Oolong tea is a traditional Chinese tea that’s partially oxidized, falling somewhere between green tea (which is not oxidized) and black tea (which is fully oxidized). Depending on the oxidation level and other processing techniques, it has a unique, complex flavor profile ranging from light and floral to dark and roasted.
After extensively testing several dozen oolong tea brands, we selected the best teas based on form, flavor intensity, and price. Whether you prefer loose-leaf or tea bags, mild or robust flavors, decaf or not, and irrespective of your budget, our guide will help you find the best oolong tea.
Here are the best oolong teas on the market:
The 8 Best Oolong Teas
After extensively testing a wide range of oolong teas – spanning loose-leaf and tea bags, robust to decaf, and budget-friendly to premium options – we’ve narrowed down our top selections.
Here they are.
1. Rishi Iron Goddess of Mercy Loose-Leaf Oolong Tea – Best Oolong Tea Overall
Rishi Iron Goddess of Mercy Loose-Leaf Oolong Tea stands among the best Oolong teas available, offering a unique taste and aroma. This tea blend originates from Taiwan’s central Nantou county and is handcrafted in the serene Mingjian Village. The tea is a blend of Wuyi and Qingxin oolong cultivars, prepared using medium oxidation and moderate roasting via an electric brazier. This process generates a smooth, rich palate that emanates aromas of roasted buckwheat and a subtle note of dried apricot.
The product is sold as loose-leaf tea in a one-pound package, allowing for numerous servings. Note that this tea contains a high level of caffeine.
- Smooth and rich flavor with notes of roasted buckwheat and dried apricot.
- Non-GMO, grown without pesticides and fertilizers.
- Sold in a one-pound package, promising a substantial number of servings.
- Able to be brewed several times in one session.
- High caffeine content, suitable for those seeking an energy boost.
- The cost may be prohibitive for some consumers.
- The grain-like flavor may not appeal to all tastes.
- High caffeine content may not be suitable for all individuals.
2. Vahdam High Mountain Loose-Leaf Oolong Tea – Runner-up
With its distinctive light and floral-fruity flavor, Vahdam High Mountain Loose-Leaf Oolong Tea is among the best oolong teas. This tea is directly procured from high-altitude plantations in the Himalayas, renowned for their subtle flavor profiles. Each 12-ounce package contains well-rolled, dark-tan leaves cleaned and vacuum-sealed at the source, retaining their freshness and unique taste attributes. When steeped, this tea creates a medium-bodied cup, marked by a woody sweetness and a noticeable floral hue. Notes of hyacinth and lavender introduce the palate, evolving into a lingering grapefruit finish. Due to its high caffeine content, it’s suggested for morning consumption. Vahdam’s responsible practices also contribute to the appeal of this product; they offset their carbon footprint and reinvest 1% of their revenue into the education of their farmers’ children while also managing plastic waste.
- The tea leaves are procured directly from top-tier Himalayan plantations.
- The vacuum-sealed packaging helps retain the tea’s freshness and robust flavor.
- Vahdam is committed to sustainable and ethical practices.
- The tea has a complex, medium-bodied flavor with floral, fruity, and woody notes.
- Its high caffeine content makes it a suitable morning beverage.
- Some people may find the flavor profile too complex or different from standard oolong teas. The taste of the tea is more like black tea than typical oolong.
- High caffeine content might not suit everyone, especially those sensitive to caffeine.
- The leaves appearance (short and dark) differs from what is typically expected from oolong tea.
- The price point is relatively high compared to other teas.
3. Teatulia Organic Oolong Tea Bags – Best Oolong Tea Bags
Teatulia Organic Oolong Tea Bags provides an uncomplicated Oolong tea experience. Packaged in 50 compostable pyramid bags, each bag contains large, grey-spotted, black oolong tea leaves. When brewed, the tea presents a complex flavor profile reminiscent of fresh pie crust, lemon, and sake. The tea also releases an aroma of sweet butterscotch with spicy and floral undertones.
