Oolong Versus Green Tea: Which Should You Drink?
The aroma of freshly brewed tea in the morning is a welcoming greeting. Tea is also the perfect antidote for a stressful day. Green tea and oolong tea are two of the most loved teas worldwide. Both are genuine or pure teas and are promoters of good health.
The taste of green tea and oolong tea is unique. The former has an earthy flavor profile, while the latter has a nutty to fruity aroma. Whether you’re a keen tea drinker or a beginner, you’re probably wondering which tea is better for you.
Here’s a brief discussion about the differences between green and oolong tea that will shed more light on this topic.
What is Oolong Tea?
Oolong tea is a pure tea sourced from the leaves of Camellia sinensis or tea plant. It is cultivated in China’s Fujian province and Taiwan. After harvesting the tea leaves, they’re dried in the sun and oxidized. Then they’re curled and twisted into their characteristic shape of small beads, curly spindles, or long twists.
Oolong tea leaves are oxidized from 8% to 85%. This significantly alters the flavor profile which can range from fruity sweet to earthy and woodsy. This true tea has naturally occurring caffeine. The levels of caffeine in oolong will depend on how the tea leaves are grown and processed. Generally, a cup of oolong has more caffeine than a cup of green tea.
Brewing oolong tea is a special tradition in Chinese tea culture. It is often brewed using ancient methods such as gaiwans and clay yixing pots.
What is Green Tea?
Green tea originates from the same tea plant as oolong, Camellia sinensis. Green tea is also native to China. Even though China produces most of the world’s green tea, it’s widely cultivated in India and other parts of Asia. Learn more about the pros and cons here.
The leaves for green tea are either grown under a shade or direct sunlight. They are harvested three times in a year. There are different forms of green tea and these vary across the countries that grow them. In Japan, sencha, matcha, and genmaicha are very popular. In China, Gunpowder and Chun Mee green teas are prevalent. The caffeine concentration of green tea is similar to oolong, however matcha green tea has the highest caffeine level amongst all the teas.
How do both teas differ?
Interestingly, green and oolong teas are sourced from the same plant. There is an obvious color difference between both teas. Oolong is light brown whereas green tea is green. The flavors of both teas varies according to the manufacturing methods used. Their differences are also due to how they’re processed.
After green tea is harvested, it is immediately dried using various artisanal methods such as charcoal-firing, steaming, oven drying, and sun-drying.
While green tea is not fermented, oolong tea undergoes some fermentation. Oolong tea leaves are oxidized or dried over a few weeks. During the drying process, the leaves get exposed to oxygen, resulting in a dark brown color.
Oolong tea has a woodsy, nutty, or fruity taste. It has the most diverse flavor profile compared to other pure teas like green, white, black, and pu’erh. The taste is intense and smooth and much enjoyed by all types of tea drinkers.
Green tea has a slight grassy taste with undertones of bitterness. It’s a favourite among strong tea drinkers. Green tea is an acquired taste for beginners.
Which tea is better for you?
Both teas offer a number of health benefits. In fact, they have a similar health profile. All true teas have the potential to lower your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. In terms of which tea offers the most health promoting benefits, the answer lies in their chemical composition.
Both teas contain catechins and polyphenols that are extremely beneficial for your well-being. Green tea has the highest concentration of both compounds compared to oolong tea. This means green tea has far more antioxidant properties which help to increase mental focus, prevents certain neurological disorders, inhibits tooth decay, and decrease your risk of heart disease. Antioxidants remove free radicals- leading to lower blood glucose levels. Both oolong and green tea accelerate weight loss. They increase your metabolism, which helps to burn fat. Oolong tea boosts bone health as well.
The bottom line is both green and oolong teas provide similar health benefits, but in varying degrees. Drinking green tea and oolong tea helps to promote better health.