Tea is often viewed as an exceptionally healthy drink, especially when compared to coffee (although, coffee does have significant benefits of its own).
This perspective is hardly surprising, as tea typically contains a range of plant-based compounds, many of which have implications for health.
In many cases, the strongest focus is placed on green tea, which has extensive medical use and is widely regarded as healthy.
Indeed, green tea is even included in many supplements, partly because some of the compounds have been connected to weight loss benefits (however, this relationship is not proven) (1,2). Likewise, there is also some interest in yerba mate tea as a particularly healthy option.
But, while green tea and yerba mate tea may have strong health benefits – so does oolong tea. Now, oolong tea can be viewed as somewhere in the middle of green and black tea, so it’s no surprise that the variety is a healthy choice.
With this in mind, what is the best oolong tea? For that matter, what are the benefits of this particular type of tea?
The Best Oolong Tea
Like coffee, tea strongly comes down to personal preference. In part, this is because there are many different factors that influence the flavor profile and the aroma of the tea.
As a result, individual brands and varieties of oolong tea will tend to taste significantly different than one another. Likewise, there may also be some variation in the specific plant-based nutrients present – although the differences there are unlikely to be large.
These patterns mean that the answer to ‘what is the best oolong tea’ isn’t going to be as simple as it seems. In many ways, there simply isn’t a best, because people have their own preferences and there is no shortage of good brands out there.
Nevertheless, there are some examples of oolong tea that are considerably better than others. For example, one brand that we highly recommend is Davidson’s, which produces organic tea.
Now, the packaging may not look exciting but that is because this is a bulk option. The brand does get exceptional reviews and the tea itself is also organic – which is appealing if you are trying to buy the best oolong tea.
This company is also interesting because it produces a range of different varieties, including a second type of oolong tea. For example, the tea in the image is Mountain Copper Oolong but the company does also have Quilan China Oolong, not to mention many other non-oolong teas.
Of course, this is just one example, and later in this list we’ll take a look at other answers for ‘what is the best oolong tea’. But first, let’s look at why you might choose this particular drink.
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Health Benefits of Oolong Tea
First of all, the most distinctive thing about oolong tea is oxidation. In fact, this is what differentiates the key types of tea. For example, green tea does not go through much oxidation, while black tea is allowed to go through significantly more. That process is what turns the tea leaves black.
In contrast, oolong is somewhere in the middle. This plays a key role in the color of the tea and also its taste (3). Still, as you can probably imagine, there is considerable variation between individual brands in terms of both color and flavor.
As with other types of tea, oolong contains a number of significant antioxidants, including EGCG.
Research has also linked the various compounds to specific implications for human health.
However, it is important to note that oolong tea hasn’t been studied nearly as much as either black tea or green tea. As a result, we know much less about the benefits of oolong tea specifically. Still, there are many observed benefits that occur across different types of tea and these will also apply to oolong.
Promotion of Heart Health
Regularly drinking tea has been linked to improved heart health, as a result of the antioxidants present (6). For example, these can contribute to a lower risk of heart disease, along with decreased blood pressure and cholesterol (7,8,9).
One study found that drinking 8 oz or more oolong tea could decrease heart disease risk by as much as 61% (10), while a similar study found a decrease in stroke risk of 39% for people drinking more than 16 oz of oolong or green tea daily (11).
It’s also important to mention that some effects may vary from one person to the next.
In particular, oolong tea does contain caffeine and this can raise blood pressure in some people, especially those who rarely have caffeine. Still, tea can still be a good choice for anybody sensitive to caffeine, simply because it contains much less than coffee.
Diabetes Prevention and Management
Regular tea consumption has also been linked to a decrease in the risk of diabetes and also improved control of blood sugar levels (16,17,18). Some research has also found this effect specifically for oolong tea (19,20,21).
However, in many of these studies, the level of tea consumption has been fairly high, like 33 oz (around 1 liter) (22) or 50 oz (1.5 liters) (23) per day. As a result, you may not see significant benefits from normal levels of tea consumption.
Oolong Tea Weight Loss
As with green tea, oolong has also been associated with weight loss – based on improving metabolism and potentially decreasing fat absorption (27,28,29,30,31). Research suggests that the impact on fat burning is connected to the polyphenols in the tea and also the caffeine (32).
However, studies haven’t confirmed whether the effect contributes to increased weight loss.
Realistically, weight loss impacts are likely to vary from one person to another anyway, especially as behavior plays a key role in the weight that you lose.
