The Mystery Of Oolong

by Steven Popec 9. April 2010 12:25

Oolong

Chinese Wū long or Oolong is a type of tea located between green and black in the Chinese classification. In other words, Oolong is half-fermented tea. Oxidation ranges from 20% to 40%, and the most characteristic feature of this tea is that the leaves are fermented unevenly. Along the edges of the tea leaf fermentation can be quite astringent, almost like black tea with well pronounced reddish rim around a leaf but in the center of leaf fermentation, is very weak, close to green teas. As a result, Oolongs have a wonderful aroma and taste that combines the freshness of green tea and tartness of black tea.

Oolong combines the best qualities of both green and black teas. Some highly fermented Oolongs give a fairly dark brown-reddish infusion. However, such Oolongs constitute only a small share of the vast diversity of this type of tea. Basic and famous Oolongs have a gentle light yellowish or greenish tinge honey extract. By appearance of the infusion, they are closer to green teas and by taste - to black teas. A good Oolong is both refreshing and delicious with no trace of bitterness and stronger aroma than any green or black teas. Oolong is a well known type of Chinese tea used in ceremonies. A widely-used ceremonial method of brewing Oolongs in Taiwan and China is called Gongfu Cha. For a complete appreciation of the taste of this tea, tea pairing is recommended: tea bowl and snifter cup used to appreciate the tea's aroma. Tea poured into a snifter cup and a drinking bowl is placed upside down over the top of the snifter cup. Then the two are inverted so that the snifter cup is upside down in the drinking bowl. The final stage is when the snifter cup is lifted and the tea is released into the drinking bowl. After all this manipulations, tea drinkers can respectfully receive the aroma and then enjoy the taste.
 
There are two main types of Oolong that are grown and harvested in China and Taiwan, the mainland and island tea. The next classification is the type of traditional treatment and characteristics of climate and soil. Oolongs grow high in the mountains, shrouded in fog, on the poor stony soils. The quality of tea depends on the orientation of the slope, the number of fogs during the growth and professionalism of collectors, who manually collect and sort out the tea leaves in difficult mountain conditions.  
 
Oolong often resembles the form of twisted lumps consisting of strongly folded and compressed whole leaves. When touched, the lumps are elastic and dense. Fresh tea should be slightly shiny and have a strong fragrant. During the brewing process, the tea leaves unfold, expend and consume the entire volume of the teapot when steeped 2-3 times. Usually, Oolong brewed with water temperature of 176-194º F for 3-4 minutes. A teapot 150 ml takes about one heaped teaspoon. Expensive Oolongs can withstand multiple infusions up to 20-25 times. The fragrance of tea can vary from delicate peach tones to astringent walnut, with a corresponding color change of infusions darker with each subsequent brewing. There are varieties of oolong that color does not change and remains yellow-green, while others, originally given infusions of intense color give a pale infusion each subsequent brewing.

Oolong tea is the most diverse among Chinese teas in terms of taste and appearance . Oolong is tea-perfection conceived by Heaven and Earth. 

9 Tea Busting Myths, the truth is revealed

by Elena Popec 18. February 2010 21:29

Every morning begins about the same for millions of families in the world, with a refreshing cup of tea: black, green, white, herbal, fruit, flavored. We partake our favorite drink mostly out of habit rather than consciously.

Scientists have calculated that a person drinks at least 51oz of fluid in one day, one third of this is tea. In each country people drink it in their own way: one is with butter and salt, some like it with milk, others prefer it by making extraordinary "bouquet", adding in tea herbs, fruits or flowers. We have collected the most common myths about tea, so we can confirm or refute the controversial debate.


Myth #1. Tea has a tonic effect on the body, so it is better to drink in the morning.

True. Tea contains caffeine which has an activating effect on the cardiovascular system, so it should be drunk in the morning or afternoon. By the way, caffeine content in green tea is less than in black tea or coffee. Therefore, if you want to cheer up, do not drink gallons of coffee,  better brew a cup of aromatic and healthy green tea.

Myth #2. Tea with milk is harmful.


False. However, when milk is added, the chemical composition of tea is changing since the casein in milk binds the antioxidants. Tea becomes less tonic, and has less effect on blood vessels (the fact that the composition of tea includes vitamin P as well as other substances that strengthen the vascular wall). On another hand, tea with milk takes toxins out and works as a diuretic.

By the way, according to some narrations, the tradition of drinking tea with milk originated from the British. Due to the fact that the finest porcelain cups sometimes did not withstand boiling water and cracked. Therefore, the British began to dilute the tea with milk.


Myth #3. Loose leaf tea is better than tea bags.

True. Usually, contents of tea bags are known as fanning’s or dust, everything that is broken and crumbled. Tea bags are not necessarily cheaper than loose leaf tea, you pay for the packaging material and the process. Loose teas have more variants which can be brewed differently and it can be blended at your desired taste level. Tea bags, on the other hand, are pre-blended for a specific flavor. Loose teas can give you the purest of flavors for each variety, blended for your own preferences.  Tea brewed from tea bags is not harmful - just useless. There is simply no better alternative than loose tea,  it just tastes better. So, if you truly want to experience a heavenly cup of your favorite tea, then loose leaves are the way to go. Check out this great independent article titled, “For the love of tea!”. 


Myth #4. You cannot drink green or black tea in large quantities because it affects functions of the body.


