What is Oolong Tea?

Oolong tea isn’t exactly a very common type of tea, especially in the west. As the name suggests, it’s a traditional Chinese tea. Oolong tea makes up only about 2% of the total tea production in the world.

Why is it so uncommon? Part of the reason for this is that processing oolong tea can be very complicated. It starts with the oxidation process, which may be set at ranges from 8% to 85% oxidation. The level of oxidation can determine the flavor and aroma.

But that’s just one step. The entire process can take more than a dozen steps, involving the length of the withering time and how the processors toss, bruise, roll, and compress the tea leaves. These steps may have to be done according to specific temperatures and humidity levels.

Then there’s the roasting process as well, which may take many different forms. The entire processing process may take several days.

Drinking Your Oolong Tea

Once you buy your oolong tea, even brewing the tea may not be so simple. Obviously, you need clean-tasting water. The water must be either full-boiling or just-off boiling.

You’ll then need at least 5 grams of tea for each 100 ml of water you use, though you can go with 8 to 10 grams for darker oolongs. Then you have to steep them in 30-second infusions, adjusting this step as you go.

The taste, as you might imagine due to the various oxidation levels and roasting processes, can range widely. You may find an oolong tea that’s very light and floral, but then you can come across another tea that’s dark and chocolatey, and it’s also an oolong. There are also medium roast and oxidation oolongs with a mellower body with warm spice notes.

Health Benefits

The good news is that with online stores, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding oolong teas you can try out. And you should try oolong tea, especially when you’re feeling fuzzy and tired.

Oolong tea contains caffeine, but a cup of oolong tea doesn’t contain as much caffeine as a cup of coffee. The cup of oolong contains only ¼ the caffeine in an average cup of coffee. It’s actually safe to drink 6 to 10 cups of oolong tea each day, depending on how much caffeine you get per cup.

You do get 38 mg of caffeine in a regular cup of oolong tea, and that’s great for mornings and sleepy afternoons. It can boost your attention and alertness for the next hour or so, without making you feel jittery.

Studies have indicated that adults who drink lots of oolong tea per day enjoy the following benefits:

Just remember that oolong tea contains more caffeine than even green tea. Keep it to 6 to 10 cups of oolong tea per day, and you’ll be fine!