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All About Oolong Tea - Benefits & Brewing

Updated on March 8, 2011
Whole Leaf Oolong Tea
Whole Leaf Oolong Tea

Oolong Tea Basics

The name "oolong" comes from the Chinese for "black dragon." Oolong tea is processed from the Camellia sinensis plant, the same leaves from which green tea comes. It is available loose leaf or in tea bags, and more recently, oolong tea extract has become available as a diet supplement.

Oolong is more oxidized than green tea, but less than black tea. Consequently, its flavor is somewhere between the two; it isn't as sweet as black tea, but it is more slightly more floral and less grassy than green tea. Traditionally, oolong is brewed strong for a bitter tang with a sweeter aftertaste.

Two of the most popular types of this tea are Taiwanese oolong and tea from the Wuyi Mountain Province (not to be confused with the diet scam Wu-Yi Tea).

Oolong Tea Benefits

The health benefits of oolong include both antibacterial and antiviral properties, as well as boosting metabolism and the immune system. It aids in the relief of allergies, diabetes, eczema, and obesity, and may help prevent cancer.

Green Tea Vs. Oolong Tea: Both green tea and oolong tea contain catechins, powerful antioxidant compounds which aid in fighting disease and aging. While the levels of catechins in the tea leaves are reduced during oxidization, the concentration of other beneficial chemicals like polyphenols and flavanoids increases during fermentation. As a result, oolong is especially effective in reducing bad cholesterol.

Oolong Tea And Weight Loss: Yes, oolong does promote weight loss. While green tea is a better antioxidant than oolong, oolong is more productive in fat burning. Green tea may be more accessible and in some cases more affordable, but some people prefer the less vegetal taste of oolong. (Of course, you can always use matcha powder to whip up some green tea ice cream.)

Drinking Oolong Tea

You can purchase oolong tea in whole leaves (loose), tea bags, or as a liquid extract. Organic oolong, like all organic foods, will have better benefits for your health, cultivated without pesticides, and with fewer chemicals used in processing.

Brewing Oolong Tea: For optimal brewing, oolong should steep for 3 to 4 minutes in water that's been boiled to 180 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you choose to buy loose leaf oolong, you should measure between 2.25 grams for every 6 ounces of hot water, or approximately two teaspoons of whole leaf oolong per cup.

If you find the taste of oolong too strong, use a smaller measure of tea leaves or steep for less time. You can also add a small amount of skim milk or soy milk, or sweeten with honey. As you grow accustomed to the flavor, you can brew stronger tea and eliminate these additions.

Happy Drinking!


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    • profile image

      jamesturner888 4 years ago

      i like china oolong tea,especially alishan taiwan high mountain oolong tea.

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      navisha 6 years ago

      Am trying to get hold of eves oolong tea I'm in the free state harrismith sa

    • profile image

      becca 6 years ago

      i love the taste of oolong tea. i brew mine with a cinnamon stick and it adds to the flavor.

    • profile image

      Superteadrinker 6 years ago

      Greaaaat to read this page about oolong tea. I just bought a box of loose leaves yesterday in a rather expensive tea stores. I decided to get the oolong at the minute I hear it was good for digestion! Didn't know there was bonus with the antibacterial and other things I am reading here.

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      shiela 6 years ago

      here's another trivia for oolong tea and areal experience of my cousin who now lives in japan together with her family. She said that during summertime they drink oolong tea as a substitute for water and even they let their young ones drink oolong tea. Aside from this and based on the explanation of her brother in law who is a japanese doctor oolong tea is not a suppressant meaning it will not surpress your appetite. The main reason why oolong tea have a benefit of slimming because it blocks fat and carbohydrates and the beneficial effect is just gradual. So if you feel frustrated just continue and don't lose hope you will see the benefit. I guarantee you coz I used to be 60 kls for a 5 feet 2 inches woman and now Im only 52 kls just drinking it for 3 months and I also noticed as i take the tea my pimples are now lesser and lesser on appearance and even my dark circles in the eyes slowly fading as i put a tea on a fridge to chill then put it on my eye :D

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      Elizabeth's 6 years ago

      Where do I find Dynasty brand tea, w/ appetite suppressant capabilities

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      Desire'e 6 years ago

      I love the Dynasty brand- like the taste and the caffeine hot or cold / its an appetite suppressant and it gives me the burst of energy I need.

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      pooja 6 years ago

      i want to have it as soon as possibel.

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      IM ARA 6 years ago

      I just bought an Oolong tea leaf, can't wait to see the result in my health and body!

    • profile image

      buhlez 7 years ago

      How good is eve's oolong tea in a yellow box?

    • profile image

      Nina 7 years ago

      where can i buy oolong tea leaves in singapore? :)

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      Marianne 7 years ago

      Does anyone know if oolong tea is safe to drink for breastfeeding moms? Please advise.

