Oolong tea, basically originating from China, is a traditional beverage of Asian countries. The name oolong is derived from Chinese word, Wulong Cha, which means black dragon tea. In ancient times, it was also known as Qingchatea. It is extracted from the plant camellia sinensis by following a similar course of withering and processing as done for other tea varieties. But, Oolong is slightly more oxidised than green tea and somewhat lesser than black tea.
Though it is manufactured by following the same procedure of withering, rolling, curling, and roasting but the change in timing and the temperature at which it is processed makes all the difference. An exclusive method of baking and roasting is applied to oolong tea. It is a complex traditional technique to create this medicated and highly advantageous tea.
Oolong tea is oxidised between 8% and 85% (approx.) according to the custom of its respective province. China oolong tea is lesser oxidised while Taiwanese variety that is more tilted towards black tea with higher oxidisation. Differences in region, horticulture, and styles of production have a huge impact on the flavor of oolong tea. Its aroma can be sweet, fruity, woody, etc. depending on the tradition followed by the manufacturer.
Types of Oolong tea
Different countries produce different varieties of Oolong tea. It is recognised according to its province where it is cultivated and manufactured.
Oolong tea produced in Fujian, China is assumed to be one of the most premium varieties. It is mainly produced in two regions called Anxi County and Wuyi Mountain.
Anxi County produces two chief varieties, i.e. Tieguanyin and Huangjin. Since ancient times, these varieties are handpicked and exclusively cultivated at much higher altitudes.
Oolong tea coming from the region of Wuyi Mountains is presumed as an organic tea. This area is situated towards the north in Fujian province of China. Da Hong Pao and Shui Jin Gui are famous varieties of Oolong produced in this part. Tieluohan, Bai Jiguan, Rougui, and Shui Xian are other varieties of tea originating from Wuyi Mountain.
Guangdong province of China is also known for its striped single bush Dan Cong oolong tea. This variety is popular for its ability to emanate varied fragrances and flavours. Orchid, almond, grapefruit, ginger flower, orange blossom etc. are some famous blends of oolong tea produced in Guangdong China.
Taiwan (Taiwanese Tea)
Since beginning of the 18th century, Taiwan started producing all types of tea that are cultivated in Fujian province. The wide varieties of oolong produced in this country include Dongding, Dong fang Meiren, Alishan, Lishan, Pouchong, RuanZhi, and Jin Xuan. Domestic weather conditions and geographical distribution is quite variable in Taiwan. Hence, variation in taste and aroma is quite significant in oolong tea produced here.
Apart from these major contributors in the production of oolong tea, there are some more places where cultivation of oolong tea has been commenced recently. Darjeeling oolong, Assam oolong, Vietnamese oolong, and Zealong oolong tea are new varieties available in market for an exceptional taste.
Health benefits of Oolong tea
Oolong tea is decked with multiple nutrients including vitamins, minerals, and other vital elements. It is rich in Vitamins A, B, C, K, and E along with minerals such as copper, potassium, selenium, folic acid, carotin, manganese, and calcium. The natural fermentation process of oolong tea develops such anti-oxidant components that further increase its intrinsic value.
Aids in substantial weight loss
Both varieties from China and Taiwan have significant properties that help you to reduce weight. This fact was known to natives since antiquity but it became known to international community of tea lovers quite recently. Backed by scientific studies, it is proved that polyphenols packed in this tea have properties to reduce excessive weight.When this hidden fact was discovered by the experts, consumption of oolong tea increased dramatically around the world with escalated demands.
A study done in 2001 revealed that properties in Oolong tea increase the metabolic rate and accentuate fat oxidation of human body.High metabolism can significantly boost the process of fat burning and melt down obesity. If consumed without any sugar or calorie content, it can effectively work upon excess fat accumulated on the body.
It has natural content of caffeine which can enhance energy outflow of your body. A test conducted by US Agriculture Research Services Diet & Human Lab, has suggested that oolong tea consumed by identical subjects (having same eating habits and working schedule)had shown significant results in energy expenditure. They burnt extra 67 calories per day apart from other notable benefits.
Another study on oolong tea has found that it has more benefits in controlling energy as compared to its counterpart, green tea.
Good for better skin health
Anti-oxidants in oolong tea are highly beneficial for your skin health. This tea acts as an anti-allergic component for people having skin diseases. A study on a group of people suffering from chronic skin problems got well-defined relief by consuming 3-4 cups of oolong tea on a daily basis. About 54% patients displayed a remarkable improvement in skin health with the consumption of oolong tea for a continuous period of six months.
Balances blood sugar
Oolong tea is an herbal remedy for patients suffering from type 2 diabetes. It works on insulin which is the main culprit of navigating blood sugar level in blood streams. Sudden rise and fall in sugar level can be very dangerous for patients. It can be even life-threatening. A scientific study on oolong tea has exposed that people drinking this herbal beverage along with regular drugs can overcome the situation of sudden dip and rise in these levels. It has properties that regulate blood sugar and stimulate your insulin.
An ongoing study has found that its antioxidant components can be advantageous to prevent some types of cancers as well. The polyphenolic compound found in this caffeinated drink can counter tumor formation and its growth into cancer. Study is still under way to get a firm proof of using anti-oxidant of oolong tea as prevention against the fatal cancer.
Apart from these, various studies and research are still being conducted on oolong tea to ascertain its various benefits. Expertsopine that this tea may be highly advantageous for bone, heart, nervous, and brain functioning as well. However, their results are yet to be seen.