If you’re a tea drinker you probably have a preference between green tea and black tea, but have you ever tried oolong tea?
Oolong tea is a lovely midway hot beverage between the two different types of tea that tend to be more popular.
It has more flavor and caffeine than green tea, but not so much as black tea and a range of health benefits reflective of both its close cousins.
So what are the best oolong tea brands? The best oolong tea brands should have a rich, full-bodied, and somewhat floral flavor, although it may be mixed with other flavors and teas as desired. The leaves should be fresh enough to make a potent cup.
If you’re interested in expanding your tea horizons, our list of the best brands of oolong tea will help guide you toward the choice that is right for you.
Whether you prefer tea bags or loose-leaf, organic, or least expensive, trendy or traditional – we have a brand of tea for you.
What is Oolong Tea?
Oolong tea is a type of traditional Chinese tea that is similar to a hybrid of green and black tea.
Many people don’t realize that the difference between green tea and black tea isn’t the leaves it’s made from, but how those leaves were processed. The same is true for oolong tea.
When the leaves from the tea plant, camellia sinesis, are exposed to oxygen-enriched air, they start to oxidize.
Black tea is oxidized for much longer than green tea, which deepens the color until it’s black and develops a rich, earthy, and bitter flavor.
Green tea isn’t oxidized long enough to turn such a dark color and it also has a much lighter, even grassier flavor.
Is Oolong Tea Black Or Green?
Oolong tea is oxidized approximately midway between green tea and black tea. It is neither black nor green, but midway between the two.
Oolong tea is made from the same plant as both black and green tea, but it is processed differently than each.
Black tea is oxidized the longest, giving it the darkest color and most full-bodied, bitter flavor. Green tea is oxidized the least amount, allowing it to retain its green coloring and grassy flavor.
Oolong tea is oxidized for a length of time between black and green. This gives it a dark green or brown color and a richness of flavor that has notes of both green and black teas combined.
What Does Oolong Tea Taste Like?
Because oolong tea is essentially a midway point between green and black tea, it tastes exactly as you would imagine a hybrid of the two teas would taste.
There are many different oxidation levels for oolong tea, so the flavor can range from floral to almost nutty and toasted, or even more full-bodied and earthy, depending on how dark the particular blend of tea leaves is.
What Makes a Good Oolong Tea?
Oolong is known for its deep, rich flavor. It’s the kind of tea you can really sink into, forgetting your troubles as you inhale its leafy aroma.
When choosing a good oolong tea, you’ll want to look for one with that characteristic strong body and scent. Who wants weak tea, anyway?
Depending on your tastes you may also prefer an oolong with a stronger vegetal/green flavor or one with a more bitter, blacker tea taste. Many also enjoy oolong blended with sweeter or more citrusy teas.
Purists also prefer loose leaf teas, as these are nearly always the freshest. However, tea bags last a long time and are a perfectly fine option as long as the tea brand sources good leaves.
Best Brands Of Oolong Tea
Here are our top picks for oolong tea brands:
|1.||FGO Organic Oolong Tea Bags||Tea bags (20)|
|2.||Twinings China Oolong Tea||Tea bags (20)|
|3.||Prince Of Peace Organic Oolong Tea||Tea bags (100)|
|4.||Republic of Tea Dragon Oolong Tea||Loose leaf (1.8oz)|
|5.||Tao of Tea Black Dragon Oolong Tea||Loose leaf (3.5oz)|
|6.||Teas' Tea Unsweetened Golden Oolong||Iced tea (16.9oz) 12pk|
|7.||Super Organics Metabolism Tea Pods||K-cups, 12ct|
|8.||Stash Chocolate Mint Wuyi/Oolong Tea||Tea bags (100)|
|9.||Bigelow Oolong Tea Bags||Tea bags (20), 6pk|
The best brands of oolong tea each have special characteristics going for them, depending on what is most important to you.
Some oolong has a lighter flavor and color whereas other brands develop their tea to be more full-bodied and dark.
Some make brewing easy with tea bags, others focus on the tradition by offering loose leaves while still other brands offer ready-made options.
No matter how you enjoy your tea, there is one perfect for your tastes within our top favorite oolong tea brands.
