Oolong tea is of Chinese origin and is a semi-fermented variety that lies between Green Tea (un-fermented) and Black Tea (fermented). This tea is grown and processed in four major areas of the country and is categorized accordingly:
- Wu Yi Tea (Rock Tea) in the Northern Fujian Province
- Tie Guan Yin (Iron Buddha Tea) in the Southern Fujian Province
- Phoenix Oolong (Dan Chong Tea) in the Guangdong Province
- Tung Ting in Taiwan
This tea originated in the Tang Dynasty (618 – 907), in the Beiyun region of the Fujian Province. It was first named Beiyun Tea, after the region of its provenance, and due to its unique flavor was the first tea to be made as tribute to the Emperor and royal court. Because of this recognition from the royal court, more and more people (government officials and scholars) started visiting and emigrating to the Fujian Province and were delighted by the taste of this new and different tea, as opposed to Green Tea, the only available one in China at the time.
This tea remained a designated tribute to the royal court for hundreds of years, throughout the Ming and Qing Dynasties. In 1725, tea producers from the Fujian region adapted their tea making methods and implemented new technology in order to make a new variety – Oolong. In 1796 Oolong Tea was introduced to Taiwan and the rest of the Fujian region and became a staple in production and exporting.
Oolong tea is a caffeinated beverage. The first visible major benefit of drinking this tea is a heightened state of awareness and fast thinking. Kou Tea contains Oolong as a major active ingredient. The theophylline present in this tea works together with the caffeine to enhance the state of concentration. In traditional medicine, this tea was consumed as a preventive measure against obesity and diabetes. Modern studies have confirmed that regular consumption of this beverage can lower blood sugar and help with weight loss.