Oolong tea combines the qualities of dark and green teas, giving it several interesting health benefits. For example, it may boost metabolism and reduce stress, helping you feel great daily. This article explains everything you need to know about oolong tea and its health benefits. So what is oolong tea? Benefits of oolong tea and how was oolong tea tastes.
Oolong tea is a traditional Chinese tea. It’s made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, the same plant used to make green tea and black tea. The difference is in how the tea is processed and oolong tea tastes. All tea leaves contain certain enzymes, which produce a chemical reaction called oxidation. Oxidation is what turns the green tea leaves into a deep black color.
Green tea cannot oxidize much, but black tea can oxidize until it turns black. Oolong tea is somewhere in between the two, so it is partially oxidized. This partial oxidation is responsible for oolong tea’s color and characteristic taste. However, the leaves color can vary between brands, ranging from green to dark brown.
Oolong is neither black nor green tea; it falls into its tea category. Yet an oolong may end up with more black tea characteristics or more green tea characteristics depending on the direction the tea master takes in the processing of the tea.
II. Whats oolong tea origin?
Oolong tea’s exact history and origins are unclear, but it is believed to have been discovered during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). According to legend, “oolong” translates to “black dragon,” named after a tea farmer who discovered the partially oxidized tea leaves and was amazed by their flavor and aroma.
Today, oolong tea is also produced in Taiwan, known as “Formosa tea,” which means “beautiful” in Portuguese. Taiwan is known for producing some of the best oolong teas in the world, with unique and complex flavors and aromas.
Oolong tea comes in different varieties with unique flavors, aromas, and appearances. Some popular oolong teas include Tie Guan Yin, Da Hong Pao, and Phoenix Dan Cong.
III. How is oolong tea made?
Making oolong tea involves several steps, including withering, tossing, oxidation, fixing, rolling, and drying.
1. Step 1: Withering:
Freshly harvested tea leaves are spread out on bamboo mats or trays to wither for some time, allowing them to lose moisture and become more pliable.
2. Step 2: Tossing:
The withered leaves gently toss or shake to bruise the edges and initiate oxidation.
3. Step 3: Oxidation:
The leaves can oxidize in a cool, humid environment for a certain time, depending on the desired oxidation level. During this time, enzymes in the leaves interact with oxygen in the air, causing the leaves to darken and develop their characteristic flavor and aroma.
4. Step 4: Fixing:
The oxidation process is stopped by applying heat to the leaves, typically by steaming or pan-firing them. This step also helps to preserve the flavor and aroma of the tea.
5. Step 5: Rolling:
The leaves are then rolled into tight balls or twisted into unique shapes to release the essential oils and further develop the flavor and aroma.
6. Step 6: Drying:
The rolled leaves are dried in the sun or hot air to remove any remaining moisture and lock in the flavor and aroma.
The methods used to make oolong tea can vary depending on the specific variety and region, but these steps generally comprise the core process. The resulting tea can have a wide range of flavors and aromas, from floral and fruity to nutty and woody, depending on the specific type and processing methods used.
IV. Oolong tea’s benefits on people’s health
In addition to its unique taste and aroma, oolong tea is also known for its health benefits. It contains antioxidants that may help protect against chronic diseases, such as heart disease and cancer. Oolong tea is also believed to help with weight loss, improve bone health, and boost mental alertness.
1. Olong Tea May Help Prevent Diabetes
Oolong tea boosts metabolism and promotes weight loss. This is due to its high catechin content, which helps increase energy expenditure and fat oxidation.
The polyphenol antioxidants found in tea are thought to help reduce blood sugar and insulin levels. They’re also thought to increase insulin sensitivity Accordingly, several studies report links between regular tea consumption, improved blood sugar control and a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Polyphenol antioxidants may help maintain normal blood sugar levels and decrease the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. However, the evidence is mixed and more research is needed.
2. Olong Tea May Improve Heart Health
Oolong tea is rich in antioxidants called polyphenols, which may help to reduce the risk of heart disease by reducing inflammation and improving cholesterol levels.
