We’re 99% sure you have heard of or tried green tea before, but what about oolong tea? Oolong tea is not as popular in the United States as it is in some Asian countries; however, it comes with an equally long list of benefits. Oolong tea and green tea, like all true teas, originate from the same plant- camelia Sinensis. Hailing from the same plant indicates a commonality in health benefits and taste. Ultimately, it comes down to dissecting the minute differences to settle the debate of oolong tea vs. green tea. Read on for our take on how these teas differ and which one is best for you.
What is green tea?
Green tea is made from the leaves of the rare Camellia Sinensis plant. This plant is only found in India and China. Green tea is often thought to be the most potent variant of tea originating from this plant because it is made from unoxidized leaves.
The leaves are heated up as soon as they are harvested. This helps to preserve as much of their freshly-harvested flavor as possible. This process leads to green tea having a much higher chlorophyll and antioxidant concentration as compared to other teas.
What is oolong tea?
While oolong tea only represents 2% of the world’s tea, it is still a force to be reckoned with as it harvests the combined merits of green and dark teas. Green tea is the least processed version of the Camellia Sinensis teas, and black tea is the most processed one. Oolong tea falls perfectly in the middle and is partially oxidized, which leads to its distinct color and flavor.
Oolong tea vs. green tea: the differences
The flavor of green tea is almost always the same- bittersweet, swampy, and vegetal. However, the flavor profile of Oolong tea can vary from being noticeably sweet to being incredibly nutty and woodsy according to the level of oxidization reached during processing. Oolong tea is oxidized at levels ranging from 8% to 85 %. That is a pretty vast difference, so it makes sense that the flavors would vary immensely as well.
Green tea is thus more suited to seasoned tea drinkers whose palates have developed an appreciation for its typical grassy and bitter flavor. Whereas, oolong tea is suitable for those of you who prefer more varied flavors.
The texture of teas is the way they feel on your throat after you take a sip. Green tea has a distinct astringent texture and leaves a slightly bitter aftertaste whereas oolong tea is much smoother and glides beautifully without leaving much of an aftertaste.
The debate of green tea vs. oolong tea becomes slightly confusing when it boils down to (pun intended!) health benefits. This uncertainty stems from the varied nature of scientific evidence on this subject. Not only is pure scientific research lacking in this area, but it is also very polarizing.
The consensus, however, is that green tea has a higher concentration of health-improving components like antioxidants. This is due to its entirely unoxidized nature. However, this higher concentration can come at the expense of your stomach health due to green tea’s incredibly strong and possibly irritating nature.
Oolong tea undoubtedly features a higher caffeine content due to the longer processing time. Additionally, oolong tea is steeped at a much higher temperature than green tea (180-200 degrees vs. 160-180 degrees), which also factors into the increased caffeine. So, if staying up late for a big test is your main concern, then oolong tea might be the better option for you!
Generally speaking, oolong tea is slightly more expensive than green tea. This price difference isn’t a hard and fast rule since there will be differences across various brands. However, considering the extended processing that oolong tea has to undergo, it’s not a surprise that it would be more expensive, on average.
Both oolong tea and green tea offer similar health benefits such as reduced cholesterol, reduced risk of heart disease, and enhanced weight loss. Our verdict on the oolong tea vs. green tea debate is about to sound pretty unhelpful, but hear us out. We genuinely think that is is all based on your personal preferences. Neither of these is dramatically better than the other. As long as you include one, you’re doing your body a favor. If we had to choose, then we’d probably recommend oolong tea for those of you tea drinkers who are still trying to explore new flavors and green tea for those of you who have developed an appreciation for it.
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