What is Wu long Tea?The Wu long (also referred to as oolong) family of teas is characterized by a partial oxidation process that is controllable by varying degrees of heat. Wu long tea has the benefits and taste of both Green Tea and the fully oxidized Black Tea.Although a number of countries now produce Wu long tea, China is the largest and best known producer.Since one of the characteristics of Wu long tea is partial oxidation, Wu long teas offer a wide variety of flavors depending on the degree of oxidation. Oxidation is the key element in the definition of tea since all teas come from the Camellia Sinensis plant.Wu Long Tea is a semi-oxidized tea, occupying the middle ground between Green and Black teas. Combining the best qualities of Green tea and Black tea, Wu Long Tea is not only as clear and fragrant as Green Tea, but also as fresh and strong as Black Tea. If you drink Wu Long Tea, the natural aroma may linger in your mouth and make your throat comfortable.Wu Long Tea is helpful in anti aging, bringing high blood pressure down, improving the immune system, and controlling cholesterol. Wu Long Tea can help you digest food, refresh yourself and return to sobriety. It is also helpful in prolonging your lifespan.Chinese Wu long Teas also differ somewhat from other teas as regards the Chinese manufacturing process. Whole leaf Wu longs are often partially manufactured in private homes before final finishing and blending in larger factories. Although consolidation of the industry has resulted in concentration of the business in larger firms a cottage industry still exists in the Chinese production of Wu long Tea.In China, high quality Wu long Tea came from three traditional tea producing areas: Northern Guangdong (The Phoenix line), Southern Fujian (the Teguanyian line) and Western Fujian (the Wuyi line). Taiwan and India are also producers of fine Wu long tea.Fine Wu long teas are very popular with tea drinkers and connoisseurs all over the world for their broad spectrum of taste offerings and for their ease of infusion. In the tea producer areas of China and in Hong Kong and Taiwan (all places where tea drinkers take the tea ceremony seriously) Wu long sets the standard for a quality tea experience,Benefits of Drinking Wu Long teao Benefit of Good tasteThe bottom line for any tea drinker is the taste of the tea and the feeling of wellness and serenity drinking the tea provides. Wu long Tea is provides a smooth subtle taste that encourages the serene feeling of wellness that quality tea provides.Wu long Tea has an additional advantage in that it has a broad spectrum of oxidation and this provides a variety of tastes that the tea drinker can enjoy. Some Wu longs fare lighter in flavor based upon only slight oxidation and some are more robust depending upon greater amounts of oxidation.When you combine the quality of Wu long Tea with taste variety the benefit is a tea that appeals to a large number of tea drinkers.o Benefit of a Sense of Well BeingTea provides one benefit to drinkers that no other beverage can produce.That feeling is a sense of well being and serenity that is naturally produced. Compared to coffee or soft drinks that contain significant levels of caffeine, sugars and other chemical substances, tea creates a drink that calms and soothes the drinker. Tea is ideal to start and end a busy day.It is an interesting fact that most of the best spas in the country rely on tea as the chosen beverage.o Benefit of Weight LossDue to a combination of light caffeine , anti-oxidants and polyphenols, Wu long Tea Increases energy expenditure by 10% and it accelerates metabolism required to loose weight. Wu long Tea also regulates blood sugar levels for diabetics. The tea burns 2.5 times more calories than Green Tea and is ideal for weight loss.Drinking Wu long Tea reduces plaque in the arteries, lowers cholesterol and produces slimming effects. It also stimulates fat reduction because the polyphenols in Wu-Long tea is effective in controlling body fat. It activates the enzyme that is responsible for dissolving triglyceride.Wu long tea eliminates the fattening effects of carbohydrates: Eating too many carbohydrates causes weight gain by increasing insulin levels. Wu long Tea can suppress lipid metabolism which has the effect of suppressing fatty accumulation and body weight increases.o Benefit of Improved HealthHealth-promoting compounds such as polyphenols and catechins are present in all types of tea, but hand picked Wu long Tea is the best source. This means that the tea drinker can maintain a healthy lifestyle with every cup.Free radicals are damaging substances in your body. Wu Long Tea contains high amounts of anti-oxidants that reduce effect of free radicals and. helps reverse signs of aging.Wu long Tea also helps strengthen your Immune system. Wu-Long Tea drinkers were found to have a stronger immune system and a significantly lower risk for infections such as the common cold.o Benefit of QualityHigh quality Wu long Teas generally contain only the highest quality pluckings from such tea growing areas like the high mountain grown tea leaves grown in the famous Wuyi mountain range in China. The benefits to the tea drinker are good health and the feeling of well being only quality tea affords.Loose leaf Wu long Tea is processed by the “orthodox” method – no fannings, dust, broken leaves or twigs often found in bagged tea are ever included in loose leaf Wu long Teas.Some quality tea suppliers cup every imported shipment. Tea drinkers benefit from these suppliers because they are guaranteed consistency.o Benefit of ValueValue is created by high quality at a good price. Understanding the cost per cup of loose leaf tea is important because loose leaf tea competes favorably in price with bagged tea.When compared to tea bags the value of loose leaf tea is readily apparent. Bags use broken tea leaves, fannings and dust because they infuse quicker but sacrifice quality. In terms of cost, a significant portion of the tea bag product is involved in bagging the tea and providing packaging for the bagged product.With loose leaf tea one gets the high quality of plucked leaves without the costs associated with bagging.
