On a blustery Thursday night, it was great to return home after work to find my latest order of teas had arrived!
I decided to use Adagio Teas again as I had done for the majority of teas in my previous posts. They offer a wide range at a good price, and most importantly, a good choice of tea samples so I can try a number of different teas without having to commit to big bags of the stuff lying around the house.
My order this time was for a selection of Taiwanese Oolongs and a little tin of Shizuoka Shincha from Adagio’s Masters collection (Review to follow, of course). Surprisingly though, the package also included two extra teas! A complimentary packet of Earl Grey Moonlight and Jasmine Yin Hao, a Chinese, silver tip, green tea. I don’t know if these bonus beauties were in there intentionally or not, but I’m going to pretend that Adagio must have been reading Tea and That and are big fans. I mean, what other conclusion could be drawn, right?
So, oolong. A tea that is completely new to me. Judging by the blogs and Instagram accounts I have seen that are dedicated to this type of tea though, it is a much loved and extremely varied drink. I decided that I needed to try it (it wouldn’t be a tea adventure with out new experiences now would it?) and seeing as Taiwanese oolongs had such a good reputation, it seemed like a great place to start!
I decided to start with a tea named Formosa Oolong. Formosa was the name given to Taiwan by Portuguese explorers which translates to ‘beautiful’. The teas that are produced in the country still keep the name and, although you should never judge a book by its cover, it was hard not to feel a little bit of excitement about the impending brew.
Oolong tea can vary greatly in taste and colour, and according to my research, this is due to a number of differences during the withering, bruising and fixation stages of production. It all sounds very technical and slightly painful doesn’t it? Anyway it’s these incredibly complex processes that help to shape the flavour of the teas that so many people adore. So let’s get tasting shall we?
I’m always one to follow orders and Adagio had informed me to steep this particular oolong for three to five minutes, so naturally I went for four. Despite the darkness of this particular tea, I had read that oolong is usually served without milk. I went against my stereotypical British predisposition and refrained from adding any.
What followed was a highly enjoyable tea tasting. The tea was quite dark and therefore was quite astringent, but it was much lighter in taste than any black tea I had experienced. It possessed a lingering taste which I found quite hard to pin down but to my unskilled palate it was dark but fruity, almost smoky flavour that came through. I could quite easily be confusing the smokiness and astringency a little but hey, I’m still learning! It was a complex taste that intrigued me and made me want to keep drinking all the way to the end of the cup.
The Formosa Oolong is the darkest of the oolong samples that I have and maybe it’s my liking of black teas that made this particular one appeal to my taste buds this much. One thing is for sure though, I’m definitely looking forward to my next oolong!
Are you a big oolong fan? What advice would you give a newbie like me for this kind of tea? Thank you for reading and please leave any comments below, I’d love to hear from you.