1. FGO Organic Oolong Tea Bags
FGO is a company that believes in premium quality products, derived from the most nutrient-dense sources that can be found.
Their tea bags are as premium as the organic tea leaves inside – made with eco-friendly hemp fiber in a round shape without staples, tags, or strings.
- Best organic raw oolong tea
- Made with eco-conscious hemp fiber round tea bags, free from chlorine bleach, dyes, and adhesives
- Warm, soothing nutty flavor
Biggest Drawback: There is very little negative to say about this tea. It is premium quality and therefore may be more expensive than some of the budget-buys, but in this case, you are paying for a healthier, more sustainable option. This tea is truly worth it.
2. Twinings China Oolong Tea
Twinings is an iconic tea brand, though it may be a little more famous in the UK than in the US.
It is equally reliable for consistent flavor and quality at a great price, and their oolong tea blend is no exception.
It’s expertly balanced and a great introduction to this midway tea. In fact, Twinings is usually a great choice for introductions to different teas.
- Most well-balanced oolong tea
- Warm, citrus flavor with slight hints of smokiness
- Available in boxes with 20 tea bags each, though you can purchase a pack of 4 or 6 for convenience
Biggest Drawback: Twinnings is the UK equivalent to Bigelow and they both make very popular oolong tea. The market seems to be split, however. Most buyers either love Twinings or they love Bigelow, but they rarely love both.
3. Prince Of Peace Organic Oolong Tea
Prince of Peace is a Chinese-American owned distributor and wholesaler dedicated to providing gourmet health foods to an American market at a very affordable price.
We love this brand in part because of the high-quality products, often organic, offered at low prices, but also because of the charitable organizations the company supports. The oolong is great, and it tastes even better when you know you’re supporting a good business.
- Best budget-buy oolong tea bag
- Semi-fermented, beautifully fragrant with mild flavors
- Individually wrapped teabags
Biggest Drawback: This is probably the most mildly flavored oolong tea on our list, which is a positive for many people but a major drawback for anyone who loves the full-bodied flavor of a rich oolong. It is, however, a good-quality tea, despite being a bit mild-mannered.
4. The Republic of Tea Dragon Oolong Tea
This brand of oolong tea comes in the most beautiful tin packaging with gorgeous artwork that you will be proud to display on your countertop. The tin is more than just a pretty face though.
It contains round tea bags without strings, staples, or labels that sink nicely to sit at the bottom of your cup without disturbing your tea drinking. It’s a very smart design.
- Most beautiful packaging
- Available in traditional Dragon Oolong, Milk Oolong, and Peach Blossom Oolong
- Non-GMO Project Certified
Biggest Drawback: For the number of cups that you get out of this much loose leaf tea, it’s not the least expensive option, to say the least. However, you do get exceptionally good quality tea out of it.
If you know you’re a fan of this brand’s flavor, you can get their bulk bag, which doesn’t have the gorgeous tin but does contain significantly more tea.
5. The Tao of Tea Loose Leaf Black Dragon Oolong Tea
Not all the companies on this list seem to fully understand oolong tea, despite making a lovely blend.
The Tao of Tea completely understands this style of tea and does their best to educate their consumers, explaining the type of oolong and how this variety has its own distinct flavor profile. They also share how it is traditionally made, from rolling to roasting.
- Best loose leaf oolong tea
- Black Dragon oolong has high oxidation creating a deeper flavor and darker color
- Floral toasted fragrance when brewed with a sweet, grassy flavor
Biggest Drawback: These loose leaves are more fragrant than they are flavorful. They still brew a delicious cup or pot of tea, but the flavor isn’t as strong as some of the tea bags on this list. Because of the type of tea, the flavor is slightly more bitter and smokey, which isn’t to everyone’s tastes.
6. Teas’ Tea Unsweetened Golden Oolong Tea
Not everyone loves hot brewed tea. Some people prefer their tea cold and made for them, ready to drink. Teas’ Tea sources premium, whole leaf teas from sustainable tea farms, and does all the hard work for you.
- Best ready-made oolong tea
- Golden oolong is very aromatic and robustly flavored
- Unsweetened, anti-oxidant rich, and refreshingly satisfying
Biggest Drawback: Ready-made tea is very convenient and perfect for on-the-go tea drinkers, but it leaves no room for personalization.
