Formosa Bai Hao (Oolong #40)

Tea type
Oolong Tea
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Astringent, Bitter, Honey, Tannic
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Edit tea info Last updated by CHAroma
Average preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 15 sec 10 g 4 oz / 130 ml

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51 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. However, only the finest of Formosa teas warrant the label of ‘fancy’ grade. This is such tea. The ‘Oolong Symphony no. 40’ has dark, silver-tipped leaves and produces a mesmerizing cup of delicate peachy notes and warm, soothing flavor. Well deserving its nickname as the true champagne of teas.

About Adagio Teas View company

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.

51 Tasting Notes

161 tasting notes

Drinking a cup of #40 before heading out to lunch. And where am I going…

I took my mom here for her birthday and we did the Royal-tea lunch. It was pretty cool, and their teas were mostly tasty. I was not impressed with their staff, however. I think I was expecting a true tea sommelier or Mrs. Potts from Beauty and the Beast or something. Instead, it was mostly a hippy staff. I’m not saying that being a hippy is bad (I’ve been known to hug a few trees)…just odd in a tea establishment that is known for their British High Tea ceremony. That, and the fact that when my mom asked about a certain tea, the hippy dude said, and I quote, “It’s a green tea…so umm, ya know…you might like it…if you like green tea.” Nice. Their tea menu is online, so I’ve been writing a few teas down to give the smell test when I get there.

As for this tea, I find my self saying, “It’s not bad…(insert long pause)…for Adagio.” After close to a year of all Adagio, all the time, I’m waiving goodbye. I thank them for helping me tune my tastes but I think it’s time to move on. Also, tea swaps are fantastic for finding new companies and teas to try out. I thank all of my tea swap buddies this year for all of the teas, funny emails, and general awesomeness. I hope everyone has a fantastic, tea-filled 2010.


Jealous, very jealous:)


Oooh, hope your lunch is awesome, service aside! And yay for tea swaps! Your package should have arrived this AM!


Double Jealous!


I think I’m at the same point as you on Adagio. They’re a great company for beginners, and I still have a ton of their samples to drink through, but I’m really interested in trying more specialized companies.


Now I’m into Adagio for their custom blends, savory teas, and frequent cup points- I may never use all mine lol.


Lunch was great. I picked up 2 new teas and have one on order that they were out of.
@ takgoti – I can’t wait to see what all you sent! It’s Christmas part deux.
@ Bethany – yep, great for beginners. And I love that they send most of their teas out in tins…not bags. It’s ok though, I have hoards of the little sample tins that are great for tea swaps, etc.
@ Cofftea – I know you love a good blend! Still waiting to try the one you sent for my birthday. :) I used most of my points, but I have about 40 or so leftover. Hope they don’t expire…I might need them one day.


@LENA, I hope they don’t too! I have over 2000.


Do you have any reccomendations for that shop? I’m heading down to Nashville next week and I’ll be going here for certain! (Going for a training class for work)


@ wombatgirl – Niiice! If you like rooibos, they have a blend called Home for the Holidays. I’m positive that it would be good hot, but it totally rocks when iced. I keep a pitcher of this one in the fridge.
Did you check out their website? I tried the Ceylon Kenilworth with my mom (at our lunch) and it was really nice…but fairly plain. China Chai is ok if you like the taste of licorice. I tried their Genmaicha Whole Leaf and hated it. I have some of their Czar’s Samovar on order…they were out of it the last time I was there. Czar’s seems to be a big seller for them.

Franklin Tea should be pretty close to World Cup of Tea. Their website is I haven’t been…yet…but I plan to very soon. Franklin Tea seems to have a much larger selection, but terrible descriptions on the site. You can email me at [email protected] if you might like to meet up while you are in town.


@Lena – I sent you an email – I’d love to meet up!

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180 tasting notes

This is my first oolong, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. It’s very mellow. Soft and sweet. I’m getting just a bit of the fruity flavor, and the flavor of the tea is fairly delicate.

That being said, I don’t know that I paid as much attention as I should have to the steeping, as I was dealing with the fact that I just found out the doughnut I had been looking forward to eating had been… nibbled. Darn cat.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

Oolongs are FUN! :)


Oolongs can be a hoot. Just wait til you get to the small rolled ones – you’ll put a teaspoon of leaf in and then come back to a cup full of leaves! I love how creamy they can get. This one may not have it, but others will.. a silky smooth feeling in your mouth. yum.


Ok, now you guys have me excited. I got this a few others free with my 100pts at Adagio on a whim… Now I want to experiment with some good oolongs.

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1183 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 108 of the year 2014.

The peachy note came out really nicely tonight, during multiple short steeps in the gaiwan. I did the first three at 30 seconds and the rest at 45 while watching the David Duckler video on how to season a Yixing over and over.