Other Health Benefits
Tea may also be relevant for improving brain function and even potentially helping to prevent Alzheimer’s disease (33,34,35,36). This effect is partly connected to the caffeine (37,38), to theanine (39) and possibly other polyphenols.
Oolong Tea Safety
Generally speaking, oolong tea is considered safe. After all, it is a common component of modern diets and has been used throughout history.
Nevertheless, just like anything, you do still need to be aware of your consumption.
For one thing, oolong tea does contain caffeine (although, not as much as coffee). When you have too much, caffeine can cause a range of side effects, including high blood pressure, headaches and insomnia (45,46,47). Still, in moderation, caffeine is associated with many health benefits.
At the same time, some people are especially sensitive to caffeine.
As a consequence, you do still need to be careful with oolong tea, even though it has less caffeine than coffee.
Additionally, excessive consumption of antioxidants isn’t always a good thing.
You probably won’t end up with too much from tea alone, however this is something to be aware of, especially if you’re relying heavily on supplements and options like tart cherry juice for antioxidants.
The end result is that oolong tea is likely to be completely safe, as long as you’re not drinking an excessive amount (e.g. 8+ cups per day). Realistically, the main area to be concerned about is caffeine and you can easily tell how your own body responds to that as you go.
Powerful Oolong Tea Brands
So then, it’s clear that there are many significant benefits to oolong tea. That brings us back to the original question: What is the best oolong tea?
As I mentioned earlier, there is no single best brand. But, there are some good ones to get you started.
This tea is a little unusual and is on the more expensive side. However, it does work out to be relatively affordable, especially as it is loose leaf tea, rather than tea bags.
The tea is a greener option for oolong tea, which does mean that it has less oxidation. This may make it an especially appealing flavor for people that already enjoy green tea and are looking for something a little different.
At the same time, the traditional style of the tea is appealing. There are also other teas from the same brand, including a Black Dragon version, which will be darker with a significantly different taste.
Another interesting option comes from the brand Bigelow. For many people, this brand may be more conventional, especially as it comes in tea bags rather than as loose leaf.
The tea is a darker option and is well-known for its mellow overtones. It is also a popular option overall and is fairly common.
However, as is often the case, the flavor isn’t going to suit everybody. Even though many people do love the flavor, there are still some that cannot stand it and think that the product tastes cheap and unappealing.
This product can still be a good place to start if you’re trying oolong tea for the first time, especially as it is inexpensive and easier to manage than tea leaves. As such, it can be a valuable introduction and give you an idea about whether you like the taste of oolong.
This tea is another great option for anybody who wants bagged oolong tea. It has the additional advantage of being organic, which is ideal for getting the best health benefits.
It is also the current best seller for oolong tea on Amazon, with an extremely large number of positive reviews. It’s easy to see why this is too.
For one thing, the tea is inexpensive, making it another good way to try out oolong tea. Likewise, the taste is appealing, with many people saying that it is refreshing and smooth.
Foojoy is a fairly well-known brand, offering a range of different types of teas. However, their oolong certainly appears to be the company’s most popular product and the reviews suggest that the flavor here is appealing.
In this case, the tea has a fuller flavor and aftertaste than many of the other brands on the list. As a result, it may be best suited for people who like black tea, rather than those looking for a relatively mild taste.
It is worth noting that the teabags here are not individually wrapped, which may be a problem for some people. But, if you’re just looking for basic oolong tea, then the brand is certainly one to try.
One final option is this oolong tea from Vahdam. As with some of the earlier examples, this is a loose leaf tea and the company also has a strong emphasis on quality.
The tea itself is much closer to black tea than many others on the list, resulting in a full-bodied flavor and strong aroma. The company is also very transparent about where the tea comes from and the shipping processes used, which is always a plus.
What is the Best Oolong Tea?
From this list alone, it should be clear that there is no single best oolong tea. Indeed, there is considerable variation in flavor across brands. In many ways, the simple answer is to start trying oolong tea and work out from there which brands and styles you prefer.
For example, some people tend to rely on tea bags, while others would rather go with loose leaf tea. Likewise, some may lean towards oolong tea that is greener and others have the opposite preference.
Still, there is no shortage of options out there, including many that are extremely popular.
For that matter, if you find that you don't like oolong tea, there are many healthy alternatives to choose from, including green tea and yerba mate tea.
However, it is important to note that many of the teas currently on the market are different than they have been historically. For example, many companies promote weight loss or detox teas, such as Iaso tea. This type of product typically involves a range of added herbs and compounds.
Whether or not detox teas are healthy is a matter of intense debate. But regardless, you're likely to find more benefits by simply drinking options like oolong or green tea on a regular basis.
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