Oolong tea has moderate levels of caffeine and a full bodied, complex flavor. Its aroma ranges from sweet, with tones of apricot and honey, to earthy, with hints of spice and wood.
Offering many excellent health benefits, oolong tea can help to improve mental alertness, is used to improve the complexion and is believed by many to help treat obesity and diabetes.
Oolong tea is made from the leaves, buds and stems of the Camellia sinensis plant, the same plant that also produces black, green and white tea. However, what differentiates oolong tea from the others is how the leaves are treated.
For oolong tea, first the leaves are wilted in the sun for a short period of time. Then, they are placed into a basket and shaken. This bruises the leaves and exposes the juices inside to the air, initiating the oxidation process. The leaves are then spread out to dry and, finally, fired, which stops the oxidation process to create crisp, dark leaves.
Within this process, there are some variations that produce different types of oolong tea: open leaf-style oolong, semiball-rolled-style and strip-style oolong.
The first type, open-leaf oolongs have undergone light oxidation, are not roasted and are sweet and bright in taste.
Semiball-rolled-style oolongs are irregular-shaped balls of tea that have also undergone light oxidation. Depending on the specific oxidation process, they can be either green in color or a honey-like, reddish color, with a fruity, floral flavor.
The third type, strip-style oolongs are very dark in color with long, twisted silhouettes. They have undergone heavy roasting, which enhances the flavor and adds warmth and strength.
For most oolong teas and blends, you’ll want to steep somewhere between 180-200 degrees Fahrenheit, for around 3 minutes.
A favorite oolong blend is Spicely Organics’ Jade Spice Oolong. It is a China Jade oolong blended with organic orange peel, organic cinnamon sticks and organic osmanthus flower. Osmanthus flower is excellent for the skin, the orange peel’s vitamin C is great for general wellness and, overall, there is a sweet warmness to this tea.
For other varieties of Spicely Organics oolong tea, click here.