There are many theories and legends about the origin of oolong tea, with roughly three versions being the only ones acknowledged up until now. While oolong tea only represents 2% of the world’s tea – it’s one that combines both qualities of dark and green tea, providing anyone who drinks it with interesting health benefits.
Oolong tea is available in most retailers that sell groceries, including Amazon, Walmart, and Target, which are the ones I can easily recall. However, there are also supermarkets like Costco or Publix, and asian markets that sell oolong tea in different varieties.
In this article, I’m going to speak a bit more about oolong tea, its benefits, where it’s available, and where you can find it if you physically head out to a supermarket.
What is Oolong Tea?
Oolong tea is traditional Chinese tea made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, which is the same plant used to make green and black tea.
The difference is in how in the tea is processed.
Tea leaves contain enzymes that produce a chemical reaction called oxidation, a process that converts green tea leaves into a deep black color.
Black tea is allowed to oxidize until it turns black, but green tea is not allowed to oxidize as much – and oolong tea is somewhere between the two.
This partial oxidation process provides oolong tea with its unique color and taste.
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Oolong Tea Benefits
Oolong tea contains several vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Some of the main antioxidants in oolong tea are polyphenols, theaflavins, thearubigins and EGCG, which are associated with several health benefits.
Oolong tea also contains theanine, an amino acid known to provide relaxing effects.
There are the health benefits associated with drinking oolong tea:
- It may prevent diabetes due to the polyphenol content that may help maintain blood sugar levels, and decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes. However, the evidence is mixed and more research is necessary.
- Due to the variety of antioxidants, there’s a chance oolong tea may help decrease the risk of heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure in some individuals.
- The caffeine and polyphenol content in oolong tea may also speed up your metabolism, and increase the amount of calories and fat you can potentially burn when exercising.
- The theamine, caffeine, and antioxidant content in oolong tea may also have positive effects on brain function and mood.
- Scientists also believe the antioxidants present in teas may prevent cell mutations that lead to cancer.
- The antioxidants in oolong tea may also help increase bone mineral density, as well as prevent the formation of dental plaque.
However, it’s important to note that most of these benefits have mixed evidence, so there’s a need to conduct more research to ascertain its real effects.
Also, like green tea and black tea, oolong tea also contains caffeine, which cannot be consumed excessively, otherwise it may lead to conditions like anxiety, headaches, insomnia, among other issues.
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Where to Buy Oolong Tea
If you don’t want to leave the comfort of your home, then Amazon is probably the best way to get any product delivered to you, including oolong tea. Plus, they have many oolong tea varieties.
Whole Foods (US)
Whole Foods is great if you want to find organic, plant-based foods, including organic oolong tea. They have a box of organic oolong tea by Prince of Peace, and milk oolong tea leaves by the Republic of Tea.
Walmart is a retailer where you can find pretty much everything, and most people have one near them, so if you want to find oolong tea, visiting a Walmart near you is also a good option.
Publix is an employee-owned supermarket that’s been around since 1930, and it also a good place to find oolong tea. One of the brands they have available is Twinings Origins.
Like Walmart, Target is also a retailer where you’re able to find anything, so you should also be able to find oolong tea.
Tesco is one of the biggest retailers in the United Kingdom, and although I wasn’t able to find popular brands of oolong tea, I found that Tesco sells its own brand of oolong tea.
Sainsbury’s also has its own brand of loose leaves of oolong tea.
Ethnic Grocery Stores (US/UK)
Ethnic grocery stores are non-chain grocery stores or supermarkets that sell food items that are distinctly cultural, often catering to specific immigrant populations. If you’re looking for oolong tea, search specifically for an ethnic store with Chinese food items since oolong tea is basically traditional Chinese tea.
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In Which Aisle Can You Find Oolong Tea
Once you’re in the store, you should look for tea next to the coffee section, since they’re both similar products.
Since there is a WIDE variety of teas, you have to closely analyze the whole section to see if you can find it, but if that doesn’t happen to be the case – look for the international aisle. The international aisle should be divided by different cultures (i.e. Indian, Chinese, etc), so you should be able to find it in the section with Chinese food items.
At Walmart you have Bigelow’s oolong tea bags in the tea/coffee aisle, and then you should have bags of oolong tea leaves in the international aisle.
If you don’t feel like going through the trouble of finding it in-store, then just type down ‘oolong tea’ on Amazon, and you’ll find a great selection of it.
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Oolong tea should not be difficult to find.
Since it’s a rather common tea in Chinese culture, you should be able to find it in most places, including physical stores like Walmart and Whole Foods.
And if you’d rather purchase it online – then the obvious recommendation is Amazon, especially because they have a wide selection of oolong tea from different vendors.