Food & Wine

Oolong tea - Health & Beauty tea

Updated: 10 Feb 2009
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    Oolong tea has special functions of cancer prevention,

blood lipid reduction and anti aging etc.


Oolong tea, also known as green tea or semi-fermented tea, is a unique Chinese tea variety with distinctive characteristics. It is said that the inventor the tea was named "Oolong", hence the name of the tea.


Oolong tea was evolved from the Dragon Group tea and Phoenix Cake tea dedicated to the royal family in the Song Dynasty around 1725 AD. According to historical research, tea houses of Oolong tea had been established in Fuzhou as early as 1862. Taiwan began to export Oolong tea in 1866.


The luxurious varieties of Oolong tea include Wuyi Rock Tea, Taiwan Oolong and Tieguanyin tea, etc.


Tieguanyin produced in Fujian tastes rich in flavor and smells aromatic and fragrant.


The Taiwan oolong tea tastes pure and natural with a fragrance of fruit. The tea leaves are red at edge and green in the center after brewed. The Oolong tea produced in Nantou, Taiwan is the supreme one.


According to modern studies conducted in China and other countries, Oolong tea has special functions of cancer prevention, blood lipid reduction and anti aging etc, in addition to the usual tea functions such as mind refreshing, fatigue elimination, body fluid regenerating, urination boosting, heat removing, virus killing, inflammation reducing, detoxicating, disease preventing, digestion promoting and weight reducing, and so on and so forth. Oolong tea is called "beauty tea" and "health tea" in Japan.


Tieguanyin tea


Tieguanyin tea is a local produce of Anxi in southern Fujian. Tieguanyin refers not only to the tea, but also to the tea shrub variety. The tea leaves are in tightly curled like scale hooks or dragonfly heads. After brewing, the tea smells extremely fragrant. Tasting the tea when it is hot, you will find aromas in your mouth. It is worthy of the reputation of "remain fragrant after seven rounds of brewing".


 Tikuanyin is especially popular among Xiamen locals


Tikuanyin” is a famous species of tea trees, with the leaves being common raw material for Oolong. As a place of origin of Tikuanyin, Anxi region in China is also the main production region of Tikuanyin. The leaves are low-yield owning to delicate nature of this species, yet are of extremely excellent quality.


Anxi Tikuanyin is a kind of semifermented tea, the fabrication of which is featured by both fermentation of black tea and non-fermentation of green tea. The processing technique is highly exquisite, comprising over ten working procedures. The finished tea is featured by sturdiness and heaviness, with red spots scattering on the green leaves and hoarfrosts attaching to the surface. It is, after being brewed in hot water, characterized by intense fragrance, golden liquor, sweet aftertaste, and faint scent of orchid, peanut kernel or coconut. Tikuanyin is brewing-tolerant and can retain faint aroma after being brewed for seven times.


Being a natural and tasty drink, Tikuanyin is endowed with comparatively high healthcare value. Other than having healthcare functions similar to those of general species of tea, it provides efficacies of antiaging, anticancer, anti-arteriosclerosis, diabetes prevention and cure, weight loss, body building, decayed tooth prevention and cure, clearing heat, purging evil fire, reliefing smoking-induced detriment and removing or dispelling the effects of alcohol, etc.


Not for drinking with an empty stomach. As a breed of semi-fermented tea, it tends to be "cold" in nature because of its short period of fermentation. It is outstanding in removing fat and accelerating digestion with a strong aroma. However, it's not suggested to drink it with an empty stomach, or else you may get "drunken" in it.


Wuyi rock-essence tea


Wuyi rock-essence tea, a famous kind of oolong in China, grows in the Wuyi Mountain of Fujian Province. The tea gets its name for that the tea plants grow on the rocks of the Wuyi Mountain. Since the Tang Dynasty, tea leaves of Wuyi Mountain became a precious kind of tea offered to the upper class; and an imperial tea garden was set in the Wuyi Mountain to specially gather and produce tea for the imperial family. Since the Ming Dynasty, people began to develop oolong, to which Wuyi rock-essence tea belongs.


                                As these tea leaves are brewed in the water, they smell sweet

                                 and mellow for a long time and taste without bitter or acerbity.


There are many kinds of Wuyi rock-essence tea, with famous teas of several dozens. Among these kinds, the “famous plants (Mingcong)” called “the king of rock-essence tea” is the most famous and rarest. The “four most famous plants” refer to bright red gown (Da-hong-pao), ferric arhat (Tie-luo-han), white cock (Bei-gong-ji) and watery goldfish (Shui-jin-yu). The bright red gown tea, the best kind among oolong and which grows on the crag of the Tianxin Rock, is clear and smells sweet after being brewed in boiled water. Besides the mellow, faint scent, the ferric arhat tea, the earliest tea in the Wuyi Mountain, has the function of fever cure. There is some other famous tea like Wuyi cinnamon.


Tea leaves from the heartland of Wuyi Mountain, called “Zhengyan Tea”, are the most excellent among all kinds of Wuyi rock-essence tea. As these tea leaves are brewed in the water, they smell sweet and mellow for a long time and taste without bitter or acerbity. This unique sweet smell is called “Yanyun (Lasting Appeal of Rock)”.


Brewing Oolong Tea - Using Kungfu Tea ware


Oolong tea is usually prepared with kungfu tea ware originating in the Fujian area, where people daily practice the traditional art of "kungfu tea." A set of kungfu tea ware includes several articles each with a classical name: "Yushu wei" is a pottery kettle; "Mengchen guan" is a purple clay pot believed to have been invented by Hui Mengchen, a famous purple clay craftsman, hence the name; "Ruochen oif indicates a set of four white porcelain teacups; and "Chaoshan lu" refers to a small stove.


  Xiamen is said to be one of the origins of Kungfu Tea, such tea ware is

very common in Xiamen families and even companies.


The brewing process starts with the rinsing of the tea-cups with hot water. They are then placed on a tray. A generous amount of leaves is put into the teapot until they fill more than half of the pot. Boiling water is then poured over the leaves from a kettle that is raised high above the teapot, until the water overflows the mouth of the teapot.


The foam floating on the liquid is scraped away by the lid of the teapot before the lid is replaced. After that, hot water is sprinkled onto the lid so as to help the brewing, which is finished in a short while, and the tea is ready to be served. The host then fills the teacups in a fashion that manages to let the tea in each cup be of the same strength, and com-pletely empties the teapot.


In Hong Kong and Taiwan, kungfu tea ware even includes a "scent-smelling cup," with which a tea taster will first smell the scent of the tea before going on to take the first sip. At that point, a delicate fragrance will permeate both the nose and mouth, and saliva will naturally arise. Indeed, kungfu tea is a sensuous plea¬sure that should be relished very carefully.


SOURCE: Cultural China

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