The pot’s on to boil now and I’m gonna give it a try. Wish me luck!


That’s so exciting! Someday I will be brave/un-lazy enough to get a yixing…


Hehe. If I can do it anyone can. ;-) I have successfully (I think) boiled and steeped and now the little pet is submerged in a bath of tea. I don’t think I’ll be able to stay awake long enough for the whole thing to cool to room temperature to take it out. I don’t think it would hurt it to stay in overnight, though. It might even help.


Good luck! I’m still thinking about Yixing….


I’m still dreaming of my Yising too…


good luck, it’s easy!


my new yixing spent the night in a bowl of oolong and is drying now, waiting for its first steep


Awesome MzPriss. I finished my project last night, too!


I’m gonna have my first oolong in it when I get home from brunch today. I suspect it will be pretty light as the pots are supposed to steal the flavor for a while

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124 tasting notes

I keep thinking I’ve reviewed this tea and I keep being wrong! So here it finally is.
The bottom line for me is that I like this much better than Adagio’s other oolongs. That said, it is not anywhere near my top oolongs. I do like it enough to keep drinking it, but it is forgettable enough that I can’t remember I’ve tried it!

190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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1231 tasting notes

OPERATION: Finish Old Teas

Looks like I took a spoon out of my sample and never touched it. Think I know why now.

Steeped, has a great peanut nutty smell. Taste wise, it’s very smokey. A little too smokey for me, almost reminds me of black tea. The more I sip it, the more astringent it gets and tastes like munching on peanut shells. Totally what Charoma said in their review.

However, I didn’t follow Adagio’s steeping times, might be better as a quick steep over multiple steepings.

190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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634 tasting notes

The brewed tea smells exactly like the salted shell of a peanut. You know, like the kind you get in a bucket at some steakhouse restaurants.

The taste is even nuttier than the aroma. The smokiness is very slight and complemented perfectly by the nuttiness. The aftertaste is mouthwatering and tastes just like the aroma. The shells, not the peanuts themselves. So strange.

This doesn’t taste too much like an oolong to me. There’s no vegetal flavor. The liquor is a very dark brown. It’s quite smooth but the astringency becomes more pronounced the more you drink it.

It doesn’t taste sweet to me either. There’s definitely no peach notes. It pretty much just tastes like a salty peanut shell. So weird. Instead of quenching my thirst, it just makes me thirstier.

Not an oolong I would drink all the time. I’m interested to see how subsequent steepings turn out though.

The second steep (for 3 minutes again) still has an extremely mouthwatering aftertaste. The nuttiness is much less pronounced. The third steep (for 5 minutes) is very bland. Perhaps it needed longer to steep, but I don’t know how you could get 8 steeps out of this as other users have said.

I’m not really a fan of the peanut shell-like nuttiness, so that’s why this is getting a lower rating. If you like nutty teas, then go for this one!

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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110 tasting notes

1tsp in 4oz

Comparison of 3 Bai Hao (Oriental Beauty) oolongs — Adagio’s Formosa Bai Hao, Harney’s Fanciest Formosa Oolong, and Teavivre’s Taiwan Oriental Beauty

My favorite (surprisingly)! Darkest liquor, most flavor, sweetest, least astringency. Really nice honey flavor in the finish.

Least flavor, lightest body, lightest liquor

In between in terms of flavor and body, but the most astringent.

So, I guess I’m buying more of the Adagio. Really surprised at this result. Was hoping Teavivre’s would be my fave since it is the least expensive, but I’ll have to go with the one I like best. Luckily it’s not the most expensive. Harney’s is almost double the price of the Adagio.

190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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596 tasting notes

A lovely, hearty, slightly fruity tea.

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42 tasting notes

I find it hardest to write about teas that I don’t like. How do I describe what tastes bad? This one is all about what I do not want in an oolong, Take the worst of black and green tea, mix it in a large kettle and toss it down the garbage disposal. What is funny is the straight Formosa from Adagio was quite good, whatever they did which caused them to add “bai hao” to it isn’t.

Tea, like life is a journey. The reason this site exists is if you don’t document your way, how can anyone learn from the experience? I’ve obviously gone off the deep end tonight. This note is for a tea I drank hours ago and want to make sure I don’t accidentally purchase again. So bear with me.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

I must have done something wrong with this… I have bumped the rating up after trying this again. I will have to try it a third time once I kick whatever illness has knocked me down the past few days. Since I don’t trust my taste buds and nose right now!

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46 tasting notes

This is a good solid oolong with wonderful earthy flavors along with the hint of peach. It’s smooth, long lasting flavor is memorable without being too sticky. It has a good amount of astringency but not as much as a strong black tea. As with many other oolongs this one resteeps extremely well. I’m on my second steep now and the flavors are just getting more nuanced. From what I hear the 3rd and 4th steeps are the best so I look forward to that.

205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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