It’s with a heavy heart that I have come to the end of my oolong sampler. Before ordering the pack of four Taiwanese oolong (or Formosa oolong) from Adagio Teas I had never even tried this type of tea before. Now I’m hooked and already looking into ordering some more varieties to see what other amazing and complex flavours are out there.
Fear not though, because I do still have my last Formosa oolong to review! This particular one may have one of the more interesting back stories too. It’s named Bai Hao, which translates to ‘white tip’ but also goes by the names Oriental Beauty and Champagne oolong. With monikers like that, it’s not surprising that this oolong tea is very highly thought of.
So what’s this interesting back story then? Well, in the tea fields of Northern Taiwan where the Bai Hao is grown, the bushes are grown without any pesticides. This is to intentionally entice the tea green leafhopper, a mini grasshopper-looking insect that loves nothing more than getting stuck in to every part of the plant. This starts off a natural oxidisation and is responsible for the sweet aroma of the tea, because…well… science. Once this bug banquet has taken place, the tea is harvested and heavily oxidised, the usual way this time, and voila, Bai Hao is ready for drinking!
So let’s get on with it then, shall we?
I popped a couple of teaspoons of the leaves into my infuser and let the leaves steep for about four minutes. The tea was a lovely reddish-brown colour, almost to the shade of a black tea, and the renowned sweet aroma was unmissable. On to the taste and, somewhat surprising given the dark colour of the tea, the most notable flavours were sweet and soft. There was a floral element too, but it was light and delicate, like a faint little surprise after you’d swallowed the tea.
Maybe I’m overdoing it on the romance of it all, but with such a complex and clear taste, you can really start to picture the tea bush in situ in Taiwan, drawing from the environment to create its unique taste. Maybe, or maybe I’m just getting carried away!
Again, this is another oolong that I have thoroughly enjoyed tasting during my tea blog adventure. While this one didn’t quite have the impact that the jade oolong had on me, I could imagine this being very high on a lot of tea drinkers’ lists. It’s a great combination of sweet and floral, but with a richness that gives it a great body too.
If you want to give it a try, and I would definitely recommend that you do, then you can find the Bai Hao at Adagio.
If you want to read about how this compares to the other oolong teas that I have sampled, then click through to the oolong section of my blog, there are some great ones to choose from!
Have you tried the famous, hopper-bitten bai hao? How was it for you? Please leave your comments below, I’d love to hear from you.