Last updated: August 7, 2021

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Welcome to our big Oolong tea test 2021. Here we present all the oolong teas we have tested. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the internet.

We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best oolong tea for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should be aware of if you want to buy Oolong tea.




Summary

  • Oolong tea has a very long tradition and each type of tea originally comes from the same plant. The technical name for the plant from which all oolong teas originate is: Camellia sinensis
  • Oolong tea basically has a round, full-bodied flavour that can range from spicy-smoky to floral-fruity. It is neither comparable with green tea nor with black tea
  • In addition to its aromatic diversity, oolong tea is highly valued in China and around the world for its beneficial and health-promoting effects. The herbal ingredients and antioxidants make it a popular drink for allergy sufferers (histamine intolerance), skin sufferers (neurodermatitis) as well as for dieters

The Best Oolong Tea: Our Choices

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying oolong tea

Where does oolong tea come from?

Oolong tea traditionally comes from China. The name "oolong" is pronounced "wulong" in Chinese and means"black dragon".

This name goes back to a legend according to which the owner of a tea plantation was chased away by a black dragon while drying his tea leaves. When he returned a few days later, the leaves had wilted from the sun and the new tea tasted excellent.

While the original saga of the discovery of oolong tea refers to only one plantation, this type of tea is now indigenous across Asia. (Image source: pexels.com / Min An)

The best growing areas are the Chinese province of Fujian, Taiwan and Guandong in Korea. But tea plantations that grow Oolong tea can also be found in Japan, India and Vietnam.

Did you know that oolong tea was discovered in China in the city of Fujian?

The city is located in the southeast of the country. The tea has been known since the Ming Dynasty, which ruled between the 14th and 17th centuries. The tea bushes grow in the mountains of Wuyi Shan.

How is Oolong tea obtained?

The tea is only picked from leaves that are already older. After picking, the leaves are dried in the sun until they wilt.

This is followed by storage in a room so that they rest. During the subsequent oxidation, the tea leaves are shaken and rubbed again and again so that the juice they still contain reacts with oxygen.

The tea leaves are placed in such baskets in the sun or in heat chambers to dry (Image source: pixabay.com / Free-Photos)

With oolong tea, however, this is not done for as long as with black tea, but longer than with green tea. That is why it is also called semi-fermented tea.

Did you know that many teas come from the same tea plant?

For example, the leaves for oolong tea are the same as for black, green and white tea. The differences in taste are caused by the time of harvest, the location of the growing area, the wilting and the oxydation of the leaves.

The oxidation is then stopped by heating. This is usually done with the help of an iron pan.

The oxidation can be controlled individually, which leads to different degrees of oxidation:

Degree of oxidation Flavour
to 12% Fruity-light to Sweet-bitter
25-30% Fruity-intense
to 50% Sweet to Smoky
50-70% In the cup it has a golden-green colour, delicate-round aroma

How is oolong tea stored correctly?

Oolong tea is generally quite sensitive when it comes to storage and it depends on the degree of oxidation which method is best.

Basically:

  • Store in a dry place away from light
  • No other smells in the vicinity, it is best to store the tea in a so-called aroma protection package
  • If the oolong has a low degree of oxidation: best stored in the refrigerator in protective packaging
  • If the degree of oxidation is high (close to black tea): relatively undemanding, but also dry and protected from light

How much does oolong tea cost?

The classic oolong varieties range between 13-20 euros per 100 grams. For more noble varieties, prices of over 30 euros are also possible.

Why is oolong tea so expensive?

Oolong tea is generally one of the more expensive teas. This is mainly because it is a leaf tea and the tea leaves are generally of high quality.

In addition, the amount of work required for a high-quality oolong tea is higher than for green or black tea.

The oxidation process has to be constantly monitored and, in general, oolong tea requires even more manual labour than other leaf teas.

Another point is the health-promoting factor. Oolong tea contains many substances that are good for the body. This fact makes the tea popular and thus increases both the demands on the producers and the price.

We have compiled a small overview of the prices you can expect:

Tea type price per 100gr
Oolong tea from China approx. 20 Euro
Oolong tea from Taiwan approx. 14 Euro
Oolong tea from Nepal approx. 15 Euro
Oolong tea from Indonesia approx. 12 Euro

Can oolong tea promote health?

