What makes Oolong Tea special? What is it, how is it made and what are its benefits?
What is Oolong Tea?
Oolong tea is a type of tea that originated in China and is known for its complex flavour profile and unique processing methods. This tea is produced in a variety of regions, including China, Taiwan, and India. However, the majority of oolong tea production occurs in China, where it has been produced for more than 400 years. It is a semi-oxidized and semi-fermented tea. That means this tea is somewhere between green tea and black tea in terms of processing. Oolong tea comes from the Camellia sinensis plant and is characterized by its partially oxidized leaves.
What Makes Oolong Tea Different?
The oxidation level of oolong tea can differ from 10–80%. This oxidation process is what determines the aroma and flavour of the tea. Ideally, oolong tea is considered to have a very complex and unique flavour. The flavour of oolong tea leaves can be grassy, woody, earthy, light, and sweet at the same time. But the proportion of each tasting note depends on the harvesting process. In terms of the harvesting process and oxidation level, oolong tea leaves are categorized into two categories.
How is Oolong Tea Made?
The mystery behind the dark flavour of oolong lies in the post-plucking manufacturing process. Let’s see what necessary processes oolong tea leaves undergo.
- Withering: Raw tea leaves are very fragile and contain moisture. These tea leaves are tossed and kept under the sun to wither and lose moisture. After withering, the tea leaves are kept under shade so that the temperature gets reduced before oxidation.
- Oxidation: Tea Oxidation is the process where the tea leaves are exposed to open air, or more precisely, to oxygen. This process will determine the types of tea leaves that are going to be formed. The more the tea leaf oxidizes, the stronger it becomes. For oolong tea, the oxidation process defines the colour and the aroma.
- Final Rolling: Oolong tea leaf harvest needs the craftsmanship of the manufacturer. After oxidation, the tea leaves automatically start being rolled. But this natural rolling is not enough. Tea leaves need to be rolled properly so that they take on a shape.
- Roasting: After rolling, tea leaves are left to dry for several hours. Then it is roasted at a low temperature to reduce the moisture completely. This roasting is important just before packaging. If oolong is packed, even with a little bit of moisture, it will lose its authenticity.
At the end of these manufacturing processes, the tea leaves finally become market-ready. Now it can be packaged to sell in the market.
What are the Health Benefits of Oolong Tea?
Oolong tea has been associated with a variety of health benefits. Here are a few of the most notable:
- Improves Mental Alertness: Oolong tea contains caffeine. A cup of brewed oolong tea contains approximately 32–38 mg of caffeine. Which is a good amount. Caffeine is helpful to boost instant energy in the body. Not only that, consuming caffeine-enriched foods regularly can increase mental alertness.
- Boosts Metabolism and Reduce Fat: Oolong has been shown to boost metabolism, which can help with weight loss and weight management. Boosting the metabolism is a quintessential step to reduce fat and lose weight.
- Improves Heart Health: It contains various nutrients that are responsible for regulating the heart's health. Research shows that those who drink oolong tea regularly have received a significant amount of benefit while suffering from high blood pressure and cholesterol.
- Reduces Inflammation: Chronic inflammation can cause diseases like pain in the body, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, etc. Oolong tea has anti-inflammatory properties that can help to soothe chronic inflammation.
- Boosts immunity: It contains various antioxidants, which help increase immunity in the body. A naturally immune body can resist numerous small diseases easily. Drinking oolong tea regularly can aid in keeping diseases like cough and cold, fever, and sore throat at bay.
How To Brew a Perfect Cup of Oolong Tea?
Let’s see what the easiest way is to brew oolong tea!
Ingredients: 2 cups of water; 2 teaspoons of oolong tea leaves; 1-2 tablespoons of honey as per preference.
How to Brew
- Boil the water up to 90 degrees Celsius.
- Add the tea leaves and honey to it and stir it for 2–3 minutes.
- Pour the tea into teacups and enjoy the aroma.
In conclusion, oolong tea has a very unique flavour profile and a dark colour which made the tea connoisseurs fall in love with it. Not only that, but this tea has a number of health benefits to offer. Whether you enjoy it for its taste or its health benefits, oolong tea is definitely worth trying!