Everything is good in moderation. Generally, there are no substances in tea that could harm the body. Three to four cups of tea per day will give you a total of 320 mg of polyphenols. People with kidney disorders, stomach ulcers, anxiety should not drink caffeinated tea. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should also avoid caffeinated drinks. There are a lot of healthy alternatives: Rooibos, Mate, Herbal blends, Fruit blends.


Myth #5. Herbal tea can be an assistant in the treatment of certain diseases.

True. Herbal tea cannot be used as medication but as an aid to help the drugs treatment is acceptable. However, herbs contain active substances that can trigger side effects and interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications. For these reasons, people should take herbs with care, under the supervision of a practitioner knowledgeable in the field of botanical medicine. For therapeutic purposes or maintain immunity, herbal infusion should be brewed separately and should not be abused.


Myth #6. Coffee and tea have the same amount of caffeine.


No. Dry tea leaves contain more caffeine than coffee beans. However, in a single serving cup of prepared coffee contains significantly more caffeine than a cup of tea due to difference in amount used to prepare a cup of tea. Don’t forget that certain types of tea can undergo a second infusion that will have even less caffeine. According to eHow.com, you can see for yourself that black tea, which is considered to have the highest levels of caffeine, is 50% less than coffee.
 

Myth #7. Hibiscus or Karkade decreases blood pressure.


True. Drinking Hibiscus tea effectively lowers blood pressure and reduces high cholesterol levels. Hibiscus is a main component of many Fruit and Herbal tea blends. Teas that contains Hibiscus, is caffeine free and rich in Vitamin C, which has a pleasant fragrance and vibrant red color.


Myth #8. Tea should be strong.


Partly true. Of course, the stronger the tea, the stronger its components and the higher the tannin content. Excessive amount of tannin over time may prevent the body from absorbing calcium if your diet is low in this nutrient, but the health benefits of tea are much greater than probable issues.  How strong the tea should depend on one’s preferences and suggestions from the tea company.


Myth #9. Tea has an antiseptic effect.

True. Tea actually contains antiseptic substance, but the concentration of these substances is very low, and with serious illnesses, they may be useless. It is better to seek assistance from a doctor and use the tea as an aid.

Tea & Good Mood

by Steven Popec 11. February 2010 19:33

Considering the various properties of tea, do not forget about the main advantage of this magnificent gift of nature: the tea is able to give us joy and create a good mood. It is important to learn how to use the opportunities that tea provides to us.

Always useful to keep the favorite teas stash in the house and regularly update it.

If the tea is prepared correctly, it will reveal to us all its grace, if only treated with due care. The procedure of making tea requires greater attention, distracts from all the vain and becomes effective curative session of psychotherapy. All we need is to believe in tea.

The ritual begins when during the boiling of water, we opened the canister and breath the scent of dried tea, look at the tea leaves and think about often unknown  plantation where  early in the morning, unknown hands quickly and relentlessly blunt fragile shoots stretching to the rising sun.  They came to us and brought freshness and flavor of mysterious place.

While filling a pot with boiling water we begin to smell the tea infusion, while pouring tea into cups we admire the bubbles that knock on the surface at the edges of the cup. So we create for ourselves  our own  "tea ceremony" .

Loose Tea vs. Tea Bag

by Steven Popec 20. January 2010 06:34

The first thing that many people do in the morning is grab a tea bag for a quick cup of tea.  In contrast, true tea lovers brew their tea from loose leaves.  Those who are still using tea bags are not only missing out on superior taste, they are missing out on the health benefits of using loose leaf tea in every cup.

People who use tea bags often use it for convenience to enjoy at the office or even in the comfort of their home. However, loose leaf tea is far more superior when it comes to taste than tea bags because the tea leaves are not constrained by paper.

Another major drawback of tea bags is that it tends to stale faster than loose leaves because it has smaller particles.  Loose teas have more variants which can be brewed differently and it can be blended at your desired taste level. Tea bags, on the other hand, are pre-blended for a specific flavor. Loose teas can give you the purest of flavors for each variety, blended for your own preferences.

When it comes to brewing a nice warm pot of tea, there is a lot of argument over whether or not to use loose tea or a tea bag. Just about any tea expert will tell you that there is simply no better alternative than loose tea – as it just tastes better. So, if you truly want to experience a heavenly cup of your favorite tea, then loose leaves are the way to go.

Benefits of Using Loose Leaf Tea

Another reason why loose leaf tea is superior to tea bags is because you receive the “entire” leaf.  The leaves that are placed into tea bags are simply tea dust and particles left over after the picking and processing of tea leaves.  When you use a tea bag, you lack the essential oils that are present in loose leaves.  

Loose Leaf Tea is Cost Effective

Loose leaf teas can actually save you more money than tea bags.  When using a high-quality tea bag, it cost around 20 to 70 more for a tea bag. Brewing from quality loose leaves can cost around 5 cents per cup because it can be re-used up to 4 times before it loses flavor.

The Convenience of Using Loose Leaf Tea

Some people will argue that they don’t have time to brew loose leaves. There are several devices that you can use to save you time when preparing loose leaf teas. 

For example, you can use brewing baskets that can easily fit a tea pot or cup or pot to save time.

As you can see, the advantages of using loose leaf tea outweigh the any advantages of using a tea bag. So, try a cup of loose leaf tea today and discover its superior quality!

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