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Formosa Oolong Tea
Pronounced "ooh-long" you’ll also find Oolong tea spelled "wulong tea" or "wu long tea". This is an excellent choice as an introduction to Taiwanese tea. Formosa translates to "beautiful island" which is what early Dutch traders called Taiwan. The teas harvested in the tea region north of Taipei, are still often referred to this today. Formosa Oolong tea is harvested up to 6 times a year, although teas grown in the higher mountains may be only be plucked twice a year. Tea leaves are harvested first in the lower elevation tea gardens in the Spring and gradually higher up the mountain as the seasons progress. During the Winter this harvesting proceeds in reverse.
Oolong tea was a very important export for Taiwan until the 1980's, when tea growers began focusing more on native oolong enthusiasts. The tea culture is so strong in Taiwan that annual competitions are held between the various tea growing districts to reward the most outstanding oolongs each year. Gold medal winning oolongs are some of the highest quality and most expensive in the world. Taiwan grown oolongs account for almost 20% of world production. Oolong means semi fermented. After rolling, the tea is fermented until the edges of the leaves begin to turn brown. The tea is then fired which halts the fermenting process and captures the unique character associated with Oolong tea. In Taiwan, producing tea involves great experience in the control of the withering, oxidation and firing. A slight variance in any of these will disrupt the signature aroma, color, flavor and finish. Many serious tea aficionados believe the world’s best Oolongs come from Taiwan.
A time honored tradition in Taiwan, the making of oolong tea is regarded as a cherished art that involves years of training. The legacy of the tea farmer is typically passed down through many generations as only years of dedicated practice and study in understanding the unique character of Taiwan tea leaves, can result in producing the exceptional quality oolong tea that the island is famous for. The tea farmer must master everything from the nursing of the seedlings, planting, nourishing the bushes and determining the ideal time to pluck the leaves. The earliest record of tea trees found in Taiwan can be traced back to 1717. In 1867, British entrepreneur John Dodd started a tea company in Taipei, Taiwan, and began exporting Taiwanese oolong tea under the name "Formosa Oolong". Aware of British plans to develop a tea industry in India, he successfully sought to profit from developing an alternative tea product on the island. During World War II while Taiwan was occupied, the production of tea was greatly expanded. This extra production was exported to Japan to supplement their domestic tea production, which was falling below ever increasing domestic demand. The flavor profile of our Formosa Oolong is slightly sweet, astringent and toasty with a hint of dryness. Our Formosa Oolong produces a rich amber liquid. Steep at 212° for 3-5 minutes.
Caffeine level is low. 1 oz makes approximately 12 cups of tea.