24 May 2010

Oolong Tea

Oolong tea is made from the same plant, Camellia Sinensis, as white, green and black (Ceylon) tea. The difference between them is how they are processed and often the area and temperature they are grown in. Green tea is not fermented, oolong tea is partially fermented by the raw leaves being sun-wilted, bruised and left a certain period to oxidise, black tea is fully fermented and white tea is steamed.

Each process of tea has it's own special flavour and often drunk for their different health benefits. Oolong tea (also known as wulong or black dragon tea) was originally processed in China over 400 years ago. It is said to be a difficult process, hence the fact it was and is not exported in as large quantities to the West as green and black tea. The tea gives a light golden-red liquor with a rich flavour. The tea contains many different kinds of health giving polyphenols.

In the West oolong tea is fast becoming known as a slimming tea. Studies have shown that drinking as little as two cups daily of oolong tea has the effect of boosting the metabolism and activating the enzyme that is responsible for dissolving excess triglycerides. Triglycerides are normally used as fuel for the body but if in excess they are stored as fat.

Oolong tea also helps in increasing the effect of the copper-zinc-SOD enzyme in the body. SOD revitalizes cells and reduces the rate of cell destruction by neutralizing some free radicals. The result being less wrinkles, less age spots and healthy hair. It also is an aid for those with skin problems like psoriasis and eczema.

Chinese herbalists use oolong tea to boost weak spleen and kidney energy. The anti-oxidants contained are also noted for strengthening the immune system and therefore promoting longevity.

Making Tea:
1) Always boil fresh water each time you boil the kettle, never water which has been previously boiled. Filtered water, not tap water, is best in most areas.
2) Pre-heat tea pot. Add tea. As soon as water comes to the boil add to pot. Prolonged boiling gives tea a flat taste.
3) Leave to brew of around 4 minutes.
NOTE: Always store teas in an airtight container out of the light. Tea absorbs both moisture and flavours of strong smelling foodstuffs, so best to store separately in a dry area.

There are many varieties of oolong tea as it is grown in a few countries in Asia. Try a few and see which one you prefer best. I find I am now drinking as much oolong as I do green and black tea.

Respiratory Rescue
From Care2 Medicinal Teas For Colds and Flu
Formulated by Sara Martinelli, tea blender and owner of The Boulder Dushanbe Tea House in Boulder, Colorado.

2 parts oolong tea
1 part rosemary
1 part chamomile
1 part rose hips

Place two teaspoons of the mixture in a strainer, add one cup hot water and steep for 10 to 15 minutes. Congested lungs will love this aromatic breath of fresh air.

Vanilla Oolong Ice Cream
Created by Philip Gelb
From the Vegan Culinary Experience online magazine.

1 cup unsweetened soymilk
½ cup raw cashews
2 tbsp. kuzu
Dash of salt
2 tbsp. high mountain Taiwanese oolong leaves
2 cups of soymilk
vanilla extract to taste
½ cup of agave syrup

In a high speed blender, place the 1 cup of soymilk, cashews, kuzu, and salt and blend on high for 3 to 4 minutes, until the ingredients becomes totally pureed and the mixture heats up and thickens. Meanwhile, bring to simmer in a sauce pan 2 more cups of soymilk. After it comes to simmer, remove from heat and add 2 tbsp. high mountain Taiwanese oolong leaves. I am using the Dong Ding variety~Philip. Cover and let steep for 4 minutes and then drain the leaves out of the soymilk. Place this oolong soymilk in the blender, adding it to the first mix that is now thickened. Add vanilla extract to taste and ½ cup agave syrup. Blend until thoroughly incorporated. Place this mixture in an ice cream maker and freeze it.

Oolong Island Ice Tea Spritzer
Adapted from Tea Chef
A wonderful, relaxing spritzer for an afternoon on the deck or patio!

1 cup strong brewed Oolong Tea
1 cup white cranberry juice, peach flavor (I prefer freshly squeezed juices~Jackie)
½ cup vodka
½ cup dark or gold rum
ice cubes
crushed ice
7-Up or Sprite or your favourite lemonade

Mix tea, juice and both liquors in a pitcher with ice cubes. Half fill 4 hi-ball glasses with crushed ice. Divide tea mixture between the glasses. Top each drink with 7-Up/Sprite/lemonade.Serving Size: 4. Give it a quick stir and enjoy!

1 comment:

Marion said...

Thank you for this post...I've often wondered what the difference was between oolong and the other teas. Should have looked it up long ago, heh! I didn't know white tea, a favourite of mine, is steamed. Your post has inspired me to get some oolong and to try that Vanilla Oolong Ice Cream. It'll be perfect for Graham, who loves ice cream and can't have the dairy kind!