These tea bags are a testament to Teatulia’s environmental consciousness, being plant-based and free from microplastics. The packaging, a resealable pouch, is designed to preserve the freshness of the tea leaves. Being USDA Organic, Gluten Free, Kosher, and Vegan, this product aligns with various dietary needs. Among the best oolong tea bags, Teatulia’s offering combines sustainability, quality, and convenience, as evident in the brand’s practices and product design.
- Distinctive taste and aroma with a rich flavor profile.
- Environmentally conscious packaging and tea bags.
- The product aligns with various dietary needs.
- The package contains 50 pyramid tea bags, offering multiple servings.
- The tea leaves are stored in a resealable bag to maintain freshness.
- The company’s practices reflect a commitment to social and environmental responsibility.
- The price point might be high for some consumers.
- Potential for a bitter aftertaste if steeped for an extended period.
4. Tealyra Milk Jin Xuan Supreme – Best Milk Oolong Tea
The Milk Jin Xuan Supreme, a product of Tealyra, is an organic oolong tea originating from Taiwan’s Jin Xuan Mountain. It is noted for being one of the best milk oolong teas available due to its distinctive creamy mouthfeel and flavor reminiscent of buttery milk. The unique taste results from a labor-intensive, traditional production method that includes hand-picking tea leaves, a 12-hour baking process, and an infusion of water and powdered milk before the leaves are dried and heated.
This carefully controlled process, mindful of time, temperature, altitude, and soil conditions, ensures the preservation of the intrinsic flavor of the tea, even through multiple infusions. The tea’s appearance is appealing, with a fragrant, pale yellow hue when steeped. The velvety smooth texture is coupled with subtle floral notes that linger long after tasting.
The Milk Jin Xuan Supreme is available as loose-leaf tea and tea bags; however, we tested only the loose-leaf variant for this review.
- Notably creamy and buttery flavor and texture.
- Retains flavor through multiple steepings.
- Certified organic, with a characteristic milky mouthfeel.
- Simple preparation with the option for a second steeping.
- Natural ingredients are used in the production process.
- Suitable for both hot and iced tea preparation.
- Contains stems, a feature not favored by all tea drinkers.
- The strong milk aroma may not appeal to everyone. It may also seem artificial to some seasoned oolong drinkers.
- Price may be high for some consumers.
5. Purely Native Decaffeinated Loose-Leaf Oolong Tea – Best Decaf Oolong Tea
Purely Native Decaffeinated Loose-Leaf Oolong Tea delivers all the rich flavors and enticing aroma of traditional oolong tea, without the caffeine. As one of the best decaf oolong teas on the market, this product offers a tasteful blend of smoky, woodsy, and nutty notes, manifesting the tea’s distinguished taste profile.
The tea is available in two convenient formats – loose-leaf and triangle tea bags. This oolong variety is decaffeinated using pressurized carbon dioxide. This meticulous process removes caffeine but preserves the tea’s flavor and beneficial antioxidants. Hence, you can enjoy your favorite cup of tea any time of the day without worrying about disrupting your sleep cycle. However, if you’re extremely sensitive to caffeine, trace amounts may remain in the leaves even after decaffeination.
While steeping this loose-leaf tea, don’t be surprised if you encounter the occasional small stone or tiny stem. The brand considers these remnants treasures that pay tribute to the tea’s natural origins.
- Allows you to enjoy the richness of oolong tea without caffeine-induced jitters.
- Available in both loose-leaf and triangle tea bag variants.
- Maintains freshness, flavor, and antioxidant properties despite the decaffeination process.
- Offers a full-bodied taste with smoky, woodsy, and nutty notes.
- The quality of the tea allows for multiple steepings per serving.
- The resealable bag ensures freshness and ease of storage.
- No additives are included in this 100% raw tea.
- Trace amounts of caffeine may remain, which may concern those highly sensitive to caffeine.
- Some customers may find the product to be a bit costly.
- Some users may find the flavor weaker than expected, requiring adding more leaves or steeping longer.
- Small stones or stems may be present in the loose-leaf tea.
6. The Republic of Tea, Dragon Oolong Tea Bags – Good Choice Overall
The Republic of Tea’s Dragon Oolong Tea Bags is a decent oolong tea that balances an aromatic floral scent and a lingering finish, characteristic of its unique origin. This tea has a deep color that reflects its inherent quality, and it comes in hardy tin packaging consisting of 36 individually wrapped tea bags for convenience.
