Loose Leaf Oolong Tea: The Process Of Fermentation

Oolong or Wu Long means "Black Dragon". Oolongs are half-fermented (or semi-oxidized) teas that are in the specialty tea family. Half-fermented because the processing of Oolong tea requires only a partial fermentation (oxidation) of the leaves. Oolongs occupy an intermediate position between non-fermented green teas and fully fermented black teas and are the most diverse and interesting loose leaf teas. Oolongs can have varying degrees of oxidation that ranges somewhere between 10-35% in classic Chinese Oolongs to 60-70% in classic Taiwanese (Formosa) Oolongs. Oolong specialty tea is often made from mature leaves, collected from older tea trees.

Processing Oolong is considered the art of tea, where the character of tea is created. Tea masters participate in Oolong tea processing competitions to demonstrate their professional skills at this fine art.

Let’s take a look at Oolong manufacturing process.

There are no standard recipes on how to manufacture oolong tea; it is up to the discretion of each tea garden or tea master to decide on processing and the level of oxidation.
Immediately after gathering, the tea leaves are spread in a thin layer on special bamboo mats under direct sunlight for withering that will let most of water evaporate. The withering process time varies depending on the ambient temperature.
The next step of processing is very peculiar, withered leaves are placed in a large bamboo basket and put in a shady area. Approximately every hour, the tea leaves are shacked and gently tumbled in order to bruise the edges of the leaves to start an oxidation, at the same time avoiding breaking or crushing them. This procedure has to be done several times, until following effect will be reached: bruised up edges of the leaves due to the fermentation become brown blush (like 'rusty'), while veins and parts of the leaves should remain green.

Once the desired level of fermentation is reached, the oxidation process should be stopped immediately. This is achieved through the heat drying phase of raw materials in scorching air called "panning". The pan roasting of the leaves requires extensive experience in Oolong tea processing.

Most Oolongs are dried in two stages: first is partially, primary drying and rolling of tea leaves, then a final finish drying. Some highly fermented Oolongs undergo an additional stage of wetting and softening.

The partially drying process is carried out manually. This stage is necessary to stop the fermentation. Partially drying can be done in 2-4 steps, when the raw material is taken out of the oven, quickly cooled, then rolled. Then again dried in the oven, rapidly cooled, then rolled again, and so on. Afterwards, the leaves go through a final drying phase, ending oxidation and often followed by baking (roasting). Several kinds of Oolong are not rolled just dried after panning. With such a "multistage" technology, taste and degree of fermentation of Oolongs differentiate. Although, manufacturing Oolong is very intensive and meticulous process, unique aroma and flavor profile of this specialty tea makes this tea worth the trouble.

Good quality Oolongs are only loose leaf teas, not tea bags!

The most widely known and actively exported Oolongs are Chinese (Fujian and Yunnan) and Taiwanese (Formosa). Among the most well-known are Formosa Oolongs. Grown and manufactured in Taiwan, named after the province in which grown, these teas are considered the best in quality and affordability among Oolong the loose leaf tea family. Taiwanese Oolongs are often called "Champagne of Teas". Typically Taiwanese Oolongs are specifically labeled that indicates the quality of tea:

1. Fanciest or Extra Fancy
2. Fancy
3. Extra Choice or Extra Fine
4. Fine
5. Fully Superior
6. Superior
7. Good
8. Standard

Chinese Oolongs are famous for the fact that are used in a Chinese traditional procedure named Gongfu Cha and withstand up to 7 steepings.

Brewing Oolong is a very delicate process because it strongly depends on the type of oolong, more precisely, the degree of its fermentation. A lightly fermented Oolong is closest to the brewing of green tea with 190-195 degrees water and the brewing time 1-3 minutes. More fermented Oolong (such as Formosa) is brewing a little longer 4-5 min in hotter water 203-212. After brewing a quality Oolong has pronounced specific characteristics that cannot be mixed with any other kinds of tea.

 The best quality Oolongs expresses a strong and rich floral aroma and a remarkable peachy flavor with a honey-sweet aftertaste. Oolongs that closer in oxidation to black teas, have a nutty, toasted flavor. Color of brew is very diverse: from light yellow with green notes (like green tea) to a dark red. Oolong specialty teas contribute 2% of tea consumption of all the teas all over the world.

Enjoy a great cup of Oolong, happy drinking!

Properly Storing Loose Leaf Teas

Loose leaf tea is a delightful, delectable tea that is packed with health benefits for you. But protecting this tea, and keeping it fresh and delicious, involves storing it in a proper container. Heat, air, light, and moisture, are some elements that could potentially damage the tea or drain it of nutrients, so it’s important to keep the tea protected from these elements.

