All About Oolong Tea - Benefits & Brewing
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.