The Dragon Oolong tea contains less caffeine than a standard cup of coffee, making it a suitable choice for those seeking to moderate their caffeine intake. The tea bags are easy to use, making it simple to steep the tea to your desired strength. This product is also carb-free, gluten-free, sugar-free, and certified Kosher, allowing it to align with various dietary preferences and needs.
- Floral aroma and rich flavor.
- Individually packaged tea bags in a durable tin.
- Dietary-friendly with certifications such as Kosher, carb-free, gluten-free, and sugar-free.
- Originates from China’s Fujian Province, ensuring authentic Oolong quality.
- Many users reported that the tea had a calming effect.
- The taste may be too mild for those used to a robust flavor profile.
- Price may be higher compared to similar products.
- Lack of a string on the tea bag, which some users may find inconvenient.
7. Harney & Sons Loose-Leaf Formosa Oolong – Good Choice Overall
The Loose-Leaf Formosa Oolong by Harney & Sons represents Taiwanese tea tradition in your cup. This type of oolong, known for its brownish hue, is oxidized to about 75%, making it darker than most other oolong teas. The tea’s appearance is distinct with its dark brown leaves and stems, a characteristic method of Taiwanese tea-making. The Formosa Oolong offers a unique blend of flavors: subtle sweet notes of peaches and roasted carrots overlaid with a prominent toasted walnut taste. Packaged as a loose leaf, this tea provides flexibility in adjusting the quantity per individual preference. The product is available in a 3-ounce tin, a 1 lb. bag, and a 5-ounce tin. Despite its rich flavor, it’s known to have a medium body, implying it’s not as intense as some might expect from oolong teas, which could place it among the best oolong teas for those who prefer milder flavors.
- Offers a unique combination of toasty and fruity flavors.
- Comes in a loose-leaf form, providing flexibility in brew strength.
- Various packaging options are available.
- Can be enjoyed with or without sugar.
- Has a medium body, making it less intense than some other oolongs.
- Generally regarded as fresh and bold in flavor.
- Harney & Sons is a known brand in the tea industry.
- Some may find the flavor less complex compared to other oolongs.
- Might not satisfy those seeking a full-bodied Taiwanese oolong.
- Not as smoky as some other oolong varieties.
TIAN HU SHAN Premium Loose-Leaf Oolong Tea is a good oolong tea available in a 14-ounce package. It is meticulously made from tender oolong leaves, manually picked from the company’s tea mountain in Fujian, China. Each leaf is chosen to ensure the highest quality, maximizing the unique roasted aroma and mellow flavor profile that defines this oolong tea. The tea leaves have a dark brown color and full appearance, hinting at the richness of the brew they produce – a thick, aromatic tea soup with a lingering sweetness.
Also known as Iron Buddha, this tie guan yin loose-leaf variant of oolong tea is balanced, medium baked, and approximately 30% oxidized, offering complex fresh and dark flavors with soothing notes of fruits and roasted hazelnut. The tightly rolled, yellowish-auburn leaves are uniform in size and color, giving a visual testament to the consistency of the tea quality.
Packaged in a durable and attractive tin box, the tea is organic and free from additives, artificial flavors, and artificial fragrances, making it a pure oolong tea experience. With a medium caffeine level and a balanced oxidization level, this tea offers a natural and refreshing experience for novice and seasoned tea enthusiasts alike.
- Made from hand-picked, high-quality oolong tea leaves.
- Produces a robust, mellow tea with a unique roasted aroma and sweet aftertaste.
- Large 14-ounce tin offers good value for money.
- Tin box packaging is attractive and durable.
- Organic and free from artificial additives or flavors.
- Suitable for both hot and iced tea preparations.
- Flexible brewing options, with the possibility of multiple infusions.
- May not appeal to those who prefer a less roasted, sweeter oolong flavor.
- The flavor profile may be less rich and complex than other premium oolongs.
- Requires careful brewing to avoid a bitter taste.
- Some users may find the tea to be stronger than expected.
How We Selected the Best Oolong Teas
Our selection was based on form, flavor intensity, and price.