Some people like to brew their tea a little bit longer for a stronger flavor, others prefer weaker teas. With ready-made tea, you don’t get to choose. That said, Teas’ Tea has done a very admirable job of brewing the tea so that, for the vast majority of drinkers, it is neither too strong nor too weak.
7. Super Organics Metabolism Oolong Tea Pods
This is not a standard oolong tea for many reasons It’s marketed as a “slim tea” that is supposed to help you lose weight quickly because it’s infused with “tummy-taming” ingredients and probiotics.
While the benefits of weight loss are highly controversial, the tea is unarguably delicious and very convenient to prepare quickly for anyone with a pod system.
- Best oolong tea pod, should fit any single-serve brewing system
- Infused with metabolism supporting ingredients such as Yerba Mate, Orange, Garcinia Cambogia, and Rose Hip
- Contains heat-resistant probiotics for additional gut health support
Biggest Drawback: Because of how the tea is marketed there is a lot of room for disappointment. If you don’t see an improvement in your weight management attempts, you should not be surprised.
No reliable studies support these claims. Also, if you’re already a fan of traditional oolong tea, this infused blend made not be what you’re expecting. If you enjoy tasting new flavors, this is one that most drinkers find very pleasing, though not authentically oolong.
8. Stash Tea Chocolate Mint Wuyi Oolong Tea
Mint chocolate anything is a recipe for success and it works brilliantly well in oolong tea. Since oolong is a naturally mild tea, boosting it with hints of chocolate and mint creates a dessert-like experience that is just as suitable for breakfast as for a nighttime relaxation treat.
- Best flavored oolong tea
- Premium individually wrapped tea bags for guaranteed freshness
- Non-GMO verified ingredients
Biggest Drawback: This is a highly aromatic tea with plenty of flavor-promise, but it does need to be steeped for quite a while for the flavor to develop fully.
If you take the bag out too soon, it will be weak and slightly bland, especially because you’re expecting so much from the fragrance.
9. Bigelow Oolong Tea Bags
Bigelow is one of the most well-known tea brands in the US and it is by far the most popular choice for oolong tea as well. It’s a premium quality tea at a budget-friendly price. This particular blend is mild, almost exactly midway between green and black in flavor.
- Best value for the price
- Individually wrapped tea bags preserve flavor, aroma, and freshness
- Mild, mellow flavor but brews into a strong pot of tea
Biggest Drawback: Tea bags do not allow for the same flavor profile that loose leaf teas have, so if you’re used to loose-leaf oolong, you might find that these tea bags are missing a little something in terms of sweetness.
For a tea bag though, the only thing that could make these (potentially) better would be if they were organic.
How Much Caffeine is in Oolong Tea?
Oolong tea does have caffeine it – more than green tea but less than black tea.
For a standard 8 ounce serving, you will get approximately 35–55 mg of caffeine. A similar-sized serving of regular roast coffee is closer to 90 mg by comparison.
For How Long Should You Steep Oolong Tea?
Each brand of tea will have slightly different recommendations for how to steep their tea, based on how it was processed.
Generally, you will be steeping it anywhere from 1 to 5 minutes, but it is best to follow the recommendations on the package you buy.
Generally, if your tea is in leaf form, rather than rolled or in small balls, it will steep more quickly. It’s hard to tell the type of leaves if you have a teabag instead of loose leaf, however.
What Are the Benefits of Drinking Oolong Tea?
The benefits of oolong tea are very similar to the ones claimed by green tea and black tea since it is made from the same type of plant leaves.
Oolong tea is often marketed as a weight-loss tea.
There are a few studies that suggest the type of polyphenols present in oolong tea may create a small spike in your metabolism and decrease the amount of fat transferred into your cells for storage.
As with other types of tea, oolong is thought to be good for your heart, as it may reduce blood pressure and help balance cholesterol levels. Oolong tea has had some research supporting a reduced risk of cancer as well.
Some studies show that the type of antioxidants present in oolong, as well as green tea, can work with the caffeine to not only improve energy levels but also enhance focus and attention span.
However, we’re no experts on nutrition or health. Check with a doctor if confirming these details are important to you.
In the meantime, we can vouch for oolong as a delightful afternoon cup!
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