Oolong Tea (wu long cha):
Oolong means ‘black dragon’ and is defined as semi-oxidized tea as it is a partially processed tea, ranging both in oxidation levels (from 10 - 70%) and rolling style. Oolong teas are bruised and left to wither and brown (oxidize). They are then heated which halts oxidation. Generally, oolong teas are either rolled into long curly leaves or small adorable beads with spindly little tails.
They retain characteristics of both green and black teas and therefore maintain very complex but pleasing flavors. Depending on oxidation levels and processing, flavors can range from green, floral, and fruity to woody, earthy, and roasted.
In the early years, oolong, or wulong, was grown, processed, and consumed almost entirely in China, but in the 1800s seeds made it to Taiwan, and production soon followed, though processing would still happen in Fujian, China. Now Taiwan is one of the world’s largest producers of oolong.
Oolong also boasts a variety of health benefits. It is known as the “slimming herb” in China and is beneficial in reducing and maintaining weight by increasing metabolism and inhibiting lipid absorption. It is also noted for its ability to aid in the digestion of heavy meals. And don’t forget about everyone’s favorite little endorphin rush, released by its caffeine content.