Oriental Beauty Oolong (Bai Hao)

What is Oriental Beauty Oolong?

Oriental Beauty (Bai Hao) is a unique variety of Formosa (Taiwanese) oolong, with an interesting, ‘organic’ method of cultivation associated with it. Skilled tea farmers pick the leaves of the tea plant in the summer months (June and July), choosing only those that have been bitten by a tiny insect known as the leafhopper (Jacobiasca formosana). Science backs this up; when bitten by this insect – considered a pest in most other parts of the world – the Bai Hao plant produces certain hormones that impart a unique flavor to the tea leaves. Successfully harvesting a batch of Oriental Beauty oolong is no less than precision work. Pesticides cannot be used, lest they kill the leaf hoppers. And the leaves have to be carefully chosen based on the number of insect bites on them.

What kind of tea is it?

Every batch of Oriental Beauty is the result of hard work and specialist cultivation. But the result is highly rewarding. The leaves are gorgeous to look at, presenting shades of white, green, gold, browns and reds. They make a beautiful infusion as well, producing a clear, bright, amber colored liquor. Oriental Beauty is a heavily oxidized Formosa oolong, its oxidation scale (65%-85%) placing it very close to black teas. It is slightly sweet and velvety smooth, its flavor commonly referred to as “peach and honey”.

Tasting notes

Oriental Beauty oolong is primarily known for its sweet, “intoxicating” aroma and “honeyed undertones”. The taste is often described as “autumnal”, thanks to its hints of fruits, spices and roasted nuts. Its “citrusy, spicy flavor” is accompanied by “a brown sugar like sweetness” and an “agreeable amount of astringency”. The overall floral palate balances the earthiness of the tea, making it “strong, but not overpowering”.

Tea tips

Taiwanese Oriental Beauty Oolong leaves will have characteristic white furry tips. They can be used for multiple infusions, though it is best to not steep them for too long, as this can lead to a bitter taste in your cup. Depending on the strength of the brew you’re going for, adjust the amount of tea you use rather than its steeping time. It is also advisable to use fresh water at about 85°C to brew your batch of Oriental Beauty oolong.

(see our top 3 picks below)


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Top 3 Best Bai Hao Oolongs To Buy Online

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Formosa Bai Hao

Formosa Bai Hao is known by many names - Oriental Beauty, White Tip Oolong, Champagne oolong and Fancy Formosa Silver Tip, to name just a few. This heavily oxidized Taiwanese tea is one of the most prized oolongs in the world. Incredibly sweet, fruity and lush with a delicate warm spicy ...

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