In modern times, it is true that tea – especially the more obscure varieties – are becoming more popular all over the world.
This is most probably due to the rising popularity of Asian culture, helped in part by the internet and social media – allowing young people to be influenced by cultural and historical practices associated with the many countries in Asia.
This has also coincided with a growing awareness and distrust of drug companies, which has led to people searching for more natural remedies to common mental and physical ailments – such as digestive problems, and anxiety and depression.
One tea that has become popular is oolong tea, but what exactly does it taste like, and what benefits – if any – does it have?
What Is Oolong Tea?
Also known as ‘Dark Dragon Tea’, oolong is a traditional, semi-oxidized Chinese tea made from camellia sinensis – an evergreen shrub/tree that produces leaves and flowers that can be used for tea making.
Some of the most famous types of oolong tea include those produced in the Wuyi mountains of northern Fujan – including Da Hong Pao, a popular brand amongst Chinese people.
What Does Oolong Tea Taste Like?
While most teas have a distinct flavor, oolong can vary drastically depending on where it was produced.
Some variations include a fruity, sweet flavor produced with honey and fruit, a woody and rich flavor produced by roasting, or a green and fresh variation with complex plant aromas.
The end flavor is a result of the processes and specific horticulture involved, and there are many brands within China which specialize in unique oolong tea.
How Is Oolong Tea Produced?
When it comes to making oolong tea, there are countless different methods – each depending on the brand and the ingredients – however, the finished look of the tea leaves generally follow one of two styles.
These either consist of rolled, curly leaves, or leaves that have been ‘wrap curled’ into small, bead-like shapes.
When it comes to creating the finished product, the manufacturing process tends to follow a generally uniform practice – that is, repeating the specific rolling practice until the desired bruising and browning of the tea leaves is achieved.
Generally speaking, the rolling, withering, shaping, and firing are similar to the process of making black tea – however, oolong demands more time and care given, especially with regards to drying times and the temperature of the process.
Are There Any Health Benefits?
Most forms of traditional Chinese tea have been used in healing and medicine for centuries, and each style has something distinct when it comes to treating ailments.
Oolong tea is one such type, and there are several purported health benefits to making oolong a regular part of your diet.
Firstly, oolong tea is considered to be full of antioxidants, which are good for all manner of bodily processes, and have even been linked to slowing down the aging process, and limiting the degree to which the body breaks down.
There is also some minor evidence to suggest that oolong tea can aid weight loss.
A study on animals showed that an oolong tea diet led to less stomach weight than in those that didn’t consume any – leading scientists to wonder whether the tea could have weight loss properties.
One thought is that oolong could aid fat oxidation, helping it to break down in the body.
Type 2 Diabetes
Another purported benefit of oolong tea is that it can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
A Japanese study found that drinking oolong tea everyday reduced the glucose levels in the body by a staggering 30%.
Like many forms of Chinese tea, oolong is also supposedly good for supporting the general immune system, and helping to ward off seasonal illnesses.
The flavonoids found in oolong are purportedly great for increasing antibacterial proteins within the body, helping to bolster the immune system against all manner of potential problems and ailments.
Heart Disease & Stroke
It has also been credited with helping to reduce the risk of heart disease and strokes – something it can supposedly achieve by utilizing catechins and polyphenols to reduce cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
Improve Skin Conditions
It has also been shown to be beneficial towards skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis.
This is supposedly brought about by the tea’s natural ability to crush free radicals – and when combined with the antioxidants, it can have a distinct impact on skin health and condition.
The specific blend of L-theanine and GABA has been shown to encourage deeper sessions of sleep, and more restful sleep overall.
L-theanine is an amino acid associated with rest and regeneration – and oolong tea (see also: What Tea Is Good For Acid Reflux?)has this in spades.
One notable benefit of consuming oolong tea is an increase in bodily energy, and the amount of time we feel alert and focused.
L-theanine provides and encourages mental clarity, something that can help us feel relaxed, focused, and free from lethargy and exhaustion.
Supports Gut Health
In modern times, we all know that gut health is paramount to bodily health, and drinking oolong tea can be an important way of bolstering our gut health as a whole – helping us to avoid and fight off potential ailments and illnesses.
This can be great for boosting immunity, avoiding liver problems, reducing allergies, and cutting out digestion related illnesses, such as IBS.
And there we have it, everything you need to know about oolong tea, and what exactly it tastes like.
It’s true that tea – especially the more obscure kinds – are becoming more and more popular all around the world, influenced in part by the internet, and the rising awareness of more natural remedies for mental and physical ailments.
So if you want to experience more varieties of tea, then why not give oolong a try? Something tells me you won’t be disappointed!
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