Regularly consuming tea antioxidants may also improve heart health. Several studies of regular tea drinkers report reduced blood pressure and cholesterol levels and a reduced risk of heart disease. One study of more than 76,000 Japanese adults observed that those who drank 8 oz (240 ml) or more of oolong tea daily had a 61% lower risk of heart disease.
One thing to remember is that oolong tea contains caffeine, which may slightly raise blood pressure in some people. That being said, this effect tends to fade with regular caffeine consumption. Oolong tea may help decrease the risk of heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure in some people.
3. Digestive Health
Oolong tea may help improve digestion by reducing inflammation and promoting the healthy growth of gut bacteria.
4. Mental alertness
Oolong tea contains caffeine, which can help to improve mental alertness and focus.
5. Oolong Tea Promotes Tooth and Bone Strength
The antioxidants found in oolong tea may help keep your teeth and bones strong. Finally, research links tea consumption to reduced dental plaque. Oolong tea is also a rich source of fluoride, which could help strengthen tooth enamel. Oolong tea may help increase bone mineral density. It may also strengthen tooth enamel and reduce the formation of dental plaque.
6. Diabetes management
Oolong tea may help to regulate blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity, making it a potentially useful tool for managing diabetes.
7. Skin health
Oolong tea is rich in antioxidants, which may help to protect the skin from damage caused by free radicals and reduce the signs of aging.
V. How to prepare oolong tea
Because oolong teas vary wildly in their oxidation levels and processing techniques, many oolongs will have different ideal brewing temperatures and steeping times. While it’s best to ask your tea vendor for brewing instructions specific to the tea you purchased, here are a few general oolong tea brewing tips:
- Use fresh, pure, cold filtered water. Spring water is best.
- Because styles of oolongs vary so much, steeping temperature and time can vary as well. Generally, oolongs are steeped anywhere between 180 and 200 degrees for 60 seconds to 3 minutes.
- If you don’t have an electric kettle with temperature control, just remember that at sea level water simmers at 190 degrees and boils at 212 degrees. The boiling temperature drops about a degree for every 100 feet in altitude increase.
- Most oolong teas are designed to steep multiple times. Each steeping unfurls the rolled or twisted leaves just a little more, revealing even more layers of the flavor profile intended by the tea master who created the tea. Getting 3 to 5 infusions out of a high-quality oolong is not uncommon.
- Avoid overstepping your oolong tea. Many oolongs are designed to taste best with multiple short infusions. Taste your tea after the recommended steeping time, then decide if you’d like it to steep a little longer.
- If your oolong tea came with specific recommendations for brewing, use those. But using about 2 grams of loose-leaf tea per 8 oz cups of water is a safe bet.
- Cover your oolong tea while it steeps to keep all the heat in the steeping vessel.
- Tea producers spend a lot of time mastering the art of oolong tea. To best appreciate the handcrafted flavors of an oolong tea, try sipping it plain with no additives like milk or sugar.
VI. Note to prevent when using oolong tea
Oolong tea is a popular beverage that is safe for most people when consumed in moderate amounts, typically around 4 cups daily. However, excessive amounts of oolong tea containing caffeine can lead to side effects such as headaches and irregular heartbeat.
If you’re pregnant, it’s best to limit your oolong tea intake to no more than 3 cups per day, which provides about 300 mg of caffeine. Consuming more than this amount during pregnancy is not recommended, as it has been associated with an increased risk of negative effects such as miscarriage, SIDS, and caffeine withdrawal symptoms in newborns. It may also lead to lower birth weight.
VII. Oolong tea Safety and Side Effects
Oolong tea has been consumed for centuries and is generally considered safe. That being said, it does contain caffeine. When consumed in excess, caffeine can lead to anxiety, headaches, insomnia, irregular heartbeat and in some, high blood pressure. Additionally, consuming too many polyphenol antioxidants can make them act as pro-oxidants, which is not good for your health.
Read more: Top 10 Benefits of Oolong Tea you must know