Once upon a time, Taiwan was known as Formosa (meaning ‘beautiful’), a name given to the island centuries ago by Portuguese explorers. Taiwan is known for producing oolongs of incomparable flavour and quality, with my personal favourites being sourced from a higher elevation and oxidized at a lower level (Alishan, for example). Today’s tea up for review is a darker style of oolong from Tealish called Formosa Oolong, and I’m interested to see if it actually tastes how it’s described above/on the packaging: mellow, fragrant, and earthy. Time to find out!
Formosa Oolong comes packaged in a resealable foil pouch, the white label plastered on the front features purple accents. The dry leaf has a somewhat minced appearance to it; consisting of small, dark looking tea leaves and stems. Some are a chocolate brown, most are darker brown in colour (borderlining on black), and then there’s the occasional hint of green. The ingredients list consists of: Taiwanese oolong tea.
Tealish suggests steeping Formosa Oolong for 2-5 minutes in boiling water. I decided to steep Formosa Oolong for 3 minutes in water heated to 190°F (the oolong preset on my variable kettle).
After just over three minutes, Formosa Oolong steeps to a rich, auburn coloured infusion. When it comes to the resulting scent, fragrant is honestly an understatement. It is both woodsy and fruity, raisin-like, even. To me, it almost kind of reminds me of autumn weather as well, which I find comforting, what with the first day of fall coming up. Taste wise, there’s thankfully very little astringency or bitterness to be found. Just a smooth, earthy brew paired with a refreshing element of fruitiness and a slightly sweet finish that lingers on the tongue.
For a darker style oolong, Tealish’s Formosa Oolong is a lot more mellow than I expected it to be. The flavour isn’t overwhelming, but has enough complexity and body to still be quite enjoyable. It is definitely a step away from the oolongs that I typically reach for, but I can appreciate it for what it is just the same. A no nonsense oolong that is well balanced from beginning to end (flavour, hue, aroma, etc.).
Do you know how to say the word ‘beautiful’ in another languange? Sound off in the comments below!
Stay tuned for a fall classic!
Until we steep again…