Oolong Tea Has Layers of Complexity


Oolong Tea Farm

Oolong tea (or Wu Longis largely unappreciated in the US.  This is a pity because it offers a sophisticated and aromatic range of flavors that would likely appeal to many American tea drinkers.  Oolong has become touted for its “diet” properties.  Oolong has similar antioxidant properties to green and black teas.  Its use as a diet aid is not something that has been proven with medical science.  However, switching from a sugary drink such as soda or “Southern Sweet Tea” Which can contain as much as 3 cups of sugar per gallon to an unsweetened tea such as green tea or oolong has the obvious benefits of gross caloric reduction. 

Oolong teas are more sophisticated than your average teabag of tea, and for good reason.  The growing conditions of the teas, how they are picked, the cultivar and age of the tea bush all make a difference to their final taste.  How they are processed after they are harvested adds another layer of complexity to how they taste. 

These teas are some of the more sophisticated flavors of teas, and while the vast majority are cheaper still than a soda, ounce by ounce, they offer an exquisite culinary experience that is unmatched.  It is good hot, cold (some tea aficianados might disagree), or at room temperature, and is not difficult to make.  It takes about 3-5 minutes to steep.

If tasting a good solid and inexpensive oolong tea appeals, Ti Kuan Yin (aka Iron Goddess of Mercy) is an inexpensive variety in most of its incarnations, although it is available in higher grades that have much larger price tags.  Buying a decent quality Ti Kuan Yin is not difficult to do in the US if there is any significant Chinese presence in the area.  Available at many Asian markets in their beverage aisles.  The highest grade teas, however, usually rest behind the counter of the store. 

Better quality oolongs come as a whole leaf tea.  It is possible to steep the same leaves 3 or 4 times, and with a high grade tea, more than a dozen times.  This may require a small amount of experimentation in order to fit one's personal taste.

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