The New Matcha: Oolong Tea Benefits Go Whole Leaf

The New Matcha: Oolong Tea Benefits Go Whole Leaf

There are two kinds of people in this world: tea drinkers, and… well, everyone else. Unlike coffee, with its thick, acrid bitterness, tea is soft, subtle, yet wholly satisfying. It’s ponderous, calming. A cup of tea is a meditation. Now, devoted tea lovers can enjoy oolong tea benefits in a hot new fashion—no pumpkin spices or whipped cream required.

Called “oocha,” the new incarnation of oolong tea is a play on matcha, the wildly popular whole green tea leaves that are dried and powdered (unlike regular tea leaves, which are steeped). Matcha is one of the hottest trends in the tea and hot drink categories, and for good reason. The (ancient) popular tea trend delivers an energizing punch with a delicious grassy-green flavor. And if you’ve ever made your own cup of matcha, you know how fun it is—whisking the emerald liquid into a frothy goodness.

Oocha takes its cue from the fun of matcha tea rituals, but replaces the green tea leaf with the mighty oolong tea leaf. The difference between the leaves—all from the same tea plant (camellia sinensis)—is the level of oxidization. Green tea leaves are minimally oxidized (white tea is from leaves that have not been oxidized at all), while black tea leaves are fully oxidized, giving black tea its rich flavor and color.

Oolong falls in between black and green tea, possessing a stronger flavor than green tea, but not the total richness of black tea. And who doesn’t love the hybrid, the halfway point between two wonderfully satisfying things? Think of oocha like the chocolate-vanilla soft-serve swirl. It’s salt and pepper in one—that state of perfection we’re constantly seeking in our food and, perhaps, everywhere else in our lives.

Oolong doesn’t disappoint.

Like all other varieties of the tea plant, oolong tea benefits are nothing to sneeze at (but if you’re already sneezing, pour yourself another cup, as oolong is loaded with antioxidants that may help you fight off your cold). From cancer prevention to diabetes protection, oolong tea delivers in every sip.

Hailing from Taiwan, the global oolong market leader, oocha products are now beginning to hit the U.S. market. Like matcha, there are loose leaf and cold brew oolong oocha options. Some are already floating around New York City, which surely means they’ll soon be making their way across the country to a cup near you.

Can’t wait that long? Brew up a cup of your favorite tea and contemplate the art of waiting.

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Woman with tea image via Shutterstock