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      seocompanyhaven 7 years ago from montreal

      I love oolong tea and drink it many time a day!

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      Rhea 7 years ago

      The Long Life Oolong from DavidsTea in Canada is the best. The organic Vanilla Oolong os a close second.

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      Marlene 7 years ago

      mbourne like you, I was introduced to Oolong tea by Dr. Oz.

      The brand I bought is Bigelow Chinese Oolong. Since I am not a tea drinker I brewed it with ginger to change the flavor a bit.

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      Michelle 7 years ago

      I like my oolong tea with honey :) yum!

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      mbourne 7 years ago

      me too, that is I just bought some Oolong tea after seeing a Dr Oz show.

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      coraline 7 years ago

      well I just bought a box of Oolong tea bags. I can't wait to see what it does for my body and health!

      amazing article.


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      tolly 7 years ago

      can a breastfeeding mom drink oolong tea?

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      jaco 8 years ago

      Lindz, you can buy your oolong tea at any red peppa chinese take away outlet.I suppose its good quility, because it helps me in many ways, and I have been noticing the changes.

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      Dawn 8 years ago

      Oolong has become a favorite of mine! It's natural antibacterial effect helps with my chronic Lyme disease.

      I like it plain, but for a sweet tooth I'll put coconut milk and Agave nectar in it. I'm so glad I tried it! It's something to look forward to every day.

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      jennifer 8 years ago

      This was a great article. Thank you for putting this together. My husband and I have recently switched from drinking black tea, to drinking oolong tea. We prefer the flavor and also read that it has less caffeine. Is this true?

      Also - is it possible to drink too much oolong? We live in Oregon where the long winters are cold and dreary. We like to keep a hot mug of tea with us pretty much all day. I'd say we drink the equivalent of 4 to 5 mugs a day of hot tea. Is it safe to do this with oolong?

    • profile image

      Lindz 8 years ago

      Somebody please advise where I can get the best brand Oolong Tea in South African.

      I found a Health Shop in Durban where it is selling for R12.00 don't know if this is the imitation of the Oolong tea or what........If anyone has a name brand, please advise urgently.

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      cazort 8 years ago

      I think you would do well to mention the Gong Fu way of brewing oolong tea...this involves many brief infusions in a special, small teapot.

      Even if you don't brew tea the proper "gong fu" way, Oolong tea, especially whole-leaf oolong but even some broken-leaf or teabag oolongs, is often very good for multiple infusions...that is, you can brew the same set of leaves two, three, or sometimes even more times while still yielding a flavorful cup.

      In order to do this, you generally want to make each successive infusion longer. For example, you might start with 2 minutes for the first cup and 3-4 for the second and maybe 8 for the third. It really depends on the tea.

      This is worth trying though...Oolong tea in particular tends to be very good for multiple infusion. You also will find that different aspects of the flavor and aroma come out in each brewing.

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      Serge 8 years ago

      I'm drinking oolong tea for a while. It can be brewed several times from the same leaves without any quality loss

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      cutie 9 years ago

      waaaah the taste of oolong i bought is very bad..its taste like a cardboard,,,very bitter..i drink once i dont like anymore.the tea brand is tie guan yin oolong tea..waaah..taste like dun know how to explain...very bad..anyone can introduce me good brand that can buy in from singapore...

    • profile image

      Xzigalia 9 years ago

      I've been drinking oolong tea for two weeks now and though I haven't noticed the benefits, it's nice to be able to drink a hot drink knowing it's hydrating you and benefiting your body. It has a mild taste which is much more soothing than green tea, though I'll always prefer black. And if you forget about it and it goes cold you can still enjoy it, it doesn't go bark-y or metallic.

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      Diana 9 years ago

      I absolutely love Oolong tea! I love the flavor and the effects it has on you! I lost a pound a day and had energy all day long. I have to drive 80 miles round trip to the Central Market to buy it, but it cost me $7.50 a can there, which sounds high for tea, but I promise you, after you taste this tea, you'll love it too! I sweetened it with raw sugar that you can buy in any grocery store, but found out later that Stivia is the sweetner you should use if trying to watch your weight. Raw sugar is better for you than pure cane sugar, but not much less fattening.

      Oolong has a flavor like no other tea. It makes me feel like I have a hot cup of "Special" in my hands. As a matter of fact, I loved it so much the first time I bought it that I made it for so many friends and family, who fortunately and unfortunately for me, loved it so much, that I ran out quick and had to make that 80 mile round trip in a few days to get more. I had so much energy drinking this tea, I had to limit myself to no more than three cups a day, way before noon! Try it! I won't promote a brand, but mine was in a tall tan and brown can. It's well worth the money for a special cup of tea in my world!

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      Anna 9 years ago

      is Wu-yi tea safe while breastfeeding

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      Izzy 9 years ago

      Is it safe to take the Wu-Yi tea while exclusively breastfeeding????

