Oolong tea (generally pronounced “wu-long”) is the mid-point blend between black tea and green tea in terms of oxidation. It is semi-oxidized and hence produces the characteristics of both green and black tea.
Oolong teas are among the ones that are treasured by tea connoisseurs and are highest priced.
The processing of oolong tea is considered rather complex since it can be processed to create wide array of distinct flavors. The classic oolong tea is prepared by lightly tossing the tea leaves in bamboo baskets. This can be done in a rolling machine as well by controlling the rolling procedure. The leaves are lightly bruised in the edges to help the leaves release enzymes and juices. Special care is taken not to bruise the central part of the leaf to retain the greenish look and its special characteristics. The oxidation of the bruised leaves is then controlled according to the variety of oolong tea to be produced. Some are closer to the taste and characteristics of green tea while some are closer to that of the black tea.
- Flavor Profile
As mentioned above, oolong tea can have variety of flavors and characteristics similar to that of green tea or black tea. Usually, the oolong tea leaves are brownish in color due to its semi-oxidation process. They are also large and fully rolled in appearance which provide smooth and distinct flavors.
The ones oxidized closer towards black tea have amber-colored liquor with taste notes of dark-chocolate and roasted fruits and sugar. On the other hand, the less oxidized oolong tea retain the characteristics of green tea i.e. have lighter liquor and body with flowery aromas and golden-greenish infusions.
- Brewing the Finest Cup
To brew the finest cup of oolong tea, use about two grams (the amount of a single tea bag) of tea per 100 ml of water of temperature about 87℃ (190℉). In general, use not quite boiling water or let the water cool down for about 45 to 60 seconds after boiling. Steep for about 5 to 8 minutes to enjoy the complex flavors of oolong tea.
*Oolong tea is served without added milk and/or sugar.
- Health Benefits
- Oolong tea is considered to reduce plague in the arteries and lower cholesterol.
- It is also said to be a weight-loss agent since it boosts metabolism.
- Continued consumption of oolong tea have shown to reduce blood sugar levels as well.