Loose leaf vs. tea bags
Sure, tea bags may seem to be convenient. But in the long run, they can be harmful to you. Tea bags are almost unrecognizable as tea anymore. The nutrients and antioxidants have been beaten out of it, resulting in little more than “tea dust.” The processing of these teas may also have left traces of harmful chemicals that will bring on inimical side effects. Loose leaf tea on the other hand is intact, with more antioxidants and nutrients, and more flavor. It is processed through simpler methods and allowed to retain its sweet, rich aromas and the taste is far superior to tea bags. When you brew loose leaf tea, the water has room to move around the leaves, which brings out the flavor.

Health benefits of loose leaf tea

Drinking tea every day yields many results that are beneficial to your health. It can help you to lose weight, help lower your cholesterol, prevent you from developing high blood pressure, prevent cardiovascular disease, and improve your dental health. Regular tea drinking may prevent you from developing cancer. It may also help improve your sleep, ward off headaches, improve your memory, improve cognitive functions such as learning, and help to prevent you from developing arthritis and types of dementia. Tea is just packed with an almost countless number of health benefits. Green tea has even been shown to lead to a longer life-span.

How to store tea
Tea of course should be stored at room temperature, and the best way to protect it from heat, moisture, and other elements is by keeping it in an airtight container. Tea can’t be sealed and put in a freezer, as this will damage it. Likewise it cannot be kept near a toaster, stove, or microwave or any other type of heat, as this will also damage the tea. If kept in a pretty, but not airtight container, the tea will lose its flavor fairly quickly.
Try not to use containers that are clear plastic or clear glass. This leaves the tea accessible to light which can damage it. Try to store tea away from any foods or spices that are strongly scented or flavored, as teas can easily absorb the flavor and aroma of the food around them.

Drink up
Don’t keep tea for too long, as over time, even in the best of storage containers, tea will lose its flavor and nutrients. Tea is meant to be consumed. And drinking a few cups of tea every day will help improve your health and has even been shown to lengthen your life. So brew some tea. You can even brew tea and refrigerate it to enjoy refreshing iced tea all week.

Does the Green Tea Diet Work?

With all the weight loss miracle claims, it’s hard to ascertain what actually works, and what’s actually good for you. There are many fad diets and crash diets that make wondrous and difficult to believe claims, but many of these are incredibly unhealthy, damaging, and can wreak havoc on your body, and cause far more harm than good. Diet pills and diets that exclude food groups are advertised all the time these days. The truth is that there is no miracle cure, but adding green tea to a healthy diet and exercise plan may help you to lose weight.

Weight loss effects
Being at a healthy weight is about more than just social acceptance. It can lead to significant health improvements, such as a lower cholesterol, and put you at a lower risk for heart disease, stroke, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, and a variety of other ailments.
The “secret” is that green tea contains a chemical called epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG, which may be beneficial in helping you lose weight. This is just one of many nutrients and antioxidants that green tea contains that have a beneficial effect on your health and your weight loss adventures.

What green tea is and does
Loose leaf green tea comes from the same plant as white, black, and oolong tea. It’s a plant called camellia sinensis which is grown in many countries all over the world. The difference between these types of teas is all in the processing. Green tea is a little more oxidated than white tea, and unlike the fermentation process of black tea, is produced by steaming fresh leaves. In this way, the process yields a higher content of certain types of beneficial nutrients and compounds. Due to this process, loose leaf green tea has a higher content of polyphenols than does black tea, or oolong tea.
Green tea has many healthful effects, including a boost in your metabolism which will lead to burning off calories at a quicker rate. Green tea has also been shown to help improve your energy, which leaves you with more energy for daily exercise. It may also burn off fat, making it easier to see those pounds start dropping.
The EGCG polyphenol that occurs naturally in this tea will make it easier to burn off more calories throughout the day. It has a stronger effect than other natural compounds to increase thermogenesis, which leads to a higher amount of calories burned off at the end of the day.
While all of these are shown in various studies, the truth is that there is no miracle weight loss cure. There is no answer that will instantaneously slim your waist. Weight loss is a journey, and it takes a lot of work and a lot of time. It needs to include a well balanced, healthy diet, and daily exercise. But adding loose leaf green tea to your daily routine can help you in this process. Drinking green tea can only be helpful, as it has a myriad of other nutrients and antioxidants that will lead to health improvements in many areas.
It can’t hurt to give green tea a try. It’s healthy and tasty. Drink up and enjoy!

