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.
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 🙂