Oolong Milk Tea is a very popular drink originating in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong. Now, it is also popular all over the world brought by the bubble tea wave. And oolong milk tea goes well with honey, thus honey oolong milk tea is very popular.
- What is Oolong Tea?
- History of Oolong Tea
- Types of Oolong Tea From Taiwan
- Types of Oolong Tea From China
- How To Best Prepare Oolong Tea
- Caffeine Content
- Oolong Tea Health Benefits
- Creamy Honey Oolong Milk Tea Recipe
- Things To Note
- FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Many beverage outlets all over the world tried to make new variants from Oolong tea leaves. You can see that many outlets offer their unique Oolong tea variants.
I used to live in Taipei for some time, so I was quite familiar with this type of tea. I love its fragrance and taste. It’s not as strong as black tea and less pungent than green tea.
I have tried several Oolong tea brewed by my friends. Each has its own uniqueness. It turned out, there are many variants from Oolong tea leaves. I think it’s worth exploring more!
What is Oolong Tea?
Oolong tea originally comes from China. Its name consists of two words Oo and Long meaning Oo(烏) black and Long(龍) dragon in English.
This is actually a unique tea leaves in terms of oxidation levels. Green tea is minimally oxidized, while black tea is fully oxidized. Oolong is in between, it is partially oxidized. Hence, there are many distinct flavor, ranging from floral to fruity.
Oxidation level also plays an important role in the caffeine content. Oolong tea has more caffeine than green tea, but less than black tea.
The tea leaves are usually picked, and then let dry and semi-oxidized in the sun. They are mostly processed over charcoal or wood which then gives a unique flavor to the tea.
Finally, the tea leaves are rolled into crispy shapes that looks like tiny black dragons, hence the name.
Oolong tea are mostly harvested in late April to early May.
History of Oolong Tea
There are three theories when it comes to history of oolong tea. From what I have read, Oolong tea can be traced back to Fujian province during Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).
A popular tale about Oolong is about a farmer named Wu Liang who unintentionally oxidize the freshly picked tea leaves while doing other stuff. He then experimented on the flavor of the new tea leaves, thus a new type of tea was born.
Since there is no exact written date on when it was first introduced, there are many theories on Oolong tea. Below are several theories on the internet.
The Tribute Theory
It claims that Oolong tea originates from “dragon-phoenix” tea that looks like dragon tails. Hence the name black dragon, Oo(烏) black and Long(龍) dragon in English.
The Wuyi Theory
In this theory, it claims that oolong tea originally came from Wuyi mountain region. It was first documented in Ming Dynasty poem.
The Anxi Theory
This theory claims that oolong tea was first found in Anxi region, a Fujian province in China. A man named Wulong or Wu Liang accidentally left the tea leaves to oxidize during harvest time. This one is probably the most popular one.
Oolong teas became very popular during Qing dynasty. The tea was introduced along with Ti Quan Yin tea to the emperor Qian Long.
It was served with a special teapot to avoid cross contamination of flavours.
Types of Oolong Tea From Taiwan
Taiwanese Oolong Tea
Taiwanese oolong tea resembles green tea. It has a bright jade green color. It is slightly floral and has delicate finish.
- Bao Zhong – one of the lightest types of Oolong Tea, with oxidation levels 8-18%. This type of tea is very fresh, floral with hints of jasmine.
Bao zhong is aromatic Oolong tea from Wenshan region, in northern Taiwan. It has subtle sweetness with floral and fruity notes.
- Dong Ding (Frozen Summit) – oxidation levels at around 15-30%. This tea tastes toasty, with a subtle woody flavor.
Grown in Dong Ding Mountain in Nantou County, Taiwan, this tea goes through a delicate processing and comes out with a unique flavor. It has an exquisite flavor with subtle woody aroma.
- Alishan (High Mountain Oolong) – a medium oxidation level of around 30-40%. Alishan tea has a milky-sweet flavour with hints of apricot.
Cultivated in high elevation Ali Shan mountain range in Taiwan, this one has a unique, milky, and creamy taste. There is a hint of vanilla and fruits if you seep it slowly.
- Dongfeng Meiren (Oriental Beauty) – 70% oxidation, approaching black tea. This tea is much deeper and richer in flavour. It’s reddish in colour, with sweet and honey flavour and no bitterness.
This tea comes from Hsinchu and Miaoli in Northern Taiwan. It is known for its unique production process and exquisite flavor. This is the most highly prized of all Oolong teas.
- Bai Hao Oolong (Oriental Beauty) – originated in Northern Taiwan.
This type of Oolong tea has silver, brown, and white hues. It has a sweet and fruity taste, almost similar to honey and ripe peaches.
Types of Oolong Tea From China
- Dancong (Phoenix Tea) – 30-40 % oxidation levels. Dancong tea has a gentle, sweet and creamy flavour.
Coming from Chaozhou in Guangdong, China, Dancong is one prestigious Phoenix Oolong tea with flower and fruits fragrances.
Da Hong Pao comes from Wuyi Mountains, Fujian, China. This tea is believed to have cured the ailing emperor’s mother. Its flavor is characterized with bold, roasted flavor with notes of dried fruit, caramel, and mineral undertone.
