The Beginner’s Guide to Oolong Tea and its Benefits

Last Updated on May 8, 2021 by James Matthews

If you love black and green tea, you must try oolong tea. This tea has quickly grown in popularity in recent years due to its numerous health benefits, as well as its rich flavor and aroma. Slightly smoky with a hint of sweet and fragrant flavor, oolong already has a cult following in Asia, where it is a common staple at restaurants. Before we uncover why oolong tea works wonders for your health, let’s get to know it a bit better.

oolong tea benefits

What is Oolong Tea?

Similar to black and green tea, oolong tea is produced from the Camellia sinensis plant. However, oolong is neither a green tea nor a black tea and falls into its own tea category. Specifically, two features make oolong tea unique compared to other types of tea: the oxidation process used to create it and its shape.

In contrast to black tea, which is fully oxidized during processing, and green tea, which undergoes little oxidation, oolong tea is partially oxidized, giving it a unique taste. Moreover, oolong teas are shaped differently. Tea leaves, stalks and buds are rolled during processing, creating intricate shapes such as balls, semi-balls and twisted strands. Another key difference between oolong and other types of teas is the fermentation process involved. Black tea is fully fermented, green tea is typically non-fermented, while oolong tea is semi-fermented.

Where does Oolong Tea Come From?

The majority of the global supply of oolong tea is cultivated in China and Taiwan. China produces the majority of oolong in its cultivating regions of the Guandong and Fujian provinces, with the best-known oolong tea is produced in the Wuyi Mountains. Taiwan is the second-largest producer of oolong, cultivating it in its mountainous regions near the Tropic of Cancer.

What is the Best Way to Brew Oolong Tea?

To make a cup of flavorful oolong tea, you can start by boiling some water (preferably filtered). Oolong is best brewed at about 90°C (190-200°F), so you should let the water cool for a few minutes before brewing the tea. Then, add one or two teaspoons (2-4g) of loose-leaf tea to a cup of hot water, depending on how strong you like your tea. Steep your oolong tea for 1-3 minutes, and then enjoy! It is generally not recommended to add sugar or milk to oolong tea, as that can mask its unique aroma.

One of the important benefits of oolong tea is that it can be brewed several times, and still be just as flavorful as it was at first brewing.

Does Oolong Tea Contain Caffeine?

Yes, there is caffeine in oolong tea. One 8-ounce cup of oolong tea generally contains 20-60 mg of caffeine, which is about half the caffeine of a cup of coffee.

The Benefits of Oolong Tea

How Does Oolong Tea Improve Your Mental Performance?

Oolong tea has been used in Chinese traditional medicine for centuries. Recently, new scientific studies have shown that this type of tea has many health benefits for the brain and can even help us maintain brain health well into old age. Oolong tea contains powerful antioxidants, caffeine and L-theanine, an amino acid with many beneficial properties for brain health. Let’s take a look at how drinking oolong tea can benefit your mental performance.

Oolong tea can boost your alertness and concentration.

Although oolong tea does not contain as much caffeine as coffee, the caffeine contained in one cup of brewed oolong is enough to stimulate your nervous systems. Therefore, drinking oolong tea can boost your mental alertness and help you feel more awake when you need to. Moreover, studies that regularly consuming oolong tea can improve our concentration.

Oolong tea can help you reach your peak cognitive performance.

According to new scientific research, the combination of L-theanine and caffeine (both contained in oolong tea) exerts highly beneficial effects on brain function. When taken together, this combination can boost memory, attention and even the brain’s processing capabilities for visual information. Importantly, L-theanine contained in oolong tea can diminish the stimulating effects of caffeine, making you feel calm and alert and helping you reach your peak cognitive performance without feeling anxiety.

Oolong tea can help you improve your memory.

Research shows that drinking tea, including oolong, can help to improve learning and memory. In fact, one study has shown that drinking tea high in L-theanine and antioxidants was associated with enhanced cognitive performance in old age. Importantly, natural antioxidants, such as those contained in oolong tea, can help to preserve memory function as we get older.

Oolong tea can protect your brain from aging and disease.

Amazingly, the beneficial natural compounds of oolong tea can help to protect our brains during the aging process. For instance, consuming caffeine-containing beverages, such as oolong tea, can prevent serious neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Caffeine also has neuroprotective effects on brain function, and scientific research shows that it can even reduce the risk of cognitive decline linked to dementia during the aging process.

How Does Oolong Tea Benefit Your Physical Performance?

The body is a complex machine that requires many nutrients for optimal function. Drinking oolong tea can help you stay in shape and even improve your physical performance due to its many beneficial properties. Here are some of them:

Oolong tea can help you with weight loss.

Regularly drinking oolong tea can help you lose weight to stay in best shape. One scientific study with athlete participants showed that taking oolong tea extract helped to optimize their weight loss. It is thought that polyphenols and catechins present in oolong tea help to regulate our metabolism and maintain function of the gastrointestinal system, helping digestion to run smoothly.

New research also shows that polyphenols found in oolong tea can regulate digestive enzyme function and even reduce the number of calories absorbed by the intestines. Further, oolong tea can help you lose weight by slowing down carbohydrate absorption and digestion.

Oolong tea can help to relieve performance anxiety.

