Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Upton Tea Imports
With an oxidation level of approximately 40%, Amber Oolong (Wu-Long) teas produce a liquor that is darker than the Jade Oolongs. The flavor is slightly more earthy and robust.
Learn more about this tea here.
This Formosa Amber Oolong from Upton Tea Imports reminds me of the first Oolong tea that I ever tasted. It was a very memorable experience for me, because I had never really experienced an Oolong before, and everything about it was just … different! The texture, the sweetness, the distinct fruit notes. It was really quite a delightful experience.
And this tea is taking me back to that moment.
Since that moment, I have learned quite a bit about Oolong teas including the best way to brew them. Well, maybe I shouldn’t say that. How about I revise that statement to say the best way that I know of to brew them. The way that produces the most flavorful cuppa for me.
And that is, as I’ve said many times, in a gaiwan. I use short steeps, starting with just 45 seconds for the first infusion – following a 15 second rinse – and then I add 15 seconds on to each subsequent infusion. The strained liquid from the first two infusions is combined into one cup, the third and fourth infusions will be combined into my second cup, and the third cup will be the combination of infusions five and six … and so on.
My first cup is sweet with lovely peach notes. There are notes of earth to this cup as well, giving it a more pronounced “robustness” than a typical green Oolong. Hints of a roasty, nutty flavor as well as some buttery notes, but I think that the butter is experienced more in the texture than the taste. The tail offers a slightly cleansing astringency which essentially “cleans” the thick, buttery quality from the palate, preparing it for the next sip. I like that this taste and texture doesn’t build and inundate the palate.
The second cup had a little less astringency than the first, and I noticed more of the peach-like notes emerging. This is not quite as buttery, but I still notice the warm, nutty flavors and the notes of earth. The peach-y sweetness is delightful!
Usually my second cup of Oolong tea is my favorite, but with this Formosa Amber Oolong, the third cup is my favorite! The flavor is still going strong, and the delivery is much smoother. This is sweeter and peachy-er! The earthiness is less apparent now, and the nuttiness of the first two cups has melded with the sweetness of the peach notes. I’m also getting a citrus-y note to this cup that I didn’t really notice with the first two. This is a really lovely cuppa!
A really lovely Formosa … perhaps not the best Formosa I’ve tasted, but it’s really nice and a good representation of what the darker Formosa Oolong teas can offer.