Best Loose Leaf Oolong Tea

Best Loose Leaf Oolong Tea

Anyone wondering where to buy Oolong Tea needn’t look further than here. You’ve just found the best Oolong Tea UK and worldwide suppliers around. This is an infusion that has become known as the “in-between Tea” due to its processing sitting somewhere in the middle of Green Tea and Black Tea.

Those already familiar with it can browse our selection. Everyone else can continue reading about it below.

Despite the allure, the renown and the well-documented benefits of Oolong Teas, its consumption accounts for a mere 2% of what global Tea drinkers choose to brew. The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company believes it’s time that changed.

We believe that it is as wholesome, invigorating and flavoursome as any other type of Tea we stock. Why not discover for yourself today?

What is Oolong Tea?

What’s in Oolong Tea is the same as Green Tea, White and Black Tea. It consists of leaves from the Camellia sinensis (Tea) plant. The fundamental difference between each variety happens at the factory, whereby they each undergo a varying amount of oxidation.

White Tea is the least oxidised variety, meaning it retains most of its natural chemical structure and characteristics. It is closely followed by Green Tea.

This might have you asking the question: Is Oolong Tea Black or Green Tea? The reality is that it is neither. Oolong Loose Leaf Tea is indeed its own thing, a slightly fermented and semi-oxidised type that is quite literally between Green and Black Tea when processing is concerned.

Specifically, anything between 8% and 80% oxidation can be classified as Oolong. But how, exactly, is it made?

  • Withering Process: After harvesting the camellia sinensis plant, workers leave the loose leaf tea out in direct sunlight to wither.

  • Oxidation Process: It is bruised by tossing it and shaking it in a basket to initiate oxidation.

  • Fixing / Kill Green Process: Applying heat to the leaves halts oxidation at the desired level.

  • Rolling Process: Workers roll and shape the leaves to release enzymes and essential oils.

  • Drying Process: This stage reduces the moisture content to prevent spoilage when stored.

  • Quality Check Process: Only the finest Tea leaves make the cut.

China is the original home of Oolong Teas. The most famous region to create it is Fujian Province, located on the country’s southeast coast. Fujian’s subtropical climate, mild winters and heavy rainfall contribute to its unique profile, especially in the Wuyi Mountains and Anxi County.

However, other countries make it, including Taiwan (formerly Formosa), Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Thailand, India and Malawi.

Oolong Tea History and Legends

The history of drinking Oolong Tea is somewhat of a mystery. Precisely when and how it came into existence remains unknown. While some people have suggested that it dates back to the 10th century CE, other theories point to it originating from the 17th or 18th centuries.

It’s likely that we’ll never be certain. Nevertheless, several legends have been recounted over countless generations.

The first and oldest story involves the Chinese Royal Court. During the Song Dynasty (906-1279 CE), Chinese emperors received Tea as tributes. One such Tribute Tea came from the Beiguan Garden in Fujian, which had been compressed and imprinted with a phoenix and a dragon.

It was subsequently dubbed “Wu Long” (Black Dragon), a name that changed over hundreds of years to “Oolong”.

The second theory, taking place in Anxi County, refers to a farmer and a deadly serpent. The man in question had been tending to his crop when a poisonous snake appeared. He made a hasty retreat, dropping a basket of harvested Tea to escape.

When the farmer returned, he found that the leaves had started to oxidise. His new discovery was named after the serpent: Wu Long, or Black Dragon.

Finally, a variation on the Anxi County tale is that rather than a serpent, the farmer was distracted by a deer. Wishing to hunt the beast, he discarded the basket of leaves and pursued it. Much of the tale is the same other than that.

The one additional distinction is that it was called “Black Dragon” after the farmer’s nickname. Then there is Formosa Oolong Tea history, which is something entirely different.

Formosa Oolong Teas History

Loose Leaf Oolong Tea from the island of Formosa (present-day Taiwan) dates back to the mid-19th century. In 1866, during the Chinese Qing Dynasty (1644-1912 CE), a British trader named John Dodd began championing Formosa Tea on the world market.

This coincided with a period of mass immigration from mainland China, prompting a significant boom in the local Tea industry.

