Oolong (pronounced Wu-lung) tea from China is transliterated from the words “Black” and “Dragon”. It owes its name to the shape of the leaves when masterfully roasted. What makes the tea unique, is its semi oxidation process. As soon as the leaves are picked, they are withered and then subjected to semi oxidation ranging from from 1% to 99%. The oxidation process is then halted by tossing in baskets and then wok-firing. All these processes require an expert for skilfully hand roasting it in multiple stages and is usually an overnight process. The result is the dark beauty of curled up leaves in shapes of tiny dragons! There are many stories on how the tea got its name, one of it being that it was originally named Wulong which then became Oolong due to its dragon-like shape.
Being an artisan tea, Oolong tea is known to originate from China and Taiwan. Oolong is grown in many parts of Asia including India and Nepal. Oolong tea gained its fame from the Qing dynasty. Emperor Qian Lung worshiped the Iron Goddess of Mercy and wanted to have a special ceremony for which he incorporated the Oolong Tea which enamoured him. The tea was served in special tea cups made from purple clay. These cups were used to serve only this variety of tea for its special seasoning.
Oolong tea is best when harvested from places with rocky ground and cool winds, the flavour changes if it’s picked during spring or if bamboo forests are nearby. The decadent and rich flavour is a culmination of the terrain and weather parameters. This is what makes Oolong tea the wine of all tea.
The flavours of Oolong range from bold and bright to even light or delicate. The tea masters can play around with the flavours depending upon the oxidation levels and also depending on where it was harvested from. In terms of caffeine, Oolong tea is somewhere between black tea and green tea. The higher the oxidation, higher is the caffeine level. Apart from the taste aspect of Oolong tea that comes with the twisting, rolling and cooling of tea, there are also loads of nutrients and antioxidants that are stashed in this tea.
The nutrients and anti-oxidants in Oolong tea are due to the presence of theaflavins, thearubigins and polyphenols. Since it is partially oxidized, it has the anti-oxidants that can be found in black tea as well as the catechins that are present in green tea. Thus, it’s a good immune booster whilst having very many other benefits summarized here:
Here are some unique health benefits of oolong tea:
Oolong tea, much like green tea, contains various minerals, vitamins and anti-oxidants. There are also small amounts of magnesium, calcium, potassium. The antioxidants that are found in this tea are theaflavins, polyphenols and thearubigins. This makes this tea ideal for one’s weight loss journey. It’s the best fit to be included in your health regimen.
Oolong Tea has amino acids and L-Theanine. These compounds help in relaxation of the brain and improved cognitive performance. It could improve memory, information processing and help maintain brain function.
Tooth and Bone Strength
The presence of innumerable antioxidants helps directly in keeping the teeth and bones strong. Oolong tea consumption could also help in prevention of plaque and gingivitis.
Consumption of oolong tea, just like green tea or black tea, is found to relieve one from severe cases of eczema. This could possibly be attributed to the presence of polyphenol antioxidants.
Oolong tea is rich in anti-oxidant. Several studies indicate that consuming oolong tea regularly could lower risk of heart disease. Regular consumption of tea could reduce cholesterol as well as blood pressure.
Apart from these benefits, Oolong tea is also known to improve sleep because it has L-Theanine. Even though it is not recommended as a bedtime beverage, it can contribute for afternoon naps. Oolong tea also promotes good gut health helping the microflora thrive.
Knowing all the health benefits of this tea, if you wish to try some in the near future, here is an Oolong tea recipe for you. Depending on whether you like it strong and earthy or light and sweet, you can adjust your brew accordingly, after all tasting tea is the fun part of brewing it!
- Take 2 grams of Oolong tea for 180 ml of water
- Boil water in kettle for few minutes
- Add the tea leaves and steep them from 1 to 5 minutes depending on how strong you like your tea
- When steeped appropriately, strain the tea into a tea cup.
- Enjoy with lemon, peach or any of your favourite flavour combinations!
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