- Tie Guan Yin (Iron Goddess of Mercy) – has an oxidation level of 10-40%. This Oolong is floral with a orchid-like flavour.
Tie Guan Yin tea leaves are rolled into compact balls, lightly roasted to enhance the flavor. It is named after a Buddhist deity Guan Yin. Sip the tea slowly and you will feel a refreshing aftertaste and a little bit of sweetness.
Tie Guan Yin is grown in Fujian province in China, particularly Anxi and Muzha regions.
How To Best Prepare Oolong Tea
The best steeping time for oolong tea is 3-5 minutes. It can be re-steeped several times. Unlike other tea types, the flavor will become better and change with each brew.
The suggested serving is 1 tsp for 8 oz cup for rolled tea leaves and 1 tbsp per 8 oz cup for longleaf oolongs.
- Boil filtered water to a temperature of between 185°F – 208°F (85-97°C).
- Place the tea into a teapot fitted with an infuser. Pour hot water over the tea leaves and let steep for a few seconds. Discard the water and keep the tea leaves.
- Pour hot water over the tea leaves again and let steep for 1 minute. If you prefer a lighter flavour tea, you can use the brewed tea at this stage.
- For a stronger flavour Oolong, drain the brewed tea into separate mugs (or drink it). Pour more hot water over the tea leaves, cover and brew for 1-2 minutes. Discard the tea leaves.
Oolong tea has caffeine content in it. The caffeine content will become 1/3 less at each re-steeping.
Oolong Tea Health Benefits
Drinking oolong tea regularly will help decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes. It helps protect your heart, brain, bone, and dental health. It even helps protecting you from certain types of cancer and aids weight loss.
Oolong tea is high in an amino acid called L-theanine that helps improve brain function, improve your sleep quality, and reduce anxiety.
Creamy Honey Oolong Milk Tea Recipe
Oolong milk tea’s color may be much lighter than Assam milk tea or Earl Grey milk tea, but I really like the taste. You can still taste the oolong tea in it which is much different than other black tea.
- 3 tbsp oolong tea leaves
- 400 ml water
- 25 ml whipping cream
- 25 ml milk
- 1 tsp honey / organic palm sugar / molasses (optional)
- 1 tbsp tapioca pearl
Step By Step
- Put 3 tbsp oolong tea leaves in a pot with strainer. Pour 300-400 ml hot water (85-97°C).
- Let it steep for 3-5 minutes.
- Pour some of the tea into another glass.
- If you like to have some tapioca pearls, you can put some at the bottom of the glass. (Boil the tapioca pearls until it becomes almost transparent and soak them in a water with sugar in it before use)
- Pour whipping cream or fresh creamy milk into the tea.
- Stir well
- Sieve a pinch of ceylon cinnamon ground on top.
Things To Note
- Keep the tea leaves for later brew. If you like it, you can brew it up to 2 more times.
- You’d better keep a different pot for brewing. Take some of the tea to make oolong milk tea. This is to prevent contamination of the tea leaves.
- Loose leaf tea tastes much better than tea in teabags.
- If you like it less creamy, you can choose evaporated milk instead of whipping cream. Or the best thing is choose fresh milk.
- You can add additional topping like cinnamon ground on top.
- For sweetener the best choice is honey, followed by molasses, organic palm sugar, coconut sugar, or brown sugar.
- Some people add a pinch of salt to balance the sweetness. Try it out!
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Q: What makes Oolong tea different from other types of tea?
A: Oolong tea has a distinct flavor, ranging from floral to fruity and with different level of partial oxidation, it gives out distinguished aroma.
Q: How is Honey Oolong Milk Tea traditionally prepared?
A: Brew high-quality Oolong tea leaves, let it steep in hot water for 2-5 minutes. Add fresh milk and honey. Stir until the honey disolves.
Q: Can I customize the level of sweetness in my Honey Oolong Milk Tea?
Sure! You can also substitute honey with other sweetener like monk fruit, stevia or erythritol.
Q: Are there caffeine in Oolong tea?
Oolong tea contains caffeine and may vary based on the oxidation level. It is not as strong as black tea but still for those who are sensitive to caffeine, you need to take less.
Oolong Tea can be a good beverage choice when you prepare it in the right way. Its unique flavor matches perfectly with milk or whipping cream.
If you decide to make this, please tag me on my Instagram account @butterjoy_kitchen. I will surely leave some comments!
- 3-5 tbsp oolong tea leaves
- 400 ml water
- 1-2 tsp organic palm sugar
- 50 ml whipping cream
- 20 ml milk
- Boil 400 ml water. Wait until it cools down a little to 93 degrees Celcius.
- Put the tea leaves into a pot with a strainer.
- Pour the water into the pot. Let it steep for 3-5 minutes.
- Pour the tea into a different pot. You can use the tea leaves again for multiple brewing.
- If you want to use tapioca pearl, you can boil it until it becomes transparent.
- Drain the water, soak the tapioca pearls in a sugary water for a while.
- Put the tapioca pearls at the bottom of the glass.
- Pour the tea. Put 1-2 tsp palm sugar. Stir well.
- Pour the whipping cream and milk. Stir well.
- Sieve a pinch of cinnamon ground on top.
- Enjoy your drink!