Time For A Healthy, Food-Friendly Oolong…

As you might be noticing, with the holidays behind us, marketing efforts have turned to focus on healthy offerings.  Green tea ads have been populating my inbox, touting the high anti-oxidants and amino acids contained in tea leaves.  While I enjoy several green teas, I just love a good oolong.  And contrary to popular belief, most varieties of quality leaf teas offer health benefits (not just green tea)…it’s just that most of the studies about tea have been done on the green leaf varieties…but suffice it to say, “quality, pure, leaf teas are good for you whether green, semi-fermented (oolong), black or white varieties.”

I like oolongs for several reasons.  I posted about oolongs last year here.  Most often, when I serve tea after dinner, I go to an oolong.  It pairs well with almost any food …similar to how a pinot noir wine complements food… so, when in doubt of which tea to serve with food, I go to a pure oolong.  There also is a bit of mystery and/or ritual surrounding these teas.  I use a little old Yixing clay pot for steeping my oolong (pictured below).  It is the only tea I use in that pot…I can actually just put hot water in the pot and the fragrance of this semi-fermented tea exudes. The gaiwan, lidded cup (also pictured below)  is a traditional Chinese brewing vehicle for leaf teas..and an oolong is perfect for multiple infusions.  Each infusion brings out nuanced flavors and lends to a feeling of old world custom and ritual each time you steep  your leaves.

What is oolong tea? Oolong teas are partially oxidized, as opposed to black teas which undergo a longer oxidation period, to achieve a sweet, floral-fruit flavor.  They are in between a green and black tea in color, flavor, and caffeine levels.

Oolong Teas…dried whole leaf…unfurled into a full, beautiful, pliable leaf

Oolong Tea…dried whole leaf…unfurled into a full, beautiful, pliable leaf below…the white lidded cup is a sleek looking Gaiwan cup traditionally used in China for tea preparation.

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Gaiwan Cup

Gaiwan

 

I currently am working through a pound of Mighty Leaf’s Tiequanyin-jade Oolong.  It is from China’s Anxi province, is competition grade, and lightly oxidized with a complex, orchid like taste…just a teeny bit floral.  Very nice indeed.

This tea is a medium bodied tea…light in color and not grassy.

Enjoy…Here’s to a healthy 2014…Drink quality, leaf teas and feel good about it 🙂

French Laundry Ben Shan Oolong

The French Laundry served a Ben Shan Oolong the last time I was there from a gorgeous silver teapot

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Yxing Teapot…the one I use solely for brewing Oolong teas

Yixing Teapot…the one I use solely for brewing Oolong teas — the small Bodum cup above is one of my favorite small cups…the silicon band surrounding the cup keeps your tender fingers safe from the heat of the tea when first poured

 

 

3 Comments

  1. Funny you should mention about the green tea enthusiasm at the moment because I received a parcel yesterday from Twinings containing three new green teas they’re bringing out. Sadly, teabags rather than these beautiful leaves you’ve got here, but all the same I’m looking forward to trying them. I doubt they’ll come anywhere near a cup of perfectly steeped oolong out of one of your lovely clay cups though. Anyone visiting you for a cup of tea is getting a rare treat!

  2. Thanks Lorna…my husband read my post and then asked me to make us a cup of oolong using our clay pot…guess I inspired him. We enjoyed the earthiness the pot gives off. Anytime you are in California, you are invited for a cup of tea. Would love it. Look forward to hearing about your Twinings teas…I have consumed Twinings for decades. Love their earl grey.

    • Thank you very much, I’d love to find an excuse to visit California one of these days. 🙂