Taiwan GABA Oolong Tea from Fong Mong Tea

GabaFongMongTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Fong Mong Tea

Tea Description:

GABA tea is an all-natural source of GABA. It was discovered more than 20 years ago by Japanese researchers looking for a natural method to preserve food. They discovered that tea which is oxidized in a nitrogen-rich atmosphere has a higher concentration of GABA elements than any other types of tea.  

GABA tea production involves exposing fresh tea leaves to nitrogen instead of oxygen. The fresh tea is placed in stainless steel vacuum drums and the oxygen is removed and replaced with nitrogen. The tea leaves are exposed to this nitrogen-rich atmosphere for about 8 hours. The temperature must be kept above 40 degrees Celsius for the duration of the processing. This procedure produces the highest concentrations of natural GABA.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Of the different Oolong types that are out there, I think that the one I’ve had the least amount of experience with are GABA Oolong teas.  To my recollection, I’ve had fewer than a handful of GABA teas.

But since it is an Oolong and not a “flavored” one, I’m going to brew it the same way I’d brew other Oolong teas:  in my gaiwan!  I “eyeballed” an amount of tea leaf that looked to be about a bamboo scoop.  I didn’t use the bamboo scoop because this leaf is so large and bulky and stemmy that it wouldn’t measure properly anyway.  So, I just eyeballed it.

The reason this tea is kind of “stemmy,” according to Fong Mong Tea:

The twigs contain the most enzyme. For the healthy purpose, we kept the most twigs for our tea consumers. 

I heated the water to 180°F.  I did a preliminary rinse of the leaves (15 second steep, then I strained the liquid and discarded it) and then I steeped the first infusion for 45 seconds and added 15 seconds to each subsequent infusion.  My first cup is comprised of the combination of infusions 1 and 2, the second cup is infusions 3 and 4, and … you get the drift.

This does taste different from the Oolong teas I’m typically drinking, but there are some familiar flavors here too.  It is sweet and nutty with delicate notes of spice.  It has a lighter flavor than a lot of Oolong teas – this doesn’t have that heavy “creamy” taste and texture that so many Oolong teas have.  There is some creaminess to this, but it’s much lighter.  I like the texture – it’s refreshing.

So it started me wondering, what is GABA Oolong, anyway?  I found this information on the listing for this tea in Fong Mong Tea’s ebay store:

GABA is an amino acid that is produced by the human body. GABA stands for Gamma-aminobutyric acid. Its main function is to inhibit the firing of neurons in the brain. Because of this inhibitory function, GABA sends messages to the brain, spinal cord, heart, lungs, and kidneys to slow down.

The second cup was a bit darker in color than the first and the flavor was also stronger.  It has a strong nutty flavor to it, and a roasty-toasty quality.  I’m picking up on subtle peach notes now.  The spice notes are more pronounced in this cup, I can taste mild notes of cinnamon and it’s quite nice!  Very autumnal tasting, this tea.

My third (and final) cup had a smoother taste, where the flavors – nutty, toasty, peach and spice – seemed to come together in a seamless flavor.  It’s quite pleasant and relaxing to sip.

A really lovely cup of Oolong.  Different, yes.  But different can be good and it is definitely good in the case of this GABA Oolong from Fong Mong Tea.

Taiwan DongDing (TungTing) Charcoal Baked Oolong Tea from Fong Mong Tea

charcoalbakedDongDingTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Fong Mong Tea

Tea Description:

The hand-plucked leaves of Dong Ding Oolong are grown in the Dong Ding region of Taiwan at the elevation of 740 meters. At this elevation, the leaves absorb moisture from the surrounding fog and clouds every morning and afternoon which is ideal for Oolong plants. Due to the unique geographic location and stringent selection of leaves, this is the finest Dong Ding Oolong from the Dong Ding estate. 

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This Dong Ding from Fong Mong has been charcoal baked and you can really taste that element in this tea!  It’s a really nice complement to the natural nutty flavors of the Oolong tea.  This is really one of the tastiest Dong Ding Oolong teas I’ve tasted in a while and I think that the fact that it was charcoal baked makes all the difference.

My first cup was sweet and nutty with a distinct charcoal note.  I could taste the charred wood and a hint of smoke.  There was a creaminess to the cup, but it wasn’t like a heavy creamy note or a buttery note.  It was more like browned butter.  Smooth and silky; it didn’t feel heavy on the palate.

The sip starts out sweet with notes of honey.  I start picking up on the nutty flavors almost immediately.  By mid-sip, the sweetness is fully developed and I start to pick up on a hint of smoke which transcends into a charcoal note.  The aforementioned browned butter notes weave their way in and out of the sip.  The finish is almost “fruit-like,” tasting a bit like a roasted, caramelized peach.

The second cup seemed a little more unified.  The flavors were seamless.  It was a very smooth transition from notes of honey to toasted nutty flavors and hints of smoke.  The smoke was a little more subtle this time, and the notes of charcoal were stronger, even though they seemed “fused” with the other flavors.  Still sweet, still a fruit-like finish.  Delicious.

The third cup was very much like the second.  The browned butter notes have diminished by this point but they seem to have made way for more definition of the peach-like flavor.  I experience a slightly dry sensation toward the finish, almost mineral-y.  Still a sweet, lovely Oolong.

I brewed this Dong Ding the way I’d brew most Oolong teas, using my gaiwan and following a 15 second rinse, I started the infusion time at 45 seconds and added 15 seconds onto each subsequent infusion.  I combine 2 infusions for each cup, so my first cup was made up of infusions 1 and 2, and the second cup was infusions 3 and 4 … you get it, right?

Fong Mong offers quite a few amazing Taiwan Oolong teas that are well worth checking into!  I highly recommend them!

