More than any other tea category in the world, oolong is considered the true “art form” of tea processing. As many readers may well be aware, all traditional teas (excluding herbal teas) are derived from the same plant; Camellia sinensis. The leaves for various tea categories are all plucked from the same type of plant and differ only in how they are processed afterwards. For many tea drinkers, the fact that so many flavours and experiences can be derived from one single plant is a point of great amazement. For many, tea is a symbol of two forces colliding to form something of astounding beauty. In any given cup of tea, the natural and the human come together in perfection. The combination of natural forces and human ingenuity is in fact so encapsulating, that in today’s world, tea is the second most widely consumed beverage. The first is water. I have come across many tea bloggers who often remark that the hobby they have selected to take most of their free time, and indeed their greatest passion, amounts to simple “leaf water.” They have a point. What makes tea so remarkable is its inherent simplicity. This “leaf water,” while appearing so simple, can be deceivingly complex.
Our Formosa Oolong is the prime example of how tea, while seemingly just “leaf water,” is able to pack a punch in terms of flavour and complexity. As discussed above, tea categories differ from each other only in how the leaves are processed after being harvested. For Oolong teas, the processing is long and requires many steps and masters of great skill all along the line. Considered to be the category of tea with the most processing needed, Oolong teas are without a doubt a work of art in their own right. Roasting, plucking, growing, and drying are only a few of the steps that Oolong goes through in order to achieve its flavour.
At each step along the way, Oolong teas are handled by master tea processors who have dedicated their entire careers to creating the best teas in the world. Over centuries, these tea masters have perfected their craft to expertly handle the variables involved. For our Formosa Oolong, we source our tea from these tea masters who take their time with the product. No tea that falls below their standards is sold. As masters of tea processing, they have pride in their work and their pride shows in the finished product. When you receive our Formosa Oolong, one thing that you will notice is that unlike many other types of tea, the leaves are rolled tightly into ball shapes. Hand rolling is one of the last steps in processing a fine oolong tea, and this is no exception. The rolling of the oolong leaves allow the flavours to release slowly over a greater period of time, which means that the tea can even be infused multiple times. After your first cup, go ahead and make another with the same leaves. You may see developments in the way the flavour has expanded between cups. infusing your oolong multiple times can bring you more in touch with the tea’s many complexities.
As for the actual Formosa Oolong itself, it has no lack of complexity or flavour. When first brewed, the tea exhibits a wonderfully rich, light amber colour with subtle green hues. Swirling the tea slightly in the cup reveals a viscous body that is accentuated when more leaves are used. On the nose, the tea is inviting and sweet with some nuttiness and light vegetal (not unlike fresh cut grass), as well as sweetness that overarches the entire aroma. On the palate, the tea has a full bodied mineral sweetness that is especially noticeable on the sides and back of the mouth, rounding out the entire flavour experience. The tea lightens up significantly after the first infusion, calming down to a thin body with lighter, more subdued flavours and aromas. Because of its verdant and refreshing flavour profile, high intensity, and thick body, our Formosa Oolong would be an ideal candidate for drinking over ice. To enjoy the tea cold, brew it with more leaves than you usually would to drink it hot. Fill a large glass (wine glasses make this iced tea especially interesting) with ice and slowly pour the tea over the ice until the glass is full.
When we originally decided to offer this exceptional Oolong to our clients, we wanted a tea that would pack the biggest punch in terms of value. The fine attention to detail by the hands of master tea processors and the tea’s full and balanced flavour makes this one of our many pride and joys of the products we sell. The flavours in the tea are perfectly suited for any time of the year and for any occasion. It is priced so that it can be enjoyed every day by most people and it can truly up the level of any tea collection it is added to. For more information on our Formosa Oolong, you can check out our product page here. As always, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below if you have any comments or questions regarding anything on the site. Happy sipping!