Oolong tea is a traditional Chinese tea made from Camellia sinensis, the plant which is used to produce teas such as green, black and white tea.
What makes these teas different from each other is the level of oxidation that each tea is allowed during their production.
- Black tea is fully oxidized.
- Green tea is not oxidized at all.
- And, oolong tea is partially oxidized.
So you can say, oolong tea is the middle ground between black and green tea.
|Oolong Tea Articles and Information|
|Health benefits of Oolong tea|
|Does oolong tea help you to lose weight?|
|Does oolong tea contain caffeine?|
|Side effects of oolong tea|
|Differences between oolong and green tea|
|Interesting oolong tea facts|
|Oolong Tea Recipes|
|How to make Oolong tea?|
How is oolong tea produced?
Like green tea, oolong tea is also made from leaves as well as buds of Camellia sinensis. However, both these product vary significantly inside your tea cup. It is because cultivar (variety of the tea plant), terroir (geographical and climatic condition of the place of plant production) and processing of these teas vary vastly.
Particularly, production of oolong tea includes following processes.
Withering: In this step, the freshly picked leaves and buds are shaken or tossed with intention to bruise them. This is the initial step of oxidation process. Also, withering makes the leaves soft and flexible and prevents their breaking in later processes.
Heating and cooling: Once withering of leaves is completed, they are laid out in the sun to remove moisture content. After several hours of sun bath, leaves are left to cool.
With cooling, the tea leaves begin to flatten; a sign that they are now ready to be rolled.
Light (initial) rolling: Light rolling of leaves causes further bruising of leaves. This time, bruising breaks cell walls of leaves, releasing essential oils and enzymes in them. This result in alteration in flavor of the tea along with slight oxidation of the tea leaves.
Oxidation: In this step, the lightly rolled leaves are exposed to oxygen for oxidation to take place. The oxidation of leaves range from 8% to 80%. And, variation in level of oxidation determines the ultimate color and appearance of the leaves.
Roasting: After the leaves are oxidized to a desired level, the leaves are heated. This prevents further oxidation and dries the leaves. Roasting also determines the taste of the tea.
Final rolling: In this step, the roasted leaves are rolled, giving them final appearance and flavor.
Drying: The rolled roasted leaves are left to dry to ensure that all moisture content is eliminated. This prevents decaying of leaves during storage.
Hand sorting: The dried leaves are finally categorized on the basis of size and color of the leaves. The appearance of tea leaves also determine their industry grade.
Features of oolong tea
- Structure of tea leaves – Long twisted stands or tightly rolled balls
- Color of leaves – Dark green or brown
- Color of tea – Light green or yellowish-brown (similar to hyson tea)
- Taste of tea – Floral, grassy, sweet or toasty
Components in oolong tea with their benefits
|Caffeine & Theobromine||
|Vitamins, Niacin and Pantothenic acid||
|Free organic acids||
|Theanine and 25 other amino acids||
How to brew oolong tea?
Differently oxidized leaves of oolong tea might be brewed in different ways and each way can result in unique flavor. However, there are some general steps that can be used to prepare any oolong tea.
Things you will need
- 1 cup (6 fl. Oz.) of fresh water
- 1 tsp. tightly rolled tea leaves or 2 tsp. twisted tea leaves
Directions to prepare oolong tea
- Boil water in kettle to 180oF or 80oC
- Pour a little amount of boiling water into the cup to warm it
- Put the tea leaves into the cup
- Slowly pour the hot water into the cup and cover it with saucer
- Steep for around 1-5 minutes as per your preferred taste
- When the tea is ready, filter the tea using a strainer
(Note: The brewed tea leaves can be used for another 2-3 times)
Benefits of oolong tea
Packed with powerful antioxidants, oolong tea provides several health benefits, which includes prevention of bacterial infection to heart diseases and cancer.
Given below are some other benefits of oolong tea.
Kills cancer cells and prevents bacterial infection
Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) in oolong tea kill cancer cells without any harm to healthy ones. Drinking oolong tea can prevent cancer in cells of prostate, bladder, ovary, breast and skin. 
EGCG also reduce growth of bacteria and prevents from bacterial infection.
Polyphenols remove free radicals from our body and prevents oxidative stress. As a result, wide range of skin problems such as dark spots, fine lines, sagging of skin, etc. can be prevented. Besides, this compound also plays important role in protecting skin from any effects on skin induced by uv-rays. 
Reduces risk of heart diseases
Polyphenols also improve lipid metabolism and prevents accumulation of Low Density Lipid (LDP) on the inside of blood vessels. It helps in maintaining flexibility of blood vessels and healthy flow of blood. This way, chances of heart diseases such as high blood pressure and stroke are significantly reduced. 
Increases concentration ability
Caffeine in oolong tea helps you in keeping you awake. But unlike caffeine in coffee, caffeine in this tea does not make you hype or anxious as it is accompanied by an anti-anxiety compound called L-theanine. Both these compounds work together to keep you awake, focused and in good mood. 
Helps in reducing weight
Consuming oolong tea instead of calorie containing drinks can reduce your daily calorie intake significantly.
According to a survey conducted in China in 1998, people who drank oolong tea regularly for six weeks ended up reducing weight. This survey was conducted on 102 females. 
Despite the fact that oolong tea is counted amongst healthiest drinks, it has few adverse effects on your health if it is consumed inappropriately. Some possible side effects are given below.
Anxiety and insomnia
Although oolong tea has lesser caffeine as compared to coffee, drinking more oolong tea can result in headache, sleeplessness, dizziness, anxiety and irritability. 
Drinking more oolong tea also increases the fluoride content in your body, leading to health trouble known as fluorosis. 
Drinking excessive oolong tea can promote flushing of calcium through urine, which can lead to osteoporosis (weakening of bones) in long run.
Miscarriage and premature delivery
High intake of caffeine through oolong tea is unsafe for pregnant women. It can cause uterine contraction, resulting in miscarriage or premature delivery. 
Not safe for children
Caffeine equivalent to the amount that is found in common foods are safe for children. Consumption of more caffeine might cause increased heartbeat, difficulty in breathing and other problems in children.
Reaction with medicines
Various components found in oolong tea might react with certain drugs, causing negative affect on your health. Therefore, make sure that you consult with your doctor before drinking oolong tea (if you are under any kind of medication).