Oolong tea for histamine intolerance

Histamine plays a role especially in allergy sufferers. Foods rich in histamine, such as sausage, seafood, cheese, alcohol, yeast baked goods, etc., can trigger allergic reactions accordingly.

Oolong tea is said to have a histamine-lowering effect. This is mainly because the proportion of catechin, a plant substance that has a high antioxidant potential and a strong histamine-lowering effect.

For people who cannot tolerate histamine, green tea and oolong tea are therefore very digestible. The main reason for this is epigallocatechin gallate, known in the trade as EGCG. This is a plant substance that is contained in the tea.

Oolong tea for high blood pressure

Unfortunately, there are no studies on this in Europe. But the universities of Beijing and Shanghai have shown that drinking oolong tea can lower high blood pressure and generally has an anti-inflammatory effect.

So drinking it is definitely to be recommended, but the effect will probably not be as strong as with medication. Studies by Chinese universities speak of a 5-8% reduction in blood pressure.

Oolong tea for neurodermatitis

Oolong tea also helps with the chronic skin disease neurodermatitis (dry, red, itchy skin). Besides health-promoting substances, the tea is also rich in the above-mentioned EGCG and other herbal contents.

It is these substances that help to improve the regeneration of the skin and alleviate atopic dermatitis. Unfortunately, a cure is not possible with the tea.

Oolong tea as a weight loss aid

In China, the semi-fermented oolong tea is considered particularly digestible because it does not contain as many tannins as other types of tea. It is also said to stimulate digestion and increase the body's energy consumption.

In fact, several studies conclude that drinking a cup of oolong tea before a meal helps to accelerate fat burning, inhibit the feeling of hunger and generally stimulate the metabolism.

Apparently, the tea's ingredients work together to signal the body to burn fat. For example, insulin levels did not increase so dramatically after eating pasta if oolong tea was drunk beforehand.

But: Those who now finally see their hopes for a slim body without any effort confirmed will be disappointed.

There is still no way around a balanced diet and exercise. However, oolong tea, as well as other types of tea, can be used to support weight loss.

What alternatives are there to oolong tea?

Depending on personal taste, the classics green tea or black tea can be used as an alternative, as oolong tea is somewhere in between in terms of taste.

Green tea has a somewhat weaker taste, while black tea is more intense, but usually also more bitter.

However, there is hardly any alternative for an authentic oolong tea. You could, however, try different countries of origin instead of relying on the classic from China.

There is also a huge variety within certain regions and countries, which is simply overwhelming.

However, if you are ready to switch to a different type of tea, there are also many variations. The following table gives you a comparison of different types of tea that can be drunk as an alternative to oolong tea:

Type of tea Green tea White tea Oolong tea Red tea Black tea
Taste Mild, aromatic Mild, flowery, aromatic Aromatic, spicy Spicy, earthy Intense, bitter
Effect Lowering blood pressure, lowering cholesterol Burning fat, lowering blood pressure Antibacterial, burning fat Burning fat Lowering blood pressure, stimulating focus due to caffeine content
Origin China, Japan China China India, Sri Lanka, Africa

Buying criteria: These are the factors you can use to compare and evaluate oolong teas

In the following, we would like to show you which factors you can use to compare and evaluate oolong teas. This will make it easier for you to decide whether a particular oolong tea is suitable for you or not.

In summary, these are:

  • Price
  • Flavour
  • Country of origin
  • Quality

Price

The price of oolong tea varies from variety to variety. However, up to 20 euros per 100 grams must be paid for the nobler leaves.

Very expensive teas are often sold by the ounce. An example is Da-Hong-Pao (see below). It is also common that these teas are sold in the form of rolled leaves and not in bags, which is why a tea strainer is often offered with the purchase.

Bagged teas are generally rather inferior, as they are made from breakage that falls off during the production of the higher quality teas.

Country of origin, quality and taste determine the price.

Taste

Oolong tea has an extraordinary aromatic variety. From flowery to smoky, to spicy and fruity, almost every aroma is available.

The different flavours depend mainly on the preparation method and fermentation time.