Some facts are fundamentally universal: when it is cold and damp outside, the human body craves something warm. Now, whether that warmness be in the form of steaming soup, hot tea or fresh-brewed coffee is up to the chilly consumer. But while the United States has become a seemingly Starbucks-infested coffee culture, a growing number of Americans are choosing tea for more reasons than simply warmth.In 2005, the tea industry had its fourteenth consecutive year of sales increases, while retail supermarket sales alone surpassed $1.9 billion. This number is expected to continue to grow over the next five years. No longer just for the British, tea is fighting back as the beverage that is hard to ignore. In fact, 1.42 million pounds of tea is consumed every day in the U.S. and 519 million pounds are imported into the country each year.But similar to choosing the perfect coffee bean or a complimentary bottle of wine, picking out the tea for your taste can be a dizzying task. Amazingly, all tea comes from the same plant called the Camellia sinensis, which is an evergreen native to China. It can grow up to 90 feet tall and in the past, some cultures taught monkeys to pick the tea leaves that they couldn’t reach. However, modern times and technology have allowed farmers to grow the trees to just three feet for easier cultivation. The plant’s leaves range from smooth and shiny to fuzzy and white-haired – each making up a specific type of tea. In total, the plant yields up to 3,000 varieties of tea, which can easily be broken up into three main categories: green, black, and oolong teas. Flavored and herbal teas also deserve to be mentioned, though they are not officially “tea.”Green TeaWhat it is: Making up about 10 percent of the world’s tea consumption, green tea has gotten a lot of recent media coverage for its health benefits.Where it grows: Far East: China and JapanWhat is tastes like: Green tea is greenish-yellow in color with a delicate taste that is slightly astringent and grassy.What you should know: It is high in antioxidants and may protect against certain types of cancer (lung, ovarian, breast, prostate and stomach) as well as the precancerous condition of stomach cancer, gastritis.White teaWhat it is: The rarest of all teas, the leaves are the same as green tea leaves, but they are plucked from the plant when they are still very young, giving them their extremely light color.Where it grows: a Fujian province on China’s east coastWhat is tastes like: As one would expect, the tea is nearly colorless and is delicate in flavor with a slighty sweet and nutty quality.What you should know: You may recognize white tea from recent Snapple commercials launching their new line of “Good For You” white and green tea bottled drinks.Black teaWhat it is: This is the most common type of tea, which accounts for about 87 percent of America’s tea consumption.Where it grows: Africa, India, Sri Lanka and IndonesiaWhat is tastes like: Black tea can come in a range of flavors, but is usually found to have a heartier taste than green or oolong teas.What you should know: The main difference between black tea and green tea is the oxidation process. Black tea leaves are fully oxidized whereas green tea leaves are lightly steamed before they are dried. This process contributes to the tea’s taste as well as caffeine content. Like green tea, black tea has also been shown to have health benefits. Research has suggested that the antioxidants found in black tea may play a preventive role in conditions like heart disease, stroke and some cancers.Pu-erh teaWhat it is: Also speller Puer, this tea technically falls in the black tea family, but is fermented twice (instead of once), which elevates it to its own category. The double oxidation process followed by a period of maturation allows the leaves to develop a thin layer of mold.Where it grows: Southwest China, Burma, Vietnam and LaosWhat is tastes like: Due to the layer of mold, pu-erh tea takes on a soil-like flavor with a strong, earthy quality.What you should know: Although the tea is distinctly dirt-tasting, pu-erh is often used for medicinal purposes as a digestive aid.Oolong teaWhat it is: Considered to be among the finest (and most expensive) teas in the world, oolong
