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

  • “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...” Read full tasting note
  • “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...” Read full tasting note
  • “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...” Read full tasting note
  • “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...” Read full tasting note

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

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51 Tasting Notes

409 tasting notes

Rawr my tasting note got eaten :( shorter version then:
Smells and tastes like what it is – a good Formosa Oolong. Roasted, slightly fruity; coppery color. Ample leaf + short steep times = many steeps.
2nd at 195°F for 45 seconds is both a little more astringent and fruitier

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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27 tasting notes

Very floral aromas and slightly nutty and fruity flavors. The 3rd steep at 30 seconds a steep was the most flavorful by far. Once the leaves open up, you can really taste the peachiness described by Adagio. Super smooth and easy to drink for about 8 steeps.

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec

How much tea/water do you use?


When making this I’m usually at work. So I use a coffee mug and this strainer:
I rinse the tea and and then let it sit for about 30 seconds to open up a little more from the initial hot water rinse. Then I fill up the cup and take out the strainer after about 10 seconds for first steep, then 20 for 2nd then 20-30 for 3rd and so on, but after 3rd it becomes easier to regulate and harder to oversteep. I use about a tablespoon of tea, but I just eyeball it to just fill the bottom of the strainer. Hope that helps and makes this tea more enjoyable because it is terrible when over steeped.

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46 tasting notes

Satisfactory pseudo-scientific session with this tea tonight. Used a yixing teapot and set up four aroma-tasting cup pairs, into which I poured portions of the tea at different time intervals, noting the batch which tasted just about right to me. Ended up with: 1st round: 50 sec. 2nd round: 45 sec. 3rd round: 55 sec. Could probably have gone for a 4th infusion but was already feeling full.

As always, when I have a victim— uh, family member around, I try to get them to taste with me. Teenage brother’s comment was that it was good, “like iced tea, but hot”. I think it must be the fruity taste, which doesn’t register as ‘peach!’ to me, but just a hint of some fruit. I like it that way. Using aroma cups was also a treat, because the smell hits you, like when you open a can of powdered tea mix and some of the powder gets into your nose… Ahaha. Sorry for the pedestrian references. I grew up in a household of cola and chips, not tea and biscuits. :P

Usually I try to do the ‘observe spent leaves’ step, just out of obedience to routine, but my reaction is often “Ookay, wet leaves. Moving on.” But this was one of the few times I oooh-ed a bit at what I saw. Before steeping, the dry leaves look like a confused mix of brown, green and white. But after steeping the leaves were a beautiful glossy dark red, with some dark green. Looked very much like autumn.

Last side note is that after sipping quite a bit, I felt a fuzzy, powdery layer on my tongue. Maybe tea dust? because I didn’t use a strainer, nor did I rinse. Guess I’ll try that next time.

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17 tasting notes

This is a good tea. No doubt about that. I have yet to drink many different oolongs, so I will withhold any judgements.

I do get the smokiness, but I don’t get the peach described in Adagio’s tasting notes. As others have mentioned, the flavor becomes much more apparent after a longer steep. I drank it at 5, 6 and 7 minutes. 6 seemed to bring out the flavor where 7 was too long.

190 °F / 87 °C 6 min, 0 sec

so you steeped from very beginning 5min? 6min, 7min. none before than?

Kyle Hildebrant

I drank it at 5, 6 and 7. I have yet to drink it earlier. Is that what you’d suggest?

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123 tasting notes

I got four steeps in total and number three definitely had the sweetest peachiest taste. This is one of the better oolongs I’ve had and one of the first truly fine enough for re-steeping. Sample package is sadly half gone already because they recommend two “heaping” tsps so maybe I’ll try to conserve for next time. I would definitely get this in bulk though.

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266 tasting notes

Looking over the leaves of this tea alone I can tell that it is a higher quality tea as compared to the other cheaper Formosa Oolong offered by Adagio. It has a much lighter and smoother taste to it which includes some more floral flavor notes. Although to be quite honest I prefer the cheaper variety for its simple more earthy flavor.

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec

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59 tasting notes

A good, but pretty standard oolong. It does brew quite a dark cup of tea. It tastes more nutty than fruity and had a musty overtone. Decent, but nothing to write home about.

180 °F / 82 °C 4 min, 30 sec

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8 tasting notes

A very good, dark oolong. Has the subtlety i like in an oolong. I may have steeped this one for too long, though…

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
Brad Ganley

second steep now. hope it works out better this time.

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108 tasting notes

My first impression was that this was more a mellower Adagio Formosa #8—reminiscent of Dian Hong, a bit earthy. But as it cooled down and the more I drank of it, the more I picked up on the sweet peach note to it—very honey-like. I didn’t taste the nutty note some report, and given reviews I wonder if that nutty rather than peachy note is the result of putting less tea in than the two teaspoons per cup called for. This one is on the black side of Oolong, and after this I understand better those that say Darjeelings are Oolong-like, because that’s what this reminded me of, a really, really good spring darjeeling. The oxidation is supposedly at 70 percent—among the highest for an oolong—this is a very dark oolong, the directions on the package call for it to be steeped in boiling water (although I used water at a slightly lower temperature) and it steeped up a coppery color reminiscent of darjeeling—not anything like Iron Goddess or Pouchong. Hard to believe all three are Oolongs. Lovely lingering aftertaste.

I loved this tea: my favorite among the Oolongs I’ve tried. There’s only one thing that’s keeping me from making this tea a regular—that in fact makes it unlikely I’ll buy this tea again, or not for a long time. Price. Here’s the price per cup of the Oolong’s I’ve tried so far:

Iron Goddess of Mercy (TeaSource) 12 cents per cup
Formosa Oolong #8 (Adagio) 12 cents per cup
Tung Ting (Teasource) 13 cents per cup
Jade Oolong #18 (Adagio) 17 cents per cup
Pouchong (Adagio) 24 cents per cup
Big Red Robe (TeaSource) 28 cents per cup
Formosa Bai Hao #40 (Adagio) 42 cents per cup. (If you buy it in the largest size of 16 ounces—otherwise it’s even pricier per cup. The two-ounce size comes to 76 cents a cup.)

Yeah… I just can’t justify spending almost 20 dollars for 2 ounces of tea. I’m not that far gone in my addiction. If I want a darjeeling-like tea, well I can have delicious darjeelings at less than half the price, and for oolongs it makes more sense then to make Big Red Robe and Pouchong my go-to oolongs with occasional visits from Formosa Oolong #8. This is lovely—but not quite worth the price to me.

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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19 tasting notes

This is definitely a really pleasant tea. Though I keep seeing it described as a fruity tea, my experience was definitely predominantly with nuttier flavors. I’d never had a tea before that struck me as nutty, and this was a pleasantly surprising change of pace. The leaves themselves are pretty to look at; they’re all different shapes, but still somewhat uniform, and they’re a lovely mix of brown, black, and white-ish. The liquor is somewhat darker and more orange than the greener beaded taiwan oolongs, and gives the impression of being heavier, but is generally a refreshing but cozy pot of tea.
It also, compared to other teas, seems rather forgiving as to steeping time. I had just added the hot water for one tasting, when something made it necessary for me to leave for a bit, and I returned to oversteeped tea. Considering how long it had sat (maybe five to ten minutes, instead of 45 seconds to one minute), it was still quite drinkable.
A novel and pleasant tea for the money, and I plan to get more in the future, as I have depleted my sample packet.

190 °F / 87 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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