Even when infused several times, different flavours always unfold, which is why correct infusion is very important with oolong teas.

Country of origin

The original country of origin is China. However, the cultivation of oolong tea has spread to Thailand, Indonesia, Japan and Korea.

Each country has different growing conditions and therefore different tea varieties. The choice is huge and therefore difficult to describe in detail in this article.

Climatic conditions and different soil compositions occur in all growing regions and contribute in part to a characteristic aromatic diversity.

With oolong teas, it is impossible to assign flavour characteristics to a specific country. The variety is simply too great for that.

Quality

It is often not easy for laypeople to recognise the quality of a tea. There is, however, a labelling system that is particularly common for more expensive teas (especially leaf teas). This is known by the abbreviation TGFOP.

This stands for: Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe.

Teas of this designation are harvested by hand and consist mainly of leaf tips, which makes the tea of good quality.

In contrast, the letter code O.P stands for"Orange Pekoe". The orange does not stand for the fruit, but is the name for the royal house of Orange Nassau. It is the standard label for teas. Teas with this code have a strong floral-fruity aroma and are slightly bitter.

However, there are Oolong teas that have been flavoured with orange blossom. This is mainly done with high quality teas.

Facts worth knowing about oolong tea

The variety of oolong tea

Although the tradition of the original oolong tea comes from China, the cultivation areas extend across Thailand, Japan, Korea and also Vietnam. In short, wherever the tea bushes find suitable climatic conditions.

As a result, even within the growing regions and countries of origin, different oolong varieties are cultivated, produced differently and therefore also cover the entire aromatic diversity.

It is not possible to assign oolong varieties from different countries to a specific characteristic across the board.

If one were to try to reduce oolong tea from the countries of origin to certain flavours, then one would be doing an injustice to the diversity of this tea variety - in this case, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

The legendary Oolong tea

The most expensive variety of oolong tea comes from China and is made from mother plants, of which only 6 still exist and each of which is over 350 years old. The so-called "Da-Hong-Pao" (German: große, rote Robe) can fetch up to 990,000 euros per kilogram.

It is said to have a fruity-sweet and at the same time smooth taste. It is traditionally reserved for especially honoured guests in China.

As with many things in China, there are legends

surrounding this type of tea.
One of them says that the mother of an emperor was cured of an illness by a certain tea. In gratitude, the emperor put red robes around the bushes from which the tea came.

The most expensive oolong tea in the world may not look too special at first glance, but it brings with it a unique taste and a centuries-old legend. (Image source: pixabay.com / sadjack)

Another legend is a little different. In this one, a young man who wanted to take part in a civil service examination is cured of an illness by the tea in a monastery. As a result, he achieved a good result in the exam.

He later returned to the monastery as a civil servant and put on the plants a red robe that he had been given by the emperor.

Teatime with a difference - Oolong tea with milk

This is best known as"Milky Oolong Tea" and was invented in China. It is made in the normal way. But before the leaves are rolled, they are heated over the steam of boiling milk. This gives the tea a milky, creamy flavour. Resourceful minds, the Chinese.

You can also add a few drops of milk to your tea without a guilty conscience. Many people really appreciate the slightly creamy taste.

The correct way to brew oolong tea

  1. You should use one heaped teaspoon of tea per cup (approx. 0.2 litres) of water. Use a tea strainer, because then the flavour can develop better. You should keep the quantity fairly accurate, otherwise the tea will be either too weak or too bitter.
  2. Boil water until it bubbles and then let it cool down to the right temperature. This is usually stated on the packaging. We recommend using a thermostat. The optimal temperature is usually between 80 and 100° C.
  3. Now it is time to let the tea steep. This is a crucial step for the optimal development of the flavour. 2-3 minutes is a guide time.

A few tips:

  • Do not use cloth or paper strainers, as aromatic substances will stick to them
  • Filtered tap water is better, as lime changes the taste
  • Try to brew the tea several times and always extend the brewing time a little.

In China, there are three crucial infusions in the traditional tea ceremony: The first is called "tea of good smell", the second "tea of good taste" and the third is known as "tea of long friendship".

Image source: pixabay.com / jsbaw7160

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