Oolong tea vs Green tea? There’s been a lot of buzz among enthusiastic tea drinkers about which of the two has the best taste or is more popular. Well, worry no more. This post has all the answers you need, from origins, popularity, and flavors to price range, taste, and health benefits. There’s no need to buckle up; it’s a smooth ride all the way.
Table of Contents
- WHAT IS OOLONG TEA?
- WHAT IS GREEN TEA?
- OOLONG TEA VS GREEN TEA | FULL COMPARISON
WHAT IS OOLONG TEA?
If you are an active tea consumer then you most likely have heard of the traditional Chinese tea called the Oolong tea. But if you are new to the brand then the most important thing you may want to know about the Oolong tea when trying to make a decision on what brand of tea to stick with is that the Oolong tea is somewhere in between the Green tea and the Black tea. It somehow manages to combine some qualities of Green and Black tea which makes it tremendously important even though it is not widely distributed, representing only 2% of global tea consumption.
The Oolong tea, the Green tea, and the Black tea are all made from the same leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant. Their difference is in how they are oxidized during tea processing.
Oolong tea is a semi or partially oxidized tea. The tea leaves are allowed to wither and oxidize under strong sunlight and then the leaves are curled and twisted by the tea makers to manipulate and alter the final taste and flavor of the tea into the desired preference. The tea leaves can also be shaped into small buds with a tail end. Oolong tea oxidation rate ranges from 8% to 85%, this wide variation gives the Oolong tea its wide flavor and taste variation, wider than the Green and Black tea brands.
WHAT IS GREEN TEA?
If the Oolong tea is partially oxidized, then the Green tea is even less oxidized. Some tea masters claim not to oxidize their green teas at all and that’s what is responsible for the tea’s characteristic green-yellow-light brown color when brewed.
The Green tea leaves are also gotten from the Camellia Sinensis plant, from where they are promptly heated by steaming or pan firing and quickly dried to prevent further oxidization. This is also done to preserve the flavor for a longer time. Lastly, they are rolled into shape.
Green tea is also a Chinese tea like the Oolong tea but Green tea is widely distributed and exported. In 2013 alone, the production of Green tea globally was 1.7 million tons and it’s forecasted to be double in volume by 2023, and exports are expected to rise annually by 9%.
Health enthusiasts lean more towards Green tea because of its wider range of health benefits. However, this article is to analyze and present the comparisons between these two teas. While Green tea may be vastly popular, the Oolong tea can also hold its own in the battlefield of benefits.
OOLONG TEA VS GREEN TEA | FULL COMPARISON
After going through the overview on both the types of tea, lets consider few factors and compare both the types on how they stand against them.
CONSUMPTION/POPULARITY OF OOLONG TEA
Oolong is largely grown and consumed in China but the popularity of this tea has also grown in parts of North America and Europe. China is the top consumer of the Oolong tea, responsible for one-third of world tea consumption. China is followed closely by India, making them the second-largest tea consumer in the world, and responsible for one-fifth of the world’s tea consumption.
Regulation of cholesterol level, fortification of the immune system, and some other major health benefits are suspect in the increasing consumer awareness of the Oolong tea popularity and consumption rate.
On the basis of consumption and popularity, Oolong tea is mainly concentrated in these key parts of the world; Latin America, North America, Asia Pacific, Western Europe, Japan, the Middle East, and Africa.
CONSUMPTION/POPULARITY OF GREEN TEA
Green tea is vastly more popular and invariably has a higher consumption rate than Oolong tea. It is a very popular choice of tea in Asia but it is also a growing preference in other parts of the world. In Britain especially, 15% of the tea consumed is Green tea. This tea has been used as a medicinal option for thousands of years and its relatively low caffeine level and antioxidants make consumers believe it is a healthier option. It is also rich in other enzymes and vitamins which we would look into later on in comparison with the Oolong tea.
FLAVORS OF OOLONG TEA
The Oolong tea as stated earlier has a wider range of flavors because of a vast number of ways tea masters could decide to oxidize and shape them (8% – 85%). If it is slightly oxidized, it gives off a fresh green tea flavor but if it is highly oxidized its flavor leans towards the malty black tea. Its flavors are more diverse, it can range from light, sweet, and floral to rich, dark, and smoky with hints of wood and honey. It can also be fruity and sweet with honey fragrances. It can be thick and woody with the smell of roasted wood.
Essentially, the flavor depends on the style of processing and tea masters are in luck because the Oolong tea offers more room for the tea masters to create their preferred flavor during processing.
