Oolong (sometimes pronounced 'wulÃ³ng') is a traditional Chinese tea ranging from 10% to 70% oxidation -- between green and black tea.
In Chinese tea culture, semi-oxidized oolong teas are collectively grouped as qingcha, literally: blue-green tea. It has a taste more akin to green tea than to black tea: it lacks the rosy, sweet aroma of black tea but it does not have the stridently grassy vegetal notes that typify green tea.
The best Oolong has a nuanced flavor profile. Oolong tea leaves are often processed and rolled into long curly leaves or into ball-like form similar to gunpowder tea. It is commonly served in Chinese restaurants, to accompany dim sum and other Chinese food.
Generally about 1 teaspoon of Oolong per cup should be used. Oolong should be prepared with 180Â°F (82Â°C) water and steeped 3-4 minutes. If you use more teaspoon per cup, then the infusion time is lessoned, however you can get more infusions per batch of leafs.
The word oolong means "black dragon" in Chinese; various legends describe the origin of this curious name. In one legend, the owner of a tea plantation was scared away from his drying tea leaves by the appearance of a black serpent; when he cautiously returned several days later, the leaves had been oxidized by the sun and gave a delightful brew.
Another tale tells of a man named Wu Liang (later corrupted to Wu Long, or Oolong) who discovered oolong tea by accident when he was distracted by a deer after a hard day's tea-picking, and by the time he remembered about the tea it had already started to oxidise.
Others say that the tea is called "oolong" because the leaves look like little black dragons that wake when hot water is poured on them.
Teas contain a number of ingredients that have an influence on the human body. The quantities and percentages of these ingredients differ somewhat depending on the extent of oxidation.
As can be seen from the table below, green tea contains a wealth of one ingredient called catechin while black tea contains a lot of theaflavin. Oolong tea contains a large quantity of polyphenol. According to research, it has become clear that polyphenol is the ingredient that generates the delicious flavor unique to oolong tea and also promotes beauty and health.
| ||Green Tea |
|Oolong Tea |
|Black Tea |
|Caffeine ||★★★ ||★★★ ||★★★ |
|Tannin ||★★★★ ||★★★★ ||★★★★ |
| ||Catechin ||★★★★ ||★★ ||★ |
|Polyphenol ||★ ||★★★★ ||★★★ |
|Teaflavin Tearubigin ||★ ||★★ ||★★★★|