Oolong tea (also sometimes called Wu Long tea meaning “black dragon”) is a variety of Camellia sinensis that has been partially fermented to give it a colour between green and black tea. It is commonly served in Chinese restaurants or sold as “weight loss tea” due to its high caffeine content which encourages fat metabolism. Each cup has around 10-15% of the caffeine in cup of coffee. Oolong tea can be processed in two main ways, either as long curly leaves or rolled into tight balls similar to gunpowder tea, sometimes called dragon pearl tea. The Chinese often call these partially fermented teas as “red tea” although it should not be confused with Rooibos, the African “Red Bush” tea that is a completely different plant.
Oolong tea undergoes somedegree of oxidation or fermentation that consequently places it between the green and black tea varieties. Oolong tea rangesfrom 10% to 70% oxidation.
The semi-oxidized oolong tea has a taste closer to that of green tea, though it does not have the distinctive grassy tang of green tea. Oolong tea has a dark brownish color.
Oolong tea can be consumed directly after production. The most common type of this kind is the pu-erh tea. However, many also opt to let the oolong tea undergo longer aging time to make it more gentle on the stomach.
There are several types of oolong teas. Among these are:
- Ali Shan Oolong Tea
- Bai Hao Oolong Tea
- Huang Jin Gui Tea
- Pouchong Tea
- Ti Kuan Yin Tea
- Wu Yi Tea
Fresh Oolong Tea leaves are high in catechins. Processing the tea reduces these levels, so, the more the tea is oxidized the lower are the catechin levels. This means that white (unprocessed) tea has the highest levels of catechins followed closely by green tea.
Oolong Tea helps to reduce cholesterol build-up in the bloodstream, prevent heart ailments, help burn fat, can be used for treatment of digestive disorders, can promote longevity by stimulating bodily functions and strengthening the immune system, promotes healthier and stronger bones, protects people from such diseases as osteoporosis and can also fight against tooth decay.
Oolong tea may be an effective adjunct to oral hypoglycemic agents in the treatment of diabetes. It helps to lower the triglyceride levels and even stave off the onset of type II diabetes. By reducing the fat deposits permanently and giving more energy, Oolong tea along with a carb-controlled diet is likely to lead to a reduced risk of heart disease and type II diabetes. A bigger and tremendous role Oolong Tea plays is in its excellent contribution in weight loss programs. The weight reducing benefits of Oolong tea may also be a result of the fact that Oolong tea has absorption blocking potential.
Oolong Tea promotes beauty and health – It contains a large quantity of polyphenol which promotes strong, healthy teeth; improves cognitive functioning and mental well-being; prevents eczema, allergies, and bacterial infections; clarifies the skin, giving it a healthy, radiant glow and strengthens the immune system.