Oolong teas are available in two primary forms: loose-leaf and tea bags. Loose-leaf tea often provides a fuller flavor, retaining the quality of the tea leaves. Meanwhile, tea bags are convenient and ideal for those who want a quick, easy brew without sacrificing much flavor. The best oolong tea brands offer both forms, catering to various tastes and needs.
Just like its form, the flavor intensity of oolong tea varies. Some varieties have a strong, robust flavor, while others are more subtle and mild. A decaf variation is also available for those who want to enjoy the best-tasting oolong tea without the caffeine. The best oolong tea is about finding a balance that suits your palate.
The price of oolong tea can vary significantly, influenced by factors such as its origin, processing, and packaging. Price per cup can be a helpful gauge when comparing different options. Affordable options might not deliver the same depth of flavor as more expensive ones, but they can still make a good oolong tea. However, a high-quality oolong tea often justifies its price by providing a superior taste experience.
Tips for Choosing the Best Oolong Tea
Choosing the best oolong tea involves more than just picking a random brand off the shelf. Here are some tips to help you choose:
- Consider the Form: As mentioned, oolong tea comes in two primary forms – loose-leaf and tea bags. Loose-leaf is typically considered superior due to the fuller flavor profile it offers. Still, if convenience is your priority, tea bags might be a better choice.
- Flavor Intensity: If you’re new to oolong, start with a lighter, more floral variety before moving on to the stronger ones. Oolong can range from light and floral to dark and roasted, so consider your flavor preferences. Remember, there is also a decaf option if you’re caffeine-sensitive.
- Price: While more expensive options often offer a higher-quality experience, breaking the bank on an excellent oolong tea is not always necessary. Consider the cost per cup, and try different options to find the best value for money.
- Origin: The best oolong tea typically comes from China or Taiwan, but teas from other regions can also be delightful. The region can significantly affect the tea’s taste, so don’t be afraid to explore.
- Organic or Non-organic: If you prefer natural products without synthetic fertilizers or pesticides, look for the best organic oolong tea. It’s not only healthier but also often more flavorful.
- Packaging: Check if the packaging is airtight and keeps the tea fresh. Proper packaging is vital as it preserves the tea’s aroma and flavor.
- Brand Reputation: Finally, always consider the reputation of the brand. The best oolong tea brands will have good customer reviews and a strong history of producing high-quality tea.
Using these tips as a guide, you can find the best oolong tea that suits your palate and lifestyle.
While we’ve rigorously tested numerous brands to identify the best oolong teas, new products continually emerge. We commit to keeping this list updated as we review these fresh additions.
Remember, tea is a personal experience, and the best oolong tea for us may not be the best for you. Don’t hesitate to explore and find your perfect brew – your ideal oolong tea could be just a sip away.
What Does Oolong Tea Taste Like?
Oolong tea has a complex flavor profile that can vary from light and floral to dark and roasted, depending on its oxidation level.
What to Put In Oolong Tea?
While oolong tea can be enjoyed on its own, adding a dash of honey or a slice of lemon can enhance its flavor.
How to Make Oolong Tea?
Making oolong tea is simple. Boil water, pour it over your tea leaves or bag, and let it steep for 3-5 minutes. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions often found on the packaging for the best results.
What Are the Health Benefits of Oolong Tea?
Oolong tea boasts several health benefits, including aiding weight loss, improving heart health, boosting metabolism, and promoting skin health.
How Much Caffeine Is in Oolong Tea?
A typical cup of oolong tea contains about 30-50 milligrams of caffeine, less than half the caffeine content of a cup of coffee.
Is It Good to Drink Oolong Tea Everyday?
Yes, drinking oolong tea daily is safe for most people. It can contribute to overall health due to its antioxidant properties.
What Is the Best Time to Drink Oolong Tea?
The best time to drink oolong tea can vary depending on individual preferences. Some people find it a great morning beverage, while others prefer it in the afternoon.
Where Does the Best Oolong Tea Come From?
The best oolong tea traditionally comes from China and Taiwan, where the conditions are perfect for growing high-quality tea leaves. However, excellent options can be found worldwide, depending on your flavor preferences.