What is Oolong tea?

Oolong tea and weightloss

What is Oolong tea?

Oolong tea is also known as wulong tea, black dragon or blue tea.

All tea comes from the camellia sinensis plant.  It is how the tea is processed that sets it apart.  Green and white teas are unfermented teas and have oxidisation levels below 8%.  Black tea is classed as fully fermented with oxisidation levels of above 85%.  Oolong tea is also known as semi fermented tea and refers to tea levels between 8-84%.  Oolong tea consequently has the widest range of qualities and flavour profiles.  To cater for this wide range in flavour profiles and levels of oxidisation oolong tea are broken into three different caterogories by the Taiwanese.  These are as follows:

  • Jade Oolong- 10-20%. Oxidisation these teas have flavour profile that are similar to those of green tea but with none of the vegetal flavours.  Many jade oolongs have a light slightly sweet flavour profile.  Chah’s Milk Oolong is a fine example of one such tea.
  • Amber Oolong- 30% oxidisation, these teas tend to have a heavier flavour profile and a more roasted flavour than Jade Oolongs.  Tie Guan Yin and  Four Seasons oolongs are fine examples of these teas.
  • Champagne Oolong- Typically around 60% oxidised, these teas have a richer flavour with none of the bitterness associated with black teas.  Champagne oolongs are also usually in open leaf form and not rolled up like many other oolong tea.  White tipped or oriental beauty is excellent example of this tea.

Oolong Tea and Weightloss

There are many facts and myths out there with regard to the oolong tea (wu-long), as it’s commonly called, by many of the companies trying to make their oolongs seems rarer or more special than your everyday tea.  Oolong tea has properties that can help you lose weight, but no more so than green or white tea.

Wuyi Tea is usually the tea that weight-loss companies claim to have the weigh shedding properties.  This is a dark or champagne oolong tea there is no reason why this tea should have any more benefit than tea grown elsewhere, in the same way that an orange from Spain is not any better for you than one from Portugual.  Many of these online companies claim that this tea is rare and unusual when the reality is that it really isn’t.  Wuyi Cliff Oolong isn’t all that rare; we tried several different kinds of it before deciding on the kind that we felt was best for you our customers.  Furthermore, the finest teas have long waiting list to get hold of them and given the Chinese passion and growing market for high quality tea it is highly unlikely that any tea of any real note would be combined with other ingredients and not just enjoyed on its own merits.  It’s a bit like waiting on an incredible, rare and expensive whisky and then mixing it with coke. There are whiskys that serve this purpose just fine but a purest would question the wisdom of using the finest and rarest single malt. 

WuYi tea’s weight losing properties should not, however, be dismissed out right; we’re just reluctant to say they are tea specific. It is still true that tea from the Wuyi region in China is typically champagne oolong, and oolong teas prepared in this way would typically have a higher amount of polyphenols than other oolong teas.

There are also many tea blends and herbal concoctions online that claim to offer miracle weightloss, we’d suggest you stay away from many of these as their weight loss properties are often due to the diuretic properties of their ingredients.  During the time we spent in China, we heard of cases where the side effects caused by even the main stream “weight loss teas” were detremental and in the most extreme cases of misuse, resulted in death.

Which Oolong is Best for Weight Loss?

Much of the weight-loss hype is centred around tea from the WuYi Mountains in FuJian.  In China, it has been believed for centuries that this tea has weight loss properties.  Oolongs from this region are typically champagne oolong (medium to high level of oxidisation) and therefore have a higher caffeine content than other oolongs, this caffeine level would explain at least in part the reason this oolong tea is cited as good for weight loss.