What is oolong tea?

Oolong tea is made from the true Chinese tea plant (Camellia sinensis) and originally comes from southeastern parts of China. Many popular Oolong varieties also come from Taiwan. Tea is considered a semi-fermented variety and lies between unoxidized green tea and highly oxidized black tea. Green tea, oolong tea, and black tea are all made from the same leaves, and different production methods are ultimately responsible for each characteristic taste.

Fresh green tea leaves are not crushed and oxidized in the open air; in black tea, on the other hand, the leaves are crushed too much to get a particularly large amount of juice for fermentation. With oolong tea, the oxidation of the leaves is precisely controlled by laborious manual work. After being collected outdoors for a while, the leaves wilt. The leaves are carefully rubbed and shaken so that a small amount of juice escapes from the leaves. The leaf juice is then oxidized in fresh air. To stop this natural fermentation process, oolong leaves are heated. Oolong teas are fermented between 15 and 70 percent. The less the leaf juice is oxidized, the milder the taste of the finished tea.

As a semi-fermented tea, oolong is nutritious and provides some important minerals and botanicals, including:

  • calcium
  • magnesium
  • Potassium
  • caffeine
  • polyphenols
  • amino acids
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