Farmers from Fujian Province brought with them their expertise in cultivation and production. Large-scale industrialisation later swept through Formosa following the Japanese occupation in 1895.

With industrialisation came mechanisation. Soon after, family-run Tea gardens were transformed into mass-producing factory estates. consuming Oolong Tea remains a staple of Taiwan’s society.

Different Types of Oolong Tea

Whether you decide on a Loose Oolong Tea from mainland China or Taiwan, India’s Assam State or Darjeeling, it’s only the tip of the iceberg. There are innumerable different types of Oolong Tea, each boasting individual traits, oxidation levels and perhaps even additions.

It’s time now to introduce you to just a handful of the varieties we stock at The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company:

There are a few curious names in that selection that deserve a brief exploration. How is Milk Oolong Tea made, for instance? Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t involve milk at any stage.

It is, in fact, created from a particular cultivar of the Camellia sinensis plant that, when lightly baked during its processing, ends up with a creamy flavour. Worry not, in other words, if you’re lactose intolerant.

Meanwhile, the “GABA” in GABA Oolong stands for “Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid”. This is where the leaves are manufactured in a high-nitrogen and oxygen-free environment. The result is an infusion that contains high levels of GABA, a chemical compound that is beneficial to your health and wellbeing.

But we’ve so far not mentioned one of the most important compounds of them all: Caffeine.

Oolong Tea Caffeine Content

Does Oolong Tea have caffeine? The simple answer is yes; it does. How much? It depends. Since White Tea undergoes only a minimal amount of processing at the factory, it has little more than 15-mg of the stimulant.

Green Tea, the second-least processed type, contains about 30-mg. The variety that experiences the most oxidation is Black Tea, which has about 45-mg of caffeine per 8-oz serving.

As you know already, Oolong Tea leaves are the in-between of Green and Black Tea. Therefore, on average, the beverage will have about 37-mg of caffeine.

The issue with calculating the exact amount is that the Loose Tea might be oxidised by as much as 80% or as low as 8%. Choosing an Oolong that has been oxidised to the highest level will mean you receive its full energised kick.

How to Make Oolong Tea

There are questions we haven’t addressed. How do you drink Oolong Tea? Can you add milk to Oolong Tea? What water temperatures should you apply to the leaves?

The good news is that we’ve put together a straightforward guide for you to follow below. You’ll need either a Tea Filter or Infuser to continue, both accessories of which are available here. All that’ll be left then will be these instructions:

  • Put Loose Leaf Tea into a Filter or Infuser.

    About five grams should be a sufficient amount to include in the accessory.

  • Place the Tea-Filled Item in a Cup.

    Get your favourite cup or mug and adorn it with the finest Tea.

  • Pour in Freshly Boiled Water to Start Brewing.

    The water temperature for Oolong Tea should be cooled to between 80°C and 90°C.

  • Allow it to Infuse for a Brief Period.

    Steeping it for any longer than 2-3 minutes risks producing a bitter taste.

How to Serve Oolong Tea: Do you add milk to Oolong Tea? We wouldn’t recommend it. Consider instead a slice of lemon or a dollop of honey. Alternatively, serve without accompaniments.

Tasting Notes: What does Oolong Tea taste like? Once again, it depends on the oxidation. A rule of thumb is that it is refreshing, perhaps floral or fruity, and has grassy undertones.

Is Oolong Tea Good for You?

The latest scientific research indicates that the frequent consumption of Oolong Tea leads to impressive health benefits. This is because of its abundance of vitamins, minerals and other antioxidants working together to combat free radicals in the body.

Doing so slows oxidative stress and reduces the risk of developing numerous chronic conditions. These are just some of its medicinal capabilities:

  • Improved Digestion.

  • Promoted Weight Loss.

  • Fewer Skin Blemishes.

  • Strengthened Bones.

  • Enhanced Cognitive Function.

Those who’d like to know more could check out our Oolong Tea Benefits article for the facts and figures. The chances are, though, that you’re keen to put the kettle on and indulge.

Since our founding in 1982, over forty years ago, The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company has packed its products by hand and fresh to order. Be sure to buy Oolong Tea online or in-store for the utmost quality and consistency.

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