The best oolong tea depends on the oxidation level, region its cultivated from, and flavor. There are a variety of types of oolong tea, though the best often have difficult production processes that encourage depth of flavor.
If you’re looking for an introductory tea, oolong is a great place to start because of its mild taste, wide range, and availability. In addition to that, oolong tea has a multitude of health benefits, such as boosting your immune system to prevent sickness and encouraging weight loss.
What Is Oolong Tea?
If you’re not familiar with the way teas are classified, oolong is often described as the middle ground between green and black tea. The classification of tea types usually tell a story about how tea leaves are prepared, as all tea comes from the Camellia sinensis plant. This means that the difference between teas are simply the production process as well as the sources.
The best Oolong tea requires five time-consuming steps, which include plucking, withering, rolling, oxidizing, and firing. The rolling and oxidizing steps are done repeatedly, which gives it its smooth flavor profile. Compared to green tea, which is not allowed to oxidze, and black tea, which is deeply oxidized, oolong ranges between 8% to 80% in oxidation level.
How To Enjoy Oolong Tea
The best way to enjoy oolong tea, like most teas, is brewed with hot water--not boiling water. Allow the leaves to steep about 3 minutes each time they’re used, up to five times per serving. Unlike other teas, the best oolong tea leaves emit flavors that transform with each steeping.
If you’re on a time crunch and enjoy tea in the morning, you can also use a refillable k cup filter and your keurig to brew the best oolong tea! Simply add 2-3 teaspoons of leaves into the filter pod, insert, and press start. You can also enjoy the best oolong tea iced by adding ice and simple syrup to the extraction.
Lighter oolong teas pair best with lightly sweet fruits like asian pears, salty cheeses, and plum. For savory foods, pair with rich seafoods like lobster or scallops.
If you’re enjoying a darker, more oxidized oolong, try pairing it with stronger flavored foods like persimmons, pastries, or pancakes with syrup. It also complements rich, grilled meats like salmon and duck.
Oolong Tea Time
The best oolong tea varies depending on your preference of oxidation level, sourcing, and flavor profile. The good news is that because oolong tea is so widely available, there’s a variation for almost every taste. If you’re looking for a midday pick-me-up, but want something other than a snack or a cup of coffee, try brewing a cup of tea.