For connoisseurs of teas, oolong teas on their appreciation journey, oolong teas pop up on their radar. Oolong differentiates itself among the world of teas by the complex processing it involves to produce tastes not only complex but sustainable after several steepings. Because the process is so complex, the simplest way to make it understandable usually ends up in three words: a semi-oxidized teas. Oolong teas were recently exploited for their weight-loss properties and oolongs feature an old and deep history. It was cultivated and cherished by Chinese emperors thousands of years ago. Today health-conscious individuals are coming around and beginning to cherish in the same way for its health benefits. The origin of oolong teas is the plant called the Camelia sinensis. It is the Chinese tea plant which produces black teas, green teas as well as oolong teas. Many people don't realize that these three teas actually come from the same plant. They only differ in the way they are harvested, treated and aged.
Black teas are allowed to oxidize for a period of time after being picked. This oxidization process increases the robustness of the flavor but creates a flavor which seems a little distant from its origin plant. Green teas are usually steamed or treated right after being picked so there is very little oxidization and the tea retains the plant's color and flavor.
Oolong teas are sort of in-between green and black teas. The Camelia sinensis leaves are picked, sun-wilted, and then lightly bruised in a deliberate fashion. When the leaves are bruised, leaf surface opens to the air's oxygen. This causes the internal parts of the leaf oxidize much like a cut fruit will oxidize (like the way an apple's insides slowly turn brown when exposed to oxygen).
But the oxidization process is halted much more quickly than with black teas, retaining more of the floral flavor of the original plant. Subsequently, the leaves are fully dried. Oolong teas can range from dark green to light green. Thus, oolong teas' flavor can vary much more than green teas or black teas.
Oolong teas are full of antioxidants. This is one of the main reasons people believe Oolongs help preserve good health. Antioxidants help your body fight free radicals. Free radicals are by-products of our body's digestive system which contain oxygen. These free radicals can do damage to our DNA and cells. Eating a diet high in antioxidants is key to maintaining good health and avoiding the pitfalls of the aging process.
You will see the terms wulong teas and oolong teas used interchangeably. Wulong is the original Chinese, but in recent years it has been adapted as the name used for oolong teas when used for weight loss.