Oolong Loose Leaf Tea
Processed Longer than Green Tea
and Less than Black Tea

Oolong loose leaf tea also known as Wulong loose leaf tea
is generally referred to as "semi-oxidized" tea.

Oolong Tea

Oolong loose leaf tea, or more simply "oolongs,” is tea brewed from partially oxidized tea leaves grown in various parts of China and Taiwan. Also referred to as "Wu Long" which means "black dragon" in Mandarin, oolongs occupy a place between fermented black teas and green teas that are not fermented. Considered the most diverse loose leaf teas available, oolongs possess oxidation levels from 15 percent to nearly 70 percent in Taiwanese oolongs.

Leaves used in making oolong tea are picked from mature tea trees and are shaken to deliberately cause bruising. During the dehydration process, bruised leaf edges become slightly reddish while the surface of the leaves turn yellow as the oxidation and fermentation process progresses.

Chinese oolong is allowed to achieve no less than 10 percent but no more than 20 percent fermentation. Taiwanese oolong, however, is permitted to ferment a full 70 percent, which strengthens the flavor of the oolong loose leaf tea. This brand of oolong is labeled from "fanciest" to "fine" to "standard." All types of tea contain low amounts of caffeine, with an average of 30 milligrams of caffeine per cup.


Monkey Picked Oolong Tea

According to experts, the best-tasting oolong loose leaf tea is Monkey Picked Oolong tea, a name provided by Buddhist monks who allow trained monkeys to pick the less mature leaves growing at the top of tea trees. It is supposed to have a flowery aroma and smooth taste that is quite delicious and coveted by those who have access to these unique kinds of young tea leaves.

Health Benefits of Oolong Tea

All teas, considered healthy and antioxidant rich beverages, are quickly accumulating clinical evidence pointing to its ability to:

Additionally, oolong loose leaf tea, as well as all other teas, contains nearly ten times the amount of polyphenols and catechins contained in most vegetables and fruits. Polyphenols are anti-inflammatory compounds that perform a variety of functions beneficial to the body. Some of these include:

Preparing Oolong Tea

Extremely hot water, at least 190ยบ, is necessary to make a good cup of oolong tea. Steep 1 ½ ounces of tea in an 8 ounce cup of water for about three or four minutes. Brewing tea for longer than five minutes is supposed to increase the amount of nutrients contained in one cup of tea. However brewing any tea for longer than five minutes will cause the taste to become bitter.For enjoyment of taste use the lesser timing, brewing for more health benefits use the longer.

Tea infusers are frequently utilized when making loose leaf tea. Many kinds of tea infusers are available, such as infuser cups or teaspoons. This device allows leaves to fully absorb the water and expand as much as possible, extracting the maximum taste and nutrients from the leaves. A small tea "ball" or tea "egg" is a common tea infuser that is circular and can be taken apart by separating the two halves. Tea drinkers place the ball full of tealeaves in their cups and lift the ball out of the cup using a chain that is attached to the ball.

Connoisseurs of loose leaf teas say that ordinary tap water tends to degrade the tea's flavor and suggest using natural spring water when making a cup of oolong loose leaf tea. While purists scoff at the idea of brewing with teabags, some will find oolong teabags to be more convenient to use and slightly cheaper than loose leaf tea.

Other articles of interest

Health benefits of oolong tea

Varieties of Tea

Learn how different leaf tea varieties are processed
White loose leaf tea
Three to five times more antioxidants than other leaf tea



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