FLAVORS OF GREEN TEA
The Green tea is famously known to have a crisp, clean, and fresh aroma. As stated earlier, Green teas are either steamed or pan-fried. If steamed, they have a vegetal, seaweed-like, sweet flavor. And when they are pan-fried, they emit a toasted grass-like flavor. The green tea has a limited range of flavor compared to the Oolong tea.
You would do well to note that the flavors of both the Oolong tea and the Green tea can also be affected by horticulture, the fields or lots where the leaves were grown, and the method of brewing the finished product.
PRICE RANGE OF OOLONG TEA
The Oolong tea is generally known to be more expensive than the Green tea and the speculative reason is mainly because of the diverse range of partial oxidation for the tea which makes it laborious for the tea masters to process. Hence, it has a higher price range and it requires a very skillful tea master.
More affordable brands of Oolong can cost from $1 – $150 for packets, measured kilos, and tea boxes depending on your budget.
The premium types of Oolong are a lot more expensive but the difference in flavor and taste is well worth the bank break. And in any case, if you can afford the premium Oolong tea brands then you probably aren’t worried about breaking your bank. The Tieguanyin tea is a type of Oolong tea, it is named after a Buddhist Deity- the Iron Goddess Of Mercy. Tieguanyin gives off a distinctive rich chestnut flavor that makes it stand out from other Oolong brands. The Tieguanyin is sold in kilograms and 1 kilogram costs $3000.
The yellow tea buds are also a type of Oolong tea and it also costs $3000 per kilogram. This tea is particularly rare because the leaves can only be harvested one day a year by field laborers. They are harvested using gold shears and then the leaves are lightly sprayed with 24-carat edible gold.
The Vintage Narcissus costs $6500 per kilogram. It is more expensive because it is specifically oxidized to around 60% to give the tea a floral, wooden, and chocolatey flavor. It is one of the rarest Oolong tea and it is grown on the Wuyi Mountain.
PRICE RANGE FOR GREEN TEA
Green teas are relatively a lot less expensive and more affordable than the Oolong tea types. However, they are more expensive than your regular fermented teas mainly because tea masters are selective with the parts used, preferring the new leaves and buds of the tea plant. And it has to be handled carefully to prevent accidental oxidization or rotting.
Green tea prices can range from $1 – $100. Most of the readily available brands fall within this range, but the more expensive and premium brands fall within the range of $1000 – $2000.
Please note that prices can differ on the basis of added value on shipments, demand and supply, and environment.
TASTE OF THE OOLONG TEA
Like flavors, tastes vary widely for the Oolong tea as well but a good Oolong tea will have no bitterness. The lesser oxidized range brands have sweet and floral after tastes and the highly oxidized range brands have a roasted taste and feel but it is also sweet and well fragranced. Essentially, the taste of Oolong varies from sweet, floral, buttery, roasted, and honeyed, to list a few.
TASTES OF THE GREEN TEA
Some consumers are of the opinion that green teas have a bitter-sweet aftertaste but some tea experts have argued that if the tea is steeped correctly, then there should be no hints of a bitter aftertaste. Green teas have a range of vegetal, floral, fruity, sweet, and swampy taste, to list a few. You would be surprised to know how easy it is to make your green tea taste even better.
The final tastes of the Oolong tea and the Green tea, like their flavors, can also be affected by steeping, brewing, and horticulture.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF THE OOLONG TEA
Oolong tea contains fluoride-manganese-niacin-sodium-caffeine-potassium. It also contains antioxidants-tea polyphenols – (theaflavins, thearubigins, and EGCG). Oolong tea further contains vitamins, amino acids, minerals, and theanine.
Oolong may help to prevent diabetes and may also help to improve heart conditions. It may help with weight loss, as well as improve brain function. Oolong is speculated to help protect against certain types of cancer. There are also indications that the tea helps to improve the strength of bone and tooth and fights against skin conditions like eczema.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF THE GREEN TEA
Green tea is said to be the healthiest tea in the world. It has more antioxidants (Tea polyphenols-EGCG), rich in catechin, and generally has a lesser amount of caffeine than Oolong tea. The tea also has relatively small amounts of minerals.
It may improve brain function, increase fat burning, and the antioxidants may lower the risk of some cancer types. Green tea is also said to reduce bad breath, and prevent Type-2 diabetes, as well as helping to prevent cardiovascular diseases. It is also speculated to increase life span.
At the end of the day, whichever type you choose to have, there are surely some amazing benefits to derive. So is there a better brand? Well, it surely depends on the parameter you’re using. Oolong or Green? I’ll say you go with your preference, based on all the information here and your budget.