The Green Tea Diet

In this age of fad and crash diets, it can be difficult to find a way to lose weight that is effective and healthy. Adding green tea to your diet can be a healthy -and safe- way to make a beneficial lifestyle change and to help you in your weight loss adventures. Studies show that green tea can be an effective weight loss aid, and this type of tea has become more popular in recent times due to its tastiness and health benefits.

The nutrition of green tea
Green tea is loaded with nutrients and antioxidants, and polyphenols, and has been consumed for centuries in many countries. It has a plethora of health benefits. It has compounds that may fight cancer and heart disease, and it may even improve your metabolism. Improving your metabolism means that you will burn off the food that you consume, which will help you in your quest for a slimmer waistline.

Weight loss
Loose leaf green tea also helps to lower high cholesterol, and may even prevent  your cholesterol from ever getting too high. This is a wonderful benefit, especially for those who are trying to lose weight. Even by helping you to lose weight, this may help to get your cholesterol back down to a healthful level. A high cholesterol can lead to other health risks, including a higher risk of heart attack and stroke. There’s no need for diet pills and crash diets. Drinking loose leaf green tea every day can help you to lose weight and improve your overall health.

Loose leaf green tea also contains a  certain type of polyphenol called epigallocatechin gallate, which is also referred to commonly as EGCG, and studies show that this compound may help to lessen the appetite and may also help to burn off fat. This is a far healthier way of suppressing the appetite. Diet pills may make the same types of claims of suppressing the appetite, but they can actually cause more damage than improvement. Actually, there are some “green tea diet pills” that now exist, as this drink truly does produce significant results.
Another reasons that loose leaf green tea work include, surprisingly, the caffeine content. Caffeine is known to have a small effect on suppressing the appetite, but research also supports that caffeine can help burn off fat. Caffeine may speed up thermogenesis, which is the process in the body that leads to burning off fat cells.
Drinking a few cups of loose leaf green tea may help you to see marked improvement in your weight loss journey.
Loose leaf green tea is said to be able to lower LDL cholesterol, the bad type of cholesterol. Some research also supports the idea that the EGCG in loose leaf green tea may help to regulate blood sugar levels, which would inhibit the absorption of carbohydrates.
It’s important to maintain a healthy lifestyle while on any type of diet. Drink lots of water and get lots of exercise. And while drinking green tea is beneficial to your health, it isn’t a cure all for everything.

Loose Leaf Teas and the Male Diet

Trying to lose weight? Add a few cups of tea to your day, and it may help. Loose leaf tea has many health benefits, it is packed with nutrients and antioxidants. There are four different types, which consist of green, white, black, and oolong teas. They are each unique and contain their own creative flavors and aromas.

Only men?
And now, new studies show that drinking two cups of tea may help men to lose weight in their waistline. The study did not yield the same results in women. Weight loss in the abdominal area is important, as it reduces other health risks such as diabetes and heart disease. But the weight loss associated with tea can also help women, though not specifically in their waistlines.

Weight loss improves your overall health
Weight loss in general produces many health benefits. Getting down to a healthy weight is one of the easiest ways to reduce LDL cholesterol, which is the bad type of cholesterol. Maintaining a healthy weight can help tremendously with a multitude of health problems. It can reduce many health risks by preventing them from forming.

Heart disease, stroke, diabetes
Being at a healthy weight can prevent you from developing high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and it can help prevent you from developing cardiovascular diseases. Maintaining a healthy weight can also help prevent heart attack and stroke. A healthy diet with daily amounts of exercise can truly be an answer to a number of health risks, and green tea can help.

Self-image and self-confidence
People who are overweight or obese may face other types of problems. This condition can interfere with their self-esteem and self-confidence. It may impact their lives to the point where it is difficult to feel that they are living life to the fullest. Weight loss is an important step in fulfilling life goals and may help to alleviate social anxiety, and stress about self-image.

Options other than tea
But with all the products being marketed these days, who knows what really works? The truth is, crash diets don’t work. They may help you lose a lot of weight very fast, but it’s weight that’s easy to, and usually will be, put back on. Diet pills have inimical side effects and harmful chemicals. Drinking tea is a healthier, natural way to improve your health and to get down to a healthy weight.

Improve your metabolism
Loose leaf green tea can help to improve your metabolism, which will in turn help you to increase the amounts of calories you will burn off. It also has the ability to help you burn fat at a quicker rate and prevent fat from staying in your body.

Add tea to a healthy lifestyle
There is no miraculous panacea that will answer all your weight loss woes. There’s no magical spell that can vanish away pounds. But loose leaf tea has been scientifically studied to have a positive impact on weight loss. Of course, having a well balanced and healthy diet and getting daily exercise are vital to living a full, healthy life. But adding tea to your day can help you on your way.