    • TravelAMP profile image

      TravelAMP 9 years ago from Around the world

      Eastern alternative works wonder. Quality Oolong Tea, I believe is really expensive. It's a great gift for your Chinese friends, they will absolutely love you.

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      Audrey 9 years ago

      Hello Maddie, I am 17 years old and I'm allergic to dust mites and I'm congested all the time I'm in bed... Can oolong tea help my immune system and reduce my allergies? If so, I'll buy it on eBay for less than 10$ :) but do I always have to drink it every day? If I stop drinking it, will my allergies come back? Thank you and your blog on the truth of Wu-Yi tea is really great! you saved lot of people, including me!!!

    • Constant Walker profile image

      Constant Walker 9 years ago from Springfield, Oregon

      I've tried oolong tea and the flavor was just something I couldn't get used to, you know?

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      Chef Jeff 9 years ago from Universe, Milky Way, Outer Arm, Sol, Earth, Western Hemisphere, North America, Illinois, Chicago.

      Brewing tea is a ritual that in and of itself brings me peace. It keeps my hands occupied and my mind is free to ramble and ponder. I find green tea helps calm me - the L-theanine is good for my ADHD. I love tea in all forms. In my wife's village in Spain we go out and pick fresh Manzanilla and brew up some tea from the flower petals. I often use that and Linden leaf tea to help me sleep.

    • monitor profile image

      monitor 9 years ago from The world.

      Great Hub Maddie, I have lived in Japan for many years. If I was to list the claimed benefits of this amazing drink as related to me by the Japanese I am sure I would end up falling under some kind of malpractice (or is it malauthorship) suit!

      For sure the variations in Oolong tea or Oolong Cha as it is called here amaze me. The Japanese have no fear in offering the milder forms to very small children and in many cases they claim to be caffeine free. Some however are quite strong and one needs to take care if they have a caffeine concern. As for me these days if I am really thirsty then I know the first thing I grab will be a bottle an icy, thirst quenching Oollong cha.

      Your fan.


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      Clive Fagan 9 years ago from South Africa

      Very interesting hub. I had never heard of Oolong tea before now. We do however have rooibos tea in South Africa which is also more of a herb than a tea. It has great properties including that of being and anti-oxidant and it is also caffeine free.

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      Nikade Etimide 9 years ago from Nigeria

      this is great, the phytochemicals you mentioned about are interesting, the presence of flavonoids and polyphenols must show the medicinal implications that has to do with diabetes and diabetic retinopathy

    • Maddie Ruud profile image

      Maddie Ruud 9 years ago from Oakland, CA

      Oolong is safe for children, though you may wish to brew it weaker, since they may dislike the taste.  Also, oolong naturally contains caffeine (about 1/3 of the amount in a cup of coffee), so that's something to be aware of for those that are sensitive to it.

      I'd like to be clear that while oolong is very helpful in the relief of allergies, drinking a cup of tea is not a replacement for medical care in the case of a serious allergic reaction.

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      Barb Johnson 9 years ago from Alaska's Kenai Peninsula

      Has your research turned up anything about oolong's safety for kids?? Lot's of encouraging scenarios are emerging in my mind on this if it is safe for kids. They often have allergic reactions.

    • Babbyii profile image

      Barb Johnson 9 years ago from Alaska's Kenai Peninsula

      Thanks for this article. Sounds like a tea I need to add to my "keep on hand" list. Hard to keep up with all of them. Might even save someone's life with the allergy relief component. That seems to come up in my circle of friends a lot.

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      Compu-Smart 9 years ago from London UK

      Ooh lala;)

      It looks like another addition to my shopping list!,,,,I love tea and i thankyou for sharing ths new flavour and explaining everything about it!

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      wellness5 9 years ago

      Thanks - great beleiver in the good effects of green tea!

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      Elsa is Elsa 9 years ago

      Hi Maddie, Thanks for this article. I keep hearing bits and pieces on green tea, oolong and so on. You put the pieces together here, especially the particular health benefits of oolong.

      Amazing that we all used to drink more tea, and then coffee took over - and now we are rediscovering the benefits of tea, and the teas that had not made it to the West before.

      Thanks, Elsa

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      jedgrey 9 years ago

      This brings back childhood memories when my Irish mother had a very strict regimen for brewing all teas, she stoutly maintained that the tea must be put in the pot first and then the water was poured on top. She claimed that there was a difference in taste if the tea was put into the water, and of course it had to be a china teapot, anything else was pure heresy.We all enjoy tea in our household, BTW it does have somewhat of a thermogenic effect.

      Thanks for the hub, enjoyable reading

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      amulets 9 years ago from Singapore

      Yes. I do believe Green Tea or Oolong Tea has a long term good effect for our bodies. Nice explanation about Oolong Tea.