In China, tea is not just a way of life, it is also a fundamental part of Chinese cultural identity. Chinese tea in fact falls into one of six categories covering a range of colours, tastes and fermentation processes. Among them is oolong, which we will discuss in this blog, along with its impressive health-giving and nutritional benefits. What is oolong? This semi-fermented tea is made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, which is mainly grown in the Chinese provinces of Fujian and Guangdong, as well as Taiwan.
The leaves are partially oxidised, giving oolong its wilted appearance and characteristic taste. When brewed, the fresh, clean flavour of green tea is combined with the dark tones and earthiness of black tea. Vintage editions can fetch similar prices at auction as rare and collectible wines and spirits. Indeed, in 2014, a 20 kg box of oolong from the 1960s fetched $130,000, making it the world’s most expensive cuppa.
How is it prepared?
- For a truly authentic experience, you need a traditional Yixing clay teapot, whose design dates back to the 15th century. Alternatively, you should use a ceramic teapot.
- We recommend using only loose-leaf oolong, measuring out about 2-3 g, regardless of its appearance.
- First, heat some water to between 85 and 95°C: as a general rule, the lighter the leaves, the closer the water temperature should be to the lower end of this range.
- Rinse the leaves in a tiny bit of the hot water, then immediately pour it down the drain without losing any leaves. Rinsing in this way opens up the cellular structure of the leaves, while washing away any impurities.
- Fill the teapot and let the leaves steep for anywhere from 2 to 5 minutes, depending on your strength preference.
Is oolong good for you?
While it is naturally caffeinated, the tea contains theanine, an amino acid responsible for its relaxing effect. It is also rich in vitamins and minerals, including manganese, potassium, magnesium and niacin (a source of vitamin B3). Furthermore, a single cup will provide you with up to 24% of your recommended daily intake of fluoride, so it’s good for your teeth too.
Scientific research has also demonstrated that it can help reduce the risk of heart disease, tackle obesity, lower the risk of cancer and prevent diabetes. Being high in antioxidants, it has also been linked with fighting disease, decreasing inflammation, supporting a healthy brain and preventing bone loss.
Find your perfect brew with us.
For over 20 years, we have been known for our unrivalled range of high-quality food and drink from across the Far East, including oolong products to suit every taste. In addition to the classic loose-leaf version, we also sell Imperial Choice Premium teabags. For something a bit more refreshing, why not try Nongfu Spring Peach Oolong Tea Drink. Check out the Sing Kee Foods website today for more options!