Formosa Oolong #8

Tea type
Oolong Tea
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Earth, Autumn Leaf Pile, Honey, Oak wood, Plums, Raisins, Tobacco
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Edit tea info Last updated by John Grebe
Average preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 30 sec 8 oz / 236 ml

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65 Tasting Notes View all

From Adagio Teas

Oolong tea from Taiwan. Formosa, meaning ‘beautiful’ was what the Portuguese explorers called this island. The oolong tea grown here continues to be called as such. The intense pungency and exquisite bouquet of Formosa Oolong tea is regarded to be the finest in the world. The ‘Oolong Symphony no. 8,’ comprised of large ‘choicest’ grade copper-red leaves with beautiful tips of silver is a wonderful introduction to this variety.

Also on the package: A darker oolong from Taiwan, formerly known as Formosa. Deep raisiny and ripe fruit aroma, autumn leafy note. Lingering flavor and smooth, refreshingly fruity astringency. A lovely introduction to Taiwanese tea.

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Adagio Teas has become one of the most popular destinations for tea online. Its products are available online at and in many gourmet and health food stores.

65 Tasting Notes

12 tasting notes

Got a sample and was sold on oolongs immediately. On the light side, green, and a bit sweet.

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5 tasting notes

Free sample tacked on to last order. <3

Dry leaves: a bit smaller that my other oolongs, dark brown and tan with leaves and stems, pleasantly rich and sweet aroma, like a well-loved cabin, subtle fruity notes.

Liquor: orange brown brew, mellowed from dry scent+touch of earth, touch of pipe tobacco. Moderately astringent, woodsy/musty overtones, faintly sweet. I think I will steep a bit longer (20-30 seconds longer)next time. As it cools it becomes richer and smoother.

A pretty nice dark oolong, could definitely see myself drinking this again, especially on a fall afternoon.

200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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108 tasting notes

I got this tea as part of the Adagio Formosa Sampler. The first two teas in it, Pouchong and Jade Oolong were on the green side. This crosses the line to the black side of oolong. In fact, if I hadn’t known better, I would have thought this was a black tea. The package calls for it to be steeped in boiling water (I stopped short of that) and it steeped up a reddish brown—like a Ceylon or Darjeeling. The first steeping made me think of the Yunnan Dian Hong. It has that earthy flavor to it. Reviews I read described it as “woodsy” and “raisin-y” and I think that’s right. The second steeping is more mellow, reminiscent of cinnamon. It’s only a sample, which in a way is a shame, because I suspect it takes a bit getting used to, and for now I don’t think it’s going to bump Pouchong and Big Red Robe for go-to Oolong among the ones I’ve tried. But I certainly wouldn’t turn away from it if gifted or served to me. It’s a fine, very enjoyable tea—and without the mineral taste that I dislike in some oolongs—this would actually partner well with milk, which isn’t something I can say of other oolongs I’ve tried.

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 15 sec

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1 tasting notes

This is my first real oolong so any rating is purely subjective and based more on my experiences with my limited selection of mostly Yunnan Golden teas. It smells good, reminds me of fallen leaves. At just under boiling temperature, steeped under 3 minutes, I feel the taste is not quite as strong as I would like but it is still enjoyable. As my first oolong it is very hard to place the taste in context. It is an enjoyable cup of tea, yet it leaves me wanting more.

205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 15 sec

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266 tasting notes

A very enjoyable dark oolong that is lighter and does not have any clear roasted notes. Overall a smooth rich taste that is slightly earthy and woodsy and at a very cheap price for oolong that does not equate low quality in this case.

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec

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55 tasting notes

The big takeaway from this tea is that it tastes oddly of cedar. It’s not bad, but very unexpected. I don’t think I’ve had a tea that tasted of cedar before.

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921 tasting notes

Have you ever had a nightmare so bad that it left you shaken the entirety of the next day and with an overwhelming desire to not sleep ever again? Well that was my night last night. I am quite annoyed at my brain for giving me such a nasty dream, and I didn’t even provoke it by watching something scary before sleep. I got my revenge by being upbeat and cheerful aw much as possible, haha, take that, brain!

Today’s tea is a classic tea from the island of Formosa. For those who do not know Formosa was the name that Portuguese sailors gave Taiwan, the name means beautiful and from photos I have seen it is an apt description. Formosa Oolong from Adagio Teas is thought to be an introduction to Taiwanese Oolongs, and it was certainly one of the first that I tried. The aroma of this tea is sweet with notes of loam, tobacco, raisins, old flowers (think orchids that are not rotten but are certainly on their last legs, smells heady and a little dead) and honey. There is a nice finishing note of smoke which gives this tea a real autumnal feel to it.

Brewing the little pile of leaves, in this case it really does look like a leaf pile! The aroma of the brewed leaves is woody and sweet with notes of honey, raisins, and oak. The liquid is a blend of raisins and honey, all sweet with a very delicate finish of floral.

Tasting the tea, in a way it is like a homecoming, it was not this specific Formosa Oolong that I drank all those years ago, but the similarity in taste really never leaves one’s memory. The taste starts out sweet with notes of raisins and stewed plums. This fades to a leafy and tobacco flavor which in turns fades to gentle honey at the finish. Formosa Oolong is one of those ‘everyday’ kinda teas, there is nothing overwhelmingly special about it, but it is so enjoyable that I don’t mind. I say give this tea a try if you want a comforting ‘homey’ kind of tea or if you are new to oolongs and want to see what the fuss is about.

For photos and blog:

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Honey, Oak wood, Plums, Raisins, Tobacco

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627 tasting notes

This is a tasty basic oolong, like a lot of the other reviewers reported. It is smooth, a bit earthy, and generally good all around, but nothing special.

180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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1 tasting notes

I steeped it with quick 20 secs steeps, while increasing the steeping time after each steep. I tried this with my glass teapot and also my purple clay teapot.

The leaves were pretty much chopped or like teabag mulch when I got it as a sample. Had a hard time cleaning afterwards…
As for the taste, it’s mildly toasty and a touch of something sweet, almost. But it’s pretty much your everyday oolong. Nothing special. Good in bulk.

I compared it to Teahaus farmosa oolongs, and this was much more flavorful than Teahaus’.

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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53 tasting notes

Chocolately, pungent aroma, very thick and savory. Broken leaves mean only get a second steeping, but it makes for two very different mugs, both savory and tasty.

190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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