Get Ready for Chinese New Year with Grand Oolong Teas—For Flavor and Digestion
January comes with a blitzkrieg of pledges. To eat less, and healthier. To exercise more, and cut back on drinking alcoho. People vow to devote more time on the meditation cushion, and to finally take a pottery class.
Few people vow to optimize their digestion. But it’s a grand idea. We all eat multiple times a day. Modern diets rich in fats, sugar, salt and processed foods, however, don’t exactly sing lullabies to our digestive tracts. Instead, they shout and growl at the parts of our bodies charged with absorbing the foods we eat, taking advantage of nutrients and other important edible contributions like fiber, and disposing of the rest.
And when digestion suffers, so does the rest of our body. Bloating, heartburn and abdominal pain spike. Losing weight (a classic January pursuit) gets challenged. We feel fatigue, and even nausea.
An efficient, fine-tuned digestive tract is essential for robust health. A fair bit of its vigor does hinge on things like diet, exercise and stress management. But nature also offers botanicals, like ginger, that famously assist with digestion. And we offer a wide variety of teas that contain the zippy rhizome, along with other botanicals lauded for bolstering digestion.
Chinese teas for digestion
But as we inch closer to Chinese New Year next month, we appreciate how people in China take care of their digestive systems. One foundation? Tea. Specifically, oolong.
Of the main styles of traditional Camellia sinensis tea—green, white, oolong, black and puerh—oolong offers an especially diverse range of variations. Where green and white teas undergo none or little oxidation, and black sees heavy oxidation, oolong straddles those two poles. That broad middle space allows for wildly different teas.
People across China sip many different oolongs for the sake of digestion, as well as beautiful flavor. There must be something about oolong’s oxidation levels that stimulates the digestive juices.
With winter grasping us in its grip for another few months, compelling us to indulge in heavy (and satisfying) comfort foods, we need to lend our digestive tracts a hand! And for those who honor Chinese New Year, the urgency for digestive strengthening is keen—on February 10th, we begin 15 days of celebration!
Chinese Teas for Digestion: Da Hong Pao
The global inventory of oolong teas is broad; so many styles get grown, sipped and shipped around the world. And Da Hong Pao, which means “Big Red Robe” in Chinese, is the most famous among them. This beauty comes from China’s Wu Yi Mountains in coastal Fujian Province, which produce some of the most esteemed oolongs in the world, including the prized “rock” oolongs. Records reveal that people have been savoring Da Hong Pao since the early 18th century. This outstanding tea is revered for its powerful fragrance and rich, roasted flavor. It also offers a pleasant, lingering sweetness. For any Chinese New Year celebration, it’s a must. Red is a key color for the holiday!
Chinese Teas for Digestion: Tie Guan Yin
As with Da Hong Pao, the tea Tie Guan Yin is from Fujian Province, home to some of the world’s finest oolongs. Count this tea, which means “Iron Goddess of Mercy” in Chinese, among them. Tie Guan Yin is honored for its sweet and floral fragrance, a unique and lovely scent that improves the tea-sipping experience. It also offers a bright taste and smooth finish, with a lingering sweetness. As with most good oolongs, Tie Guan Yin responds beautifully to multiple infusions. With each new infusion, the flavors and aromas blossom and transform. Highly recommended for Chinese New Year!
Chinese Teas for Digestion: Dan Cong Honey Orchid
For this grand tea we pivot away from Fujian Province and head directly south to Guangdong Province, another coastal region of sprawling China. While tea farmers in Guangdong cultivate a variety of oolongs, Dan Cong Honey Orchid stands as its signature tea. Dan Cong means “single grove,” and all Dan Congs come from individual groves—rather than getting sourced from groves across a vast tea farm. Teas harvested from each grove are then processed individually, yielding novel fragrances for leaves from different groves. This Dan Cong broadcasts a sweet orchid aroma with notes of apricot.
Chinese Teas for Digestion: Osmanthus Oolong
This tea combines the digestive advantages of oolong—in this case, lovely oolong from Fujian Province—with fresh osmanthus flowers. In Chinese medicine, practitioners use osmanthus to address a range of conditions and to achieve different health benefits. Among them: curbing appetite, dispelling phlegm, refreshing breath and, yes, improving digestion. The osmanthus also contributes beautiful floral notes to the earthy oolong. We fully embrace this tea for taste and health, and seek it out during Chinese New Year.