Tea is semi-fermented, which means that it goes through a short oxidation period that turns the leaves from green to a red-brown color.Where it grows: TaiwanWhat it tastes like: Pale yellow in color, the tea has a floral, fruity flavor reminiscent of peaches with a hint of smoke.What you should know: Tea connoisseurs consider the oolong flavor to be the most delicate and frown on drinking it with milk, sugar or lemon as to preserve the natural taste.Flavored tea, Blends, Herbal Infusions and Tisanes
Because tea naturally absorbs other flavors quite easily, cultures have been adding herbs, spices, oils and flowers to their tea for centuries. In China, adding flowers such as jasmine, orchard, rose and magnolia to teas is quite popular. In many Arabic nations, they add fresh mint leaves and heaping spoonfuls of sugar to their tea. And in India, they make spicy masala tea by adding spices like cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and peppers.If black and green teas are considered “purebreds,” then blended teas are considered “mutts.” Tea producers use different strains of tea to create flavors like English Breakfast and Earl Grey.Unlike flavored tea and other blends, herbal infusions and tisanes are not technically tea as they are not made with leaves from the Camellia sinensis plant. Instead, tisane (tee-ZAHN) is an herbal tea made from herbs, spices and flowers and added to boiling water. Herbal drinks are typically recognized for their caffeine-free quality and also for soothing and rejuvenating effects. Commonly found herbal teas include chamomile, peppermint, fennel, rose hip and lemon verbena.Caffeine Conundrum
People find all sorts of reasons not to drink tea, but two of the most common center around the avoidance or obsession with caffeine. Consider these facts about tea and caffeine from the UK tea council:- 4 cups of tea per day offer good health benefits without the contraindications of other caffeinated drinks.- Four cups of tea contain only moderate amounts of caffeine, which has been shown to increase concentration, thereby improving performance.- When drinking a normal cup of tea, you consume significantly less caffeine than a cup of instant coffee or one you would buy at a coffee shop.- Tea contains at least half the level of caffeine than coffee.Tea Traditions
Though not nearly as common in America as in other parts of the world like Ireland and Britain, the custom of tea still penetrates many households in this country. Afternoon tea is said to have originated in the early 1800s by Anna Russell, Duchess of Bedford who wanted some sort of mid-afternoon snack to ward off hunger pains until dinner. The tradition continues today, and while every British family does not sit down for a formal tea each day, many of the most elegant hotels in London (and in America) still serve a lavish spread for tea each afternoon. International chains like the Ritz-Carlton and the Four Seasons often offer a tea time treat, but check with your local hotels for times and pricing.Plan Your Own
Nothing is more elegant and lady-like than a tea party. A creative idea for a shower, birthday party or just a girl’s luncheon, here’s everything you’ll need make tea fit for the queen.- Tea: buy your favorite black or herbal tea at the store or make your own:Spicy Green TeaRelaxing Tea BlendChamomile Herb TeaLemongrass and Mint TeaSpicy Ginger Tea- Tea Accessories: milk (provide 2 percent and skim), sugar (may be cubed or loose, brown or white), lemon- SandwichesCucumber Tea SandwichesShrimp Butter Tea SandwichesFinger SandwichesMini Ham and Cheese Rolls- SconesWhite Chocolate and Dried Cherry SconesApricot SconesOrange Poppy Seed SconesOrange Pecan SconesStrawberry SconesMaple Scones- Breads and CakesMini Lemon Tea BreadButtermilk Scones with RaisinsThyme-Rosemary Tea BreadChocolate Tea BreadLemon Verbena Tea BreadLemon Blueberry Tea MuffinsMrs. Perry’s Crockpot Pumpkin Tea BreadCherry Almond Tea RingReferences:
United Kingdom Tea Council – An expansive database of information on tea. Everything from health benefits to types of tea – even a printable form to help you remember how your colleagues take their tea.Tea Association of the USA, Inc. – Facts and figures about tea in the US.
StarChefs – An easy reference guide for all things tea-related.Copyright © 2006 Ampere Media LLC