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The Brew Journal


Getting to Know - Oolong Tea

Oolong tea is a traditional Chinese tea. It is prepared from the leaves of the camellia sinensis plant, the same plant used in the preparation of other teas such as green and black teas. It is commonly grown in China and Taiwan. This tea is classified somewhere between black and green teas, given that its leaves are partially oxidized. Amongst the numerous types teas, oolong tea stands out as one the most versatile.

On this edition of Getting to Know, we examine how oolong tea is produced, the dissimilarities between oolong teas, and its health benefits.

Oolong Tea Production

Oolong tea is mostly produced in certain regions of China and Taiwan, though there has been a recent flourish of oolong production in countries such as Thailand and even India. Tea leaves are plucked and left to wither to reduce moisture content. The leaves are then rolled or twisted, bruising the leaves which starts the oxidation process. The extent of oxidation varies according to the style of oolong being produced. To halt oxidation, the leaves are fired/pan-fried.

Difference Between Oolong Teas

You might have tried various oolong teas before and noticed the differences in their flavours. There are many styles of oolong tea with taste profiles that range from delicate and floral, to fruity and some even dark and woody. Take for instance, a Jin Xuan Oolong versus something like our Dong Ding Oolong. The former is buttery and floral while the latter is woody and sweet. Their difference can be traced back to how they are processed. Due to partial oxidation, oolong teas can be closer to green or black teas in their tastes. There are two categories of oolong teas – those that are 10% to 45% oxidized are classified as green oolongs, and those that are up to 70% oxidized are classified as black oolongs. 

Health Benefits of Oolong Tea

Oolong tea has different benefits, and a good number of them have been well examined. When it comes to gut health, a handful of people easily reach for a probiotic, nonetheless, oolong tea can as well benefit the gut microbiome. A certain study proved that those who consumed oolong tea possessed a more varied gut flora. Over time, food consumption and conventional farming have brought about the extinction of certain healthy bacteria. Oolong tea has the possibility of re-diversifying the modern microbiome for overall improvement in health.

The presence of polyphenols in oolong tea means that thermogenesis is activated in the body, which increases the burning of fat. It is believed through research that when compared to the consumption of green tea, those who consumed the same amount of oolong tea burned more fat and calories. Thus, oolong is an outstanding recommendation in a number of well-known weight loss programmes.