Spilling the Tea:
Your Guide to the Best Oolong Tea
Oolong tea is certainly one of the more delicious true teas around. Nevertheless, it is still relatively unknown to most tea drinkers.
So, if you have been on the lookout for the best oolong tea, you may have had some trouble coming up with an answer.
Well, luckily for you, there’s no need for any more research. Our guide below will show you exactly what oolong tea you should choose depending on your budget and preferences.
We’ve also offered some information on how to select the best possible types as well.
So, let’s get started!
Oolong Tea – At a Glance
No thanks, take me to the Best Oolong Teas
Even if you do enjoy the taste of oolong tea, you may still be in the dark about some of the fundamentals of this drink.
If this is the case, here is a brief introduction to oolong tea.
Types of Oolong Tea
To begin with, let’s take a look at the different types of oolong tea. The categorizations are often based on the growing region of this blend:
Fujian Province (China)
•Dà Hóng Páo
•Shuǐ Jīn Guī
•Tiě Luó Hàn
•Bái Jī Guān
•Tiě Guān Yīn
Guangdong Province (China)
•Dong Fang Mei Ren
•Jin Xuan (Milk Oolong)
The Flavor Profile
Now, there is a good chance that you haven’t tried all the oolong teas on the market. So, if you are considering selecting one for yourself, it is important to understand the flavor variations.
In essence, the flavors of the oolong tea depend on the level of oxidation and the exact processing technique.
Typically, a tea that has been oxidized between 8 and 85 percent is considered an oolong tea.
Thus, here is some insight into how the differently processed oolong teas will taste:
At first glance, this oolong tea can look a lot like green tea. However, it is the tightly rolled balls that give the game away.
While they have a similar fresh and vegetal taste as the green teas, there is more depth to the oolong tea. As such, there is a more floral and buttery flavor to it.
Medium Oxidized/Roast Oolong
As these leaves are more oxidized, they have a deeper flavor. You may get hints of warm spices, honey, white sesame, or toasted grain.
Heavily Roasted Oolong
These teas are more dark and intense, a bit like coffee in certain ways. Depending on where they are grown, they can boast chocolate or nutty flavors or something more fruity and floral.
How to Select Oolong Tea
Now, let’s move onto how you can select oolong tea. Some of the things to watch out for include:
Similar Shape and Size Balls
As you may have noticed loose leaf oolong tea is rolled into small balls. This allows for the trapping (and release) of more nuanced flavors.
The best oolong teas are hand-rolled. As such, they will be in similar shape and size to one another. This is something that you can look for when selecting your teas.
Look for leaves that have a uniform color. For instance, if you are opting for a light green oolong, steer clear of any teas that have other color pigments in them.
These discolored portions often indicate that the leaves weren’t picked at the right time or that they were incorrectly processed.
Fragrance and Aroma
All fresh teas need to give off a gentle aroma. This tells you that once the leaves are brewed, they will release a similarly delicious flavor.
However, the fragrance should be subtle. If it appears to be too strong it could contain artificial flavors and this can impact the overall authenticity of the tea.
A Good Brand
If all this sounds a little too technical for you, there is a fail-safe way to select top-notch oolong teas. You can do this by sticking with brands that are well-known for their high-quality teas.
And, on this note…
The Best Oolong Tea Brands
Let’s take a look at the best tasting oolong teas that different brands have to offer:
To begin with, let’s check out the brands that offer the best loose oolong teas.
The Republic of Tea Milk Oolong Tea
Solstice Tea Traders Formosa Oolong Tea
Tao of Tea Black Dragon Oolong Tea
Now, let’s move onto the brands that offer the best oolong tea bags.
The Republic of Tea Dragon Oolong Tea Bags
Bigelow Oolong Tea Bags
Twinings Pure Oolong Tea
Finally, here are the best organic oolong teas on the market.
Golden Moon Oolong Tea
Davidson’s China Oolong Tea
Tealyra Tie Guan Yin Oolong Tea
If you want to pick the best oolong tea, this guide is for you. On top of our recommendations, you can also learn some valuable information on how to pick a tea to suit your tastes.
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