Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Life in Teacup
The origin of Fo Shou tea cultivar is a mystery. Many people say it was obtained by engrafting tea tree with Fo Shou (bergamot) tree. The engrafting theory of Fo Shou oolong has never been proved. But the characteristics of this tea do remind a drinker of fragrance of Fo Shou fruits.
This product was made with traditional oxidation method and traditional light charcoal roast. Charcoal roast can induce richer flavor of a oolong. Today with greener style dominating the market, charcoal roast workers have mostly aged and retired. Real charcoal roast Fo Shou is very hard to find.
Learn more about this tea here.
I was excited to try this Charcoal Roast Bergamot Oolong from Life in Teacup, as I had previously tried and quite enjoyed the Superior Grade bergamot Oolong and I wondered how it would differ. I have since learned that these teas are not actually scented with bergamot, but instead the tea leaves come from the Fo Shou trees and carry qualities that are reminiscent of bergamot.
That makes sense to me, especially having tasted the Superior Grade and now this Charcoal Roast. In both tastings, I notice that a significant bergamot flavor was lacking, more of a distant hint of bergamot essence rather than a more obvious flavor.
In the first few infusions, the charcoal flavor greets me at about mid sip, and it is quite pleasant. It isn’t a strong, overwhelming flavor but enough to bring a nutty character to the cup. Sweet with barely-there hints of smoke.
In later infusions, I found that the charcoal flavor emerged to become a more significant flavor. It brought a beautiful roasted flavor to the cup. Hints of wood-burning smoke in the distance. Nutty and sweet, with a delicious savory quality that arrives mid-cup. And yes, I can also taste those bergamot-like tones and they add just a touch of brightness to this cup.
A really lovely tea!