Oolong is amongst my favorite types of loose leaf tea. Not as well known as its’ green and white counterparts, Oolong is a delicate tea with lots of health and beauty benefits, including the ability to curb cravings for sweets and carbs. In this way, Oolong is superior to Green Tea, which does boost the metabolism but does not suppress the appetite. Oolong is a rarer tea and can be expensive.
A quality Oolong we recently tried is Zone – 365 Oolong Tea. It is a Da Yu Ling Oolong, which are leaves from the highly prized Taiwan mountains. The high altitude creates a climate that grows leaves slower but with optimal flavor. Da Yu Ling leaves are often very expensive.
The first thing you notice about Zone – 365 Oolong Tea is the leaves are rolled into tight tiny orbs that unfurl during the brewing process. The curled leaf formation makes for the least oxidized of all the teas, resulting in a very pale, delicate, sparkling gold-tone brew. Once brewed, the leaves unfurl into full, unblemished leaves. I like how fresh and pure the leaves look, it assures me that this tea is optimal quality.
Zone – 365 Oolong tastes like the champagne or wine version of a cross between a green and white tea. Oolong tea is semi-fermented, which causes the smooth, silky, slightly wine-like texture and taste. There is not the vegetal taste associated with many greens, and it is much lighter tasting and texture than a matcha. Zone – 365 Oolong Tea does not have any artificial flavors to enhance it, as a quality Oolong stands on its’ own. Some may wish to add a bit of sweetener to taste; I liked it with or without just a bit of cane sugar, as lemon or milk would overpower the taste.
The leaves have a lovely scent in the packaging, and the tea does as well once brewed.
The 365 Oolong tea comes in loose leaf form, two attractive metallic silver bags. The bags are vacuum sealed and held in a colorful white canister with a blue floral pattern and blue metal cap. There is an inner lid to help retain the freshness of the tea. It makes for a suitable presentation as a gift for a tea lover.
HOW TO BREW OOLONG
Zone – 365 recommends a specific way to get the best brew from Oolong. Kung Fu Brewing or the Gong Fu style of brewing is a common process in Taiwan for making tea. It is a detailed process that gets the best out of the Oolong tea leaves. The full process is seen on the 365 blog, and it makes for a lovely tea ceremony that brings out all the flavors of the Oolong.
The gist of it is shown in the video, which is a modified version of the “Gong Fu style” Way when making Oolong tea for one person.
- For the best quality tea, use the freshest, cleanest water you can find, such as filtered water or well water. Oolong is too delicate to conceal a bad-tasting water. Heat the water to an at-below boiling point.
- Using a clay or glass pot (clay is preferable to enhance the flavor over multiple brewings but glass works as well) add about 2-3 grams of Oolong pearls to the pot.
- Fill the pot less than halfway full. Swish the water around for about 30 seconds; this removes the outer surface layer of the Oolong, and any tea dust from settling in the bag. It is like how many people don’t eat the first pancake in a batch because they are just “priming” the griddle. Nothing is wrong with this tea; it is just not the very best brew.
- Pour this water out into a discard container. In the video, I poured into the pottery ware cup. In the traditional method, this water is used during the rest of the tea ceremony and initially, is poured into the drinking cups to warm them. I skip this step and just discard the priming brew water.
- Now pour the remaining water into the teapot. Within a minute or two, the Oolong unfurls into the beautiful leaves. I loved how fresh, unblemished and beautiful the unfurled leaves looked.
- Brew for about 2-5 minutes, or a few more minutes to taste the deeper Oolong flavor. The traditional method groups many serving cups together and in a swirling pattern, pour the tea over all of them to get an even distribution of the flavor. It reminds me of being at a party, and many champagne glasses are being filled at once. A tea towel is used to clean up the cups before they are served. I don’t pour it the traditional way but do give the teapot a few swishing motions around to give the infusion a good stir before pouring.
- You can immediately start the next brewing infusion off the same Oolong, and get a good four infusions from the same leaves, and maybe up to seven or eight infusions depending on the size and medium of your teapot. Clay works best for multiple Oolong brewings.
Zone-365 teas support The Ethical Tea Partnership, ETP. This non-profit group works for improving and sustaining the tea industry by the raising of standards for tea production, supporting tea workers and smallholder tea farmers, and working for climate and environmental causes.
CONCLUSION: This is a lovely and very fresh Oolong Tea, I am so happy to have tried it! Even my non-tea drinking friends enjoyed this Oolong. I like a tea that curbs my cravings for sweets, and the aroma and brew color is just beautiful. I was particularly impressed with the unfurled leaves after brewing: fresh, unblemished, full leaves, the mark of a quality tea!
Being able to infuse multiple brewings from the same Oolong leaves works out to be very economical. I am very pleased to find a high-quality Da Yu Ling leaf Oolong!
Find this tasty tea at Amazon.
I received this product for testing and review purposes. If you have any questions about my experience with it, leave it in the comments section below, and I’ll do my best to answer it!