What is Oolong Tea?
Oolong tea is neither black tea or green tea. It is a made from the bud, leaves, and stem of the Camellia sinensis plant. Oolong tea might have certain characteristics of either black or green tea depending upon how it is processed.
All though all the true teas black, green, and oolong come from the tea plant Camellia sinensis. The degree of oxidation varies hence the different variants of oolong tea. The oxidation varies between 10-80%. The ones oxidised for a shorter period are closer to green tea and ones which are oxidised more than 50% resemble black tea in flavour.
How is oolong tea made?
The different steps involved in preparing oolong tea are withering, cooling, light rolling, oxidising, roasting, final rolling, drying and hand sorting.
Each step is closely monitored and some steps are repeated multiple times to reach the desired flavour.
Oolong teas are broadly categorised in two styles – small, wrap-curled and long, strip-curled. The latter is more commonly produced and used style.
Benefits of Oolong Tea
- Improves alertness: The caffeine in the oolong tea boosts alertness.
- Beat stress: The amino acids in oolong tea block glutamate receptors and decrease the stress response. It has a calming effect and helps beat stress.
- Helps Weight Loss: Polyphenols present in oolong tea help to block the enzymes which build fat and boosts metabolism and helps in weight loss.
- Improve digestion: It reduces inflammation of the digestive tract and also combats bad bacteria in the stomach.
- Maintain cholesterol level: Oolong tea helps to lower cholesterol and combat high blood pressure and heart diseases.
- Higher bone density and healthy teeth: The antioxidants help strengthen bones and also fight against tooth decay.
- Healthy Skin: Antioxidants in oolong tea also combat eczema.
- Controls type 2- diabetes: Studies have shown that drinking oolong tea regularly helps combat type 2- diabetes.
- Anticancer: The polyphenolic compound promotes apoptosis and the polyphenolic extract acts as a chemo-preventive measure hence lowering the risk of development of cancer cells. It acts as a prevention against skin cancer.
Disadvantages of Oolong Tea
The caffeine content is oolong tea is lesser than coffee but much higher in comparison to green tea. So it shouldn’t be consumed more than 2-3 cups a day. To increase the flavonoids it should be steeped for as long as possible.
It is also known to decrease the iron absorbed from plant foods so it is best not to drink it along with meals.