Thank Goddess it’s Friday again – and time to take time out for our tea-way ritual. This week the focus is on Oolong, which would be my all-time favourite as an instant, calming de-stress.
Goddess of Teas: Made from the leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant [Green Tea] and considered the happy medium between green tea and black tea, Oolong is a loose leaf tea. The tea is harvested from tea plantations and undergoes a partial oxidation process, with the leaves being allowed to oxidize for a predetermined amount of time, which is carefully monitored by the Tea Masters: and indeed one variety is reverently known as the “Goddess of Mercy” . . .
Oolong teas can be oxidized between 8 and 80 percent depending on the tea industry producer and the leaves are typically rolled into long spindles, giving it the tea’s common name Black Dragon tea.
Oolong Types and Characteristics
The wide oxidation ranges means that Oolong teas boast a wide range of flavours as well. Some Oolong loose teas are fruity and tart, and others can be roasted or woodsy: the longer the tea is oxidized the more earthy and robust the tea’s “profile”.
One of the most beloved of Oolong teas is known as Iron Goddess of Mercy or Tieguanyin. This tea comes from tea plantations in Taiwan and is found in tea houses and tea shops from England and the Americas to Singapore and Asia: I like to think of the “kiss from the goddess” being blown to us all over the globe as we drink our Oolong. Another popular Taiwanese Oolong is Milk Oolong tea or Jin Xuan. This tea has a creamy texture that is highlighted by a buttery flavour.
The majority of high quality Oolong teas come from China including Red Robe and Dan Cong. Red Robe tea comes from the Wuyi Mountains and has a sharp, smoky flavour. Dan Cong tea is produced in Gunagdong Province and has a more flowery and fruity.
Oolong helps boost metabolism and reduce stress on a daily basis as it contains several vitamins, minerals and helpful antioxidants.
A cup of brewed tea will contain: Fluoride: Manganese: Potassium: Sodium: Magnesium: Niacin: and, Caffeine: 36 mg. [quite high! But it’s a slower release than coffee]. The main antioxidants in Oolong tea, known as tea polyphenols, are theaflavins, thearubigins and EGCG. These are responsible for many of its health benefits. Oolong tea also contains theanine, an amino acid responsible for the tea’s relaxing effect
There have been many research studies of Oolong tea benefits for health, including type 2 diabetes, heart health and metabolism: importantly for me, it improves brain function so I’ve used it as an antidote to “brain fog” when I’m stuck into mind-bogglingly long hours of video production or writing projects!
As usual, I encourage you to inform yourself and if you’re instinctively drawn to a tea like Oolong for your mind-body-spirit then gen up as much as you can with self-education. Learn more about our Zen Tea-way in my blog.