Oolong tea is a lesser-known variety of tea compared with the green or black variety and for the tea connoisseur, it would certainly be high on the list of their favored varieties. It has a wonderfully wholesome flavor and health benefits which are far-reaching. It is neither green nor black and sits somewhere in between the two.
Although it is made from the same Camellia Sinensis plant as green and black tea, the processing methods are different. People drink Oolong tea both for its flavor and for its benefits to their health. It is a fabulous antioxidant and it contains vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes and there are a number of studies that point to the curative nature and disease-preventing benefits of the tea. Some studies indicate helpful benefits for a number of health conditions.
A cup of Oolong tea can represent a very refreshing change to the more common teas on the shelf. So, if you are looking to purchase Oolong tea, how would you be sure that you buy a quality product.
Loose Tea vs Tea Bags
Tea bags, in the main, tend to use the small leftover pieces of the leaf, they are convenient but do contain particles as small as dust. The whole leaf is important for a better flavour and will contain more of the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants and as a result, be more beneficial for health.
Tea has to be processed from the plant and Oolong tea has very special processing requirements. A quality tea will give recognition to this process and the processing methods may well be included for information as part of the literature with the tea. As soon as a leaf of tea is removed from the plant it will begin to undergo a chemical process known as oxidation.
The leaves, when on the plant, are green and if allowed to fully oxidize, they turn black and that is what is known as black tea. Green tea is made from the leaves which are barely oxidized and care has to be taken with Oolong tea to ensure that the leaves are only partly oxidized, the color should be somewhere between green and black and different varieties of Oolong tea will have been oxidized for different lengths of time, allowing for different flavors.
A good producer will produce flavorsome tea with varying tastes to suit a number of palates. The teas can range from woody flavors through fruit flavors and too sweet, roasted aromas.
The flavor of the loose lead oolong tea will also differ depending upon the cultivar of the plant and depending on the region in which it is grown. The soil is important as is the attention and care given to the plants when they are in the process of developing. Quality tea should use little in the way of pesticides and chemicals.
As a consumer of the tea, care should be taken to store it according to the instructions given. The tea should also be prepared carefully so as to be able to savor and enjoy the flavor to its maximum benefit.