How to Brew Oolong Tea

Oolong is a traditional form of Chinese tea where the leaves of Camellia plant is withered in the sun and oxidation. It is then curled and twisted. The leaves, stem and buds of the plant are used in making tea. It is a product which is somewhat in between black tea and green tea. The black tea is fully fermented and green tea is unfermented whereas Oolong is partially fermented.

Oolong tea is usually steeped in a clay Yixing teapot or an Asian gaiwan. A western teapot is however perfect for steeping as well. Here is the process of brewing Oolong tea.

Any water except distilled water can be used it will spoil the taste of the tea. The water can be spring water, tap or filtered water. Fresh water which has not been boiled is preferred.

For six ounces of water use 2 tablespoons of tea leaves and just one if it is rolled.
The water should be heated to 180°F to 200°F.

Steeping Time
Although the time of steeping depends on the type, shape and size of the tea leaves it usually takes anywhere between one to five minutes to steep the tea. The rolled type Oolong takes longer than the leafy type. You can taste the tea after a minute and then in every thirty seconds to check the taste.

Strainers and Infusers
A filter made of metal, glass or cloth is the best type to be used. They should be spacious as in order to release their flavour the tea leaves need to unfold. The brewing can also be done directly in the cup or pot and then strained while pouring it out.

Reuse the Oolong Tea Leaves
The speciality of Oolong tea leaves is that they can be steeped many times. There are some variants of Oolong which can be steeped upto 15 times. However it is usually 3 to 4 times that Oolong can be steeped. Using a porcelain gaiwan or a yixing teapot is the best way to make Oolong. Every time the tea is steeped you get a different flavour. The tea leaves should be drained out completely before you steep it again else the taste of the tea gets bitter. The steeped tea leaves shouldn’t be left for too long. Probably an hour or so is good but not more. Once you master the brewing of Oolong and know the taste you will understand the number of times that you would want to steep it.

Health Benefits of Oolong
Besides being a fine beverage Oolong is also beneficial for health. The health benefits are doubled as it possesses the qualities of both green and black tea as they are partially oxidized. The tea has a pleasing aroma. It provides important antioxidants to your body which leads to healthy skin, strong teeth and also a healthy bone structure.
The tea also helps in reduces the dangers of diseases such as inflammatory disorders, heart diseases and high cholesterol.

Oolong also controls the metabolism of fat in body because of the polyphenol compound which is found in it. It alleviates the functions of fat cells and activates specific enzymes which help in reducing obesity.

The herbal brew is also wonderful for those who are suffering with type-2 diabetes. Studies conducted in 2003 revealed when Oolong was taken along with the regular hyperglycemic drugs the patients did not suffer with sudden drop in the sugar as the Oolong further helped in balancing the sugar levels.

Oolong is a wonderful drink which can not only be enjoyed as a beverage but can also be consumed for health benefits.