Milk Oolong, where to begin? Do we tell you the legends of how it came into existence? Do we tell you how it is actually produced? Do we wax poetic about its luscious flavor? Well, maybe we should do all 3. We’ll start with a legend:
The stories of this tea naturally center on its wonderful milky flavor, which interestingly, is the result of a sudden shift in temperature during harvest - a rare occurrence to say the least. One of the many legends explains that the first time this shift occurred was centuries ago when the moon fell in love with a comet passing through the night sky. The comet, as all comets are wont to do, passed by, burned out and vanished. The moon, in her sorrow caused a great wind to blow through the hills and valleys bringing about a quick drop in temperature.
The next morning, local tea pluckers went out to collect their fresh leaf. To their surprise, when the tea was processed it had developed an amazing milky character, which was attributed to the motherly character of the old moon. (Hey, it’s possible!)
Next, a little on how it is produced. Milk Oolong, like all Oolongs, is considered a semi-fermented tea meaning it is somewhere between a black and green tea. Over the years, production methods have remained unchanged for the most part although some aspects like withering temperatures have been automated and regulated. First, the leaf is plucked from gardens situated between 500 – 1200 meters, and is produced between March and December. Next, the plucked leaf is withered in air-conditioned rooms until it is has reached the desired level of fermentation. The tea is rocked, or sifted to sort the prime leaf required, and steamed over hot fire. Finally the tea is dried then re-sorted to ensure leaf quality and packed. The tea is produced in relatively small quantities from March to December; in fact, only 80,000 kg are produced with about 60,000 kg headed for the export market
Finally, we come to the part where we wax poetic about its outstanding flavor. So how to describe a steaming cup of Milk Oolong Ok, imagine if velvet somehow took liquid form and was blended with a sweet light cream. While drinking it, you find yourself swimming to the bottom of a deep well of orchids. It sounds dream-like doesn’t it? Well brew a pot and experience its milky dreaminess for yourself – an amazingly profound tea.
Ingredients: Oolong Tea
Oolong tea, like all tea, contains powerful catechin antioxidants which can help boost the immune system. Because green tea is the least processed, it does hold a slight edge over Oolong in terms of the overall catechin content. Catechin content decreases as tea is oxidized. But it is over looked that the levels of theaflavins and thearubigins increase. These two substances are found in higher concentrations in oolong and black tea than green. They have anti-allergy, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Some studies suggest they are as effective as the catechins in green and white tea. Both teas have similar effects and will provide equal health benefits overall.
Now while weight loss seems to be a more popular issue with some teas these days, it is important to maintain a healthy diet and exercise along with the consumption of tea. Tea by itself will not make you lose any noticeable weight. Be wary of those who are promising that a tea will dramatically make you lose weight. And always consult your doctor first before starting any "tea diet".
Beware of merchants or products claiming you will lose weight with certain oolong tea blends. (sometimes called wu-long) Not to say that you won't, but please be wary of some that make claims, when they are just over-priced teas with a fancy name. They will not do anything miraculous, and keep in mind that all oolong varieties will help you achieve the same results for much less. All Oolongs come from the same species of plant!
Hot tea brewing method: Heat water to 200°F. Place 1 heaping teaspoon per 6 ounce cup and let the tea steep for 2-3 minutes. Once the water level is low - add more water, and so on - until the tea flavor is exhausted.
Iced tea brewing method: Heat water to 200°F. Place 1 heaping teaspoon per 6 ounce cup and let the tea steep for 3 minutes. Remove tea leaves and add ice.