Formosa Oolong Tea (Taiwan)

What is Formosa Oolong?

Formosa oolongs are a signature range of Taiwanese teas – with a Portuguese name. This is hardly an anomaly, though. ‘Formosa’, meaning ‘beautiful’, was what Portuguese explorers named the island of Taiwan in the 16th century. Here, misty mountains lined with tea gardens churn out some of the most popular teas on the market today, oolongs accounting for over 90% of the total yield. Formosa oolongs are harvested both in spring and in winter, and undergo minimal to moderate fermentation via slow roasting.

A wealth of variety

Varying levels of oxidation (ranging between 10% and 30%) lead to various types of Formosa oolongs. Pouchong (Bao Zhong) is the lightest and “greenest” of them all, while Taiwanese Oriental Beauty (Bai Hao) represents the other end of the oxidation spectrum. Other well-loved varieties include High Mountain Oolong (Gao Shan) and Milk Oolong (Jin Xuan).

The sublime Taiwanese oolong tea: tasting notes

Formosa oolongs are fragrant and complex, with a range of leafy, floral and fruity notes. Most dry leaves have a “green fragrance”. They make “amber colored”, “smooth textured” infusions, with a “subtle earthy taste”, and a “lingering sweetness” that gets further enhanced with every steep. Depending on the type of Formosa oolong you’re drinking, you can expect “toasty”, “raisin-y” or “woodsy” notes. Spring harvested versions are “creamy” in texture and have floral notes, while winter oolongs are “light and aromatic” with a thicker, “mulchier” mouth feel. Being easy to prepare, and “sweet enough to be perfectly enjoyable without sugar”, Formosa oolongs generally work well as everyday teas in both hot and cold versions.

Tea tips

The quality of any Taiwanese oolong is closely linked with the climatic conditions it is grown and harvested in. Premium oolongs are grown in the higher reaches of the mountains, where ample cloud cover and a cool climate allow the leaves adequate time to develop their flavor.

High quality Formosa oolong leaves can also be identified visually. Upon unfurling in hot water, they should take the shape of a stem with a tripe leaf cluster. You should typically be able to get multiple infusions from a good quality Formosa oolong.

(see our top 10 below)


– Which way I ought to go from here?

– That depends a great deal on where you want to get to.

Top 10 best Formosa oolong teas to buy online

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Formosa Pouchong

Formosa Pouchong

Pouchong is a lightly-oxidized Taiwanese oolong, celebrated for its beguiling aroma. As relayed by a tea master, "if there's no fragrance, it's not worth the effort!" As such, our Masters-grade Pouching has a deep and inviting floral nose. The liquor is a pale golden-green color with ...

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Dong Ding Oolong Tea

Dong Ding Oolong Tea

Nantou County Oolong tea. WINTER 2014 HARVEST - Some say that oolong was created in China and perfected in Taiwan. We say that light-oxidation oolong was created in China and perfected in our Dong Ding Oolong. Skillfully produced in the Dong Ding region in Nantou, the mountainous center of Taiwan, ...

1
Formosa Oolong (Adagio)

Formosa Oolong (Adagio)

Formosa Oolong is a darker style oolong tea from Taiwan, formerly known as Formosa (which means 'beautiful', given by the Portuguese explorers of the island). Deep raisiny and ripe fruit aroma, autumn 'leafy' notes. Lingering sweet flavor and smooth, refreshingly fruity astringency. This Formosa ...

1
Milk Oolong

Milk Oolong

Milk Oolong is a relatively new cultivar in the delicious world of Taiwanese teas and is prized for its inherent cream and butter notes. Lower quality versions have these notes enhanced through aromatization but the finest, true Milk Oolongs offer lightly roasted, rolled leaves that yield a ...

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Formosa Ali Shan

Formosa Ali Shan

Ali Shan is a beautiful green oolong tea grown in the mountains of Taiwan, where high altitude slows plant growth, concentrating in its leaves great complexity and flavor. Its aroma is buttery and intoxicating floral, reminiscent of lilacs, the mark of an excellent green oolong. The ...

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99% Oxidized Purple Oolong

99% Oxidized Purple Oolong

Oolong Tea. This hand-rolled dark purple leaf offers a full-bodied, smoky brew with notes of musk and cinnamon. This tea can be steeped multiple times, and the strong, smoldering flavor makes it a good tea for long afternoons of sustained work or deep thoughts. This is a great transitional tea ...

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Formosa Oolong Tea Cake

Formosa Oolong Tea Cake

Oolong Tea. While Darjeeling may be considered the champagne of black teas, this unique oolong tea cake may just be the champagne of oolongs. This cake differs from a pu-erh cake in that it is not fermented and it is not as firmly compressed. Instead the leaves are finely interwoven, allowing ...

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Orchid Oolong

Orchid Oolong

Oolong Tea. Our Orchid Oolong tea is grown in the hilltops of Nantou, Taiwan. Often covered in cool mist and surrounded by crisp streams, the leaves are hand-picked and basket-tossed in a process known as oxidization. They are then rolled into kernels that wait to unfold in your teapot. The ...

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Brandy Oolong Tea

Brandy Oolong Tea

Oolong tea. Brandy Oolong gets its name from the beautiful brandy-colored liquor it produces. Compared to other oolong teas, Brandy Oolong is more oxidized, resulting in a smooth, complex cup. Lovely, lingering flavors of plums, figs and molasses are evident with each sip. In Taiwan, this tea is ...

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Superfine Taiwan Ali Shan Oolong Tea

Superfine Taiwan Ali Shan Oolong Tea

Taiwan Ali Shan Oolong is a typical kind of Taiwan High Mountain Tea. This tea is from Ali Mountain, which is the birthland of High Mountain Tea. The tea garden where Taiwan Ali Shan Oolong Tea grows locates at the altitude between 800 meters to 1400 meters. On the high mountain, climate is cold ...

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