If you are an athlete, you are probably well familiar with feelings of performance anxiety before and during competitions. Although a little bit of stress can be good for us, pumping us up before the important event, strong anxiety can impede your athletic performance. Research studies show that due to its high concentrations of theanine, oolong tea can help to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. In fact, theanine has been shown to have potent anti-anxiety effects. It also diminishes the stress response by blocking excessive brain cell excitation.

Oolong Tea Promotes Healthy Sleep.

Getting a good night’s sleep is crucial for both physical performance and post-workout recovery. Your body needs 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep for optimal athletic performance and to heal after intensive physical activity. Drinking oolong tea is one of the best natural ways to improve your sleep quality. According to recent medical research studies, L-theanine contained in oolong tea can boost your sleep quality and help you sleep longer without causing excessive drowsiness.

Reduced inflammation.

While having somepost-exercise inflammation is normal after intensive physical activity, it can also negatively impact your physical performance and slow down your recovery. Many people choose to take anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen, to manage their post-workout inflammation. However, regularly taking these medications is linked to serious side effects, such as kidney disease, heart attack and ulcers.

On the other hand, drinking oolong tea can naturally reduce inflammation in the body and even diminish the activity of pro-inflammatory messengers. Another important benefit of oolong tea is that it contains potent antioxidant molecules. These help reduce oxidative stress in the body caused by inflammation.

Oolong Tea Improves Gut Health.

Our gut health plays a crucial role in our athletic performance and can even affect our speed of recovery after high-intensity workouts. What is more, having healthy intestinal flora is important for immune function. Which keeps us from getting sick and helping to maintain our best physical performance.

New research shows that drinking oolong tea can help to regulate intestinal microbiota and improve gut health due to its high concentrations of polyphenols. Therefore, regularly consuming oolong tea can help to regulate digestion and avoid gastrointestinal problems. This enhances both physical performance and speeding up recovery.

How Can Oolong Tea Improve Your Longevity?

Want to live longer? New scientific studies show that tea can help to prevent many types of diseases, while drinkers often live longer and healthier lives. Here are some of the important protective effects of oolong tea for our health:

Oolong tea can help to prevent cancer.

According to World Health Organization (WHO), cancer is the second leading cause of death worldwide. Scientific research shows that Oxidative damage can contribute to the development of cancer, while antioxidants can create a protective effect against some cancers. Antioxidants are molecules that inhibit oxidation and can prevent damage to cells caused by free radicals.

Oolong tea contains natural antioxidant molecules called catechins, which are highly effective in blocking the harmful effects of free radicals. Studies show that drinking tea, including oolong, can protect us against certain kinds of cancer, including skin, lung and breast cancers. In addition, catechins found in oolong tea can also inhibit cancer tumor growth.

Oolong tea can protect you from cardiovascular disease.

Cardiovascular disease is a class of conditions affecting the heart and blood vessels, often leading to heart attack and stroke. This group of conditions is one of the major causes of death globally. Causes of heart disease include combination of specific risk factors, such as smoking, unhealthy diet and being overweight.

However, the good news is that we can reduce our chances of having cardiovascular disease by having a healthy lifestyle. Research shows that drinking more than one cup of oolong tea per day is linked to reduced risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. Additionally, it has been shown that regular consumption of oolong tea can significantly reduce our risk of having a stroke.

Oolong tea can prevent high blood pressure.

High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is a dangerous medical condition that occurs when your blood pressure increases to unhealthy levels. Often, hypertension has no specific symptoms, and can quietly damage your body for many years, eventually causing serious consequences such as a heart attack or stroke.

Regularly drinking oolong tea can help to reduce blood pressure levels and protect you from developing hypertension. According to the results of one study, individuals who drank at least half a cup of moderate-strength oolong tea for a year decreased their risk of developing high blood pressure almost 50% compared to study participants who did not drink tea. 

Oolong tea can protect you from harmful pathogens.

Regularly drinking oolong tea may help us stay healthy and protect us from getting infections caused by some types of viruses and bacteria. This benefit of oolong tea is especially important during the recent COVID-19 pandemic.

Scientific findings show that cathechins and polyphenols, the potent antioxidant molecules in oolong tea can destroy certain pathogens, such as the influenza virus. In addition, consuming oolong tea can even help to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria in the mouth area and formation of cavities.

Oolong tea can help you live longer.

Oolong tea has been celebrated as a longevity drink for centuries, and for good reason. A new medical research study show that drinking tea such as oolong several times a week is linked with a longer and healthier life. Moreover, habitual oolong tea drinkers had a much lower risk of dying from conditions such as cardiovascular disease and stroke. Drinking oolong tea can even lower blood cholesterol, protecting our blood vessels and heart in the long term. 

Where Can You Buy Oolong Tea?

To get the freshest and most flavorful oolong, you should head to your local tea shop for some gourmet loose leaf tea. There are many varieties of oolong to choose from, each having its own unique fragrance. Some of the most popular types of oolong include Dragon Eye oolong, Phoenix oolong, Chinese oolong, High Mountain oolong and Wuyi oolong teas. Importantly, it is best to buy certified organic oolong tea to avoid any synthetic pesticides or herbicides, which can be bad for our health.

If you would like to order your oolong tea online, you should look for a highly rated brand, such as Imozai Organic Oolong Tea on Amazon. This USDA Certified Organic premium-quality oolong offers a delicate aroma and taste of traditional oolong tea, while being reasonably priced.