tea? Read on for more information on this tea type!

The Benefits of Oolong Tea

This traditional Chinese tea provides many health benefits in addition to other general benefits for people who love it. Oolong tea has many vitamins, beneficial antioxidants, and minerals like calcium,  and magnesium. Here are some of the other benefits to anticipate from drinking this tea.

  • It protects against diabetes, especially in patients with type 2 diabetes.
  • It helps to boost heart health by reducing blood pressure and cholesterol level.
  • It aids in weight loss via the combination of caffeine and polyphenols it contains. (Read the full article does oolong tea have caffeine here? )
  • It improves brain function.
  • It lowers the risk of lung, esophageal, pancreatic, liver, and colorectal cancers.
  • It contains certain antioxidants and calcium, which help to enhance the strength of teeth and bones.
  • It helps to ease the symptoms of atopic dermatitis such as eczema.

The major antioxidants (tea polyphenols) in Oolong tea are EGCG, thearubigins, and theaflavins. Oolong tea also contains L-theanine, an amino acid that is known to have positive effects on relaxation and cognitive performance. These properties and more are responsible for all the health benefits you can get from drinking this tea.

Types of Oolong Teas

Generally, oolong teas can be classified into two, namely, dark and green oolong. While the Green oolongs, also known as Jade oolongs, have a lesser oxidation level, similar to green teas, the Dark oolongs have a higher oxidation level, similar to black teas.

However, many types of oolong teas are available in the market today, of which the five most popular ones will be listed here. They are:

  1. Phoenix Tea (Dan Cong): It is one of the best-selling oolong teas made from the Phoenix mountains in Guangdong, a province in Southern China.
  2. Iron Goddess of Mercy (Tie Guan Yin): This light variation of oolong tea is produced in the mountain region of Fujian Province in China. Iron is included in its name because of the processing method, which involves up to sixty hours of roast.
  3. Wuyi Oolong Tea (Da Hong Pao): It boasts a smoky and deep flavor with a dark look. You need to be prepared to spend a lot because it is classified as one of the most expensive teas worldwide.
  4. High Mountain Oolong Tea (Gaoshan): As its name implies, this tea is obtained from a mountainous area in central Taiwan. It is similar to green tea but gives a tasty combo of crisp, floral, and light.
  5. Milk Oolong Tea (Jin Xuan Tea): With this oolong tea type, you get a creamy, milky, buttery, and sweet tea without adding milk or any other sweetener. It is important to note that this is the natural outcome of the tea, and it is not because the manufacturer added milk. For those who can't do without milk and sugar, this is the perfect tea choice. Read more about the best types of oolong teas.

Buying and Storing Oolong Tea

To ensure that you are getting the right and authentic tea, it is best to purchase oolong tea from certified tea specialists.

Once you've bought them, it is crucial to know the proper way of preserving them so that it stays fresh longer. Since Oolong tea is partially oxidized, it can last longer on shelves than green tea. Hence, for light teas like Tie Guan Yin with more water content, it is best to store them in an airtight container in the freezer. On the other hand, dark oolong teas like Da Hong Pao are not supposed to be stored in cool places. Instead, you can keep them stored in airtight containers at room temperature.

Also, note that oolong teas can last up to five years with less loss of aroma and flavor, as long as you store them properly. This applies only when the storage container is not opened often because humid air enters it every time you open it, reducing its shelf life. Hence, the best way to go about this is to divide it into little portions and store them separately so that it does not affect the lifespan in the long run.

Dark oolongs have unlimited shelf life compared to green ones. Some Oolong lovers even prefer to drink aged dark ones. As long as the tea leaves are not exposed excessively to oxygen and humidity, they are good to go.

What Does Oolong Tea Taste Like?

The flavor of Oolong tea changes depending on the method used to produce it since it is usually semi-oxidized.

Usually, light oolong tea tastes fresh, floral, bright, and sweet. The more oxidized types are usually warmers, mellow, grassy, and darker. Other tastes you can get from the variations of this natural tea are woody, fruity, or nutty.

There are lots of tastes and flavors you can get depending on the tea master, so you can explore them till you get the ones that suit your buds.

Oolong Tea vs Pu-erh Tea

Tea comes in many forms and variations. Here, we'll be reviewing two different types, so that you can choose a favorite.

Oolong tea is a delicate one that needs to be properly brewed and nurtured. It is considered a magical tea because it has a complex flavor that gives a burst of many subtle flavors when you swish it in your mouth. Oolong is popular among tea drinkers and snobs alike because of its refinement similar to that of wine to give a perfect and sublime drinking experience.

On the other hand, Pu-erh is a rich cor this and dark tea, which earned it the nickname "coffee of the tea world." One glance at the tea will make you understand the reason for the alias. Similar to its look, it has a dark earthly taste. It has various types and a unique taste that will be forever green in your memory.

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