Top Grade Oriental Beauty Oolong Tea from Fong Mong Tea

orientalbeautyTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Fong Mong Tea

Tea Description:

Taiwan characteristic Oriental Beauty Oolong Tea, a long narrow strip like of various colors, is also called Bai Hao Oolong Tea. Bright white-tipped leaves, a symbol of high level Oriental Beauty Tea, can only be cultivated irreplaceable strong fragrance in organic ecological tea plantation. This tea, with very limited quantity, can only be produced by a senior experienced tea master at one harvest each year.

Learn more about this tea here.


Taster’s Review:

This is not the first time that I’ve sampled and reviewed Fong Mong Tea’s Top Grade Oriental Beauty Oolong, but with every new year comes a new harvest and this is a top notch Oriental Beauty!  It’s definitely worthy of another examination because it’s one of the best Oriental Beauty Oolong teas that I’ve encountered.

To brew this tea, I reached for my gaiwan.  I measured 1 bamboo scoop of leaves into the bowl of the gaiwan and then I heated the water to 180°F.  After a 15 second rinse, I steeped the leaves for 45 seconds and strained the tea into a small teacup.  The teacup holds 2 infusions, so I went ahead and infused the leaves a second time, adding 15 seconds onto the steep time (1 minute) and then combined the two infusions into the cup before I started sipping.

The first cup was delightfully sweet with notes of fruit that are peach-like.  There is a honey-like sweetness to the cup as well.  The liquid is very smooth and has a soft, rich mouthfeel.  It has a barely there astringency.  By the time I reach mid-cup, I start to pick up on a light floral tone and subtle woodsy tones.

I noticed the flavors became more developed with the second cup (infusions 3 and 4).  The fruit and honey notes remain the strongest flavors of the cup and these flavors have intensified.  The peach notes are like a soft, ripe peach.  I can almost feel the soft, luscious texture of the peach as I sip this tea.

There is a little more astringency with this cup than in the first cup, but it is still quite a light, barely noticeable astringency.  The floral notes and woodsy tones I started to notice at mid-cup are a little stronger with this cup.  A pleasantly sweet and beautiful cup to sip.

Later infusions offered an even stronger sweetness.  In the third cup, I noticed the floral notes emerging a little more and I found these to be sweet and as they melded with the honey notes and the sweet peach notes it intensified the sweetness of the overall cup.  I also started to pick up on some earthier qualities.

A very intriguing tea, I highly recommend this one to all Oolong enthusiasts!

Taiwan Alishan Jin Xuan Oolong (2014) from Fong Mong Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Fong Mong Tea

Tea Description:

The hand-plucked leaves of Alishan Jin Xuan Oolong Tea are grown in the famous Ali Mountains (Alishan) in Taiwan. At the elevation of 1000 meters above, the mountainsides are covered with fog or clouds which are ideal for growing Oolong. Withbetter drought tolerance, also higher yield, the price is usually lower than Alishan Oolong. 

Jin-Xuan is a special variety of Camellia Sinensis (tea plant) developed through research at the Taiwan Tea Agricultural Research center. This special variety is known for producing an Oolong with a special fragrance and a very light creaminess. Alishan Jin Xuan Oolong brings one of the great locations for growing Oolong tea together with one of the special Oolong varieties.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I reviewed this tea previously but it’s a new year and along with a new year comes a new harvest.  And an AliShan Oolong is worth at least two reviews (maybe more when the new harvests arrive, right?)

And Fong Mong Tea has some really spectacular Oolong teas from Taiwan, including this amazing AliShan Jin Xuan!  It’s beautifully sweet and creamy, with notes of flower and hints of vegetation.  So many fantastic layers of flavor!

As I do with all AliShan Oolong teas, I use my gaiwan and fill my YiXing Mug with the first five infusions (following a 15 second rinse).  I use 180°F water to steep each infusion.  The first infusion is steeped for 45 seconds, and I add 15 seconds to each subsequent infusion.

The first cup (which is the combination of the first five infusions) is so smooth and creamy.  The floral notes and vegetative notes are softened by this sweet, creamy taste that reminds me of fresh cream.  It tastes indulgent and luxurious.

But even though it is a creamy and sweet tea, there is complexity to it.  Layers of flavor.  The creaminess is not overly heavy so that I can explore the floral notes which are reminiscent of orchid.  There is a honey-like sweetness just beneath the floral tones.  The next layer I notice is a mild vegetal flavor.  It’s very soothing and has a silky smooth mouthfeel.

The second cup (the combination of infusions 6 – 10) was even nicer than the first!  It is still quite creamy – which was surprising, as I had expected some of those creamy notes to wane considerably with this cup – and the tea is delectably sweet.  The vegetal notes are less discernible now, and I taste more floral notes and even a hint or two of sweet fruit.  Melon!  NICE!

The honey notes are still there.  The creamy notes are not quite as strong, but they are sweeter and more like vanilla!  So while the creamy notes are not quite as velvety and thick, the vanilla notes more than make up for it!

An absolutely LOVELY AliShan!  If you haven’t tried Fong Mong Tea – you really should!  You’re missing out!

Taiwan White Tea from Fong Mong Tea

TaiwanWhiteTea Information:

Leaf Type:  White

Where To Buy:  Fong Mong Tea

Tea Description:

Plucked from Taiwan’s wild camellia hybrids at the elevation of 1800m, these young silver buds promise an amazing experience for all white tea enthusiasts.

What makes Taiwan White Tea so different are when it is harvested and how it is processed. The leaves and buds are plucked when they are still young and immature. Then they are taken to dry and the oxidation process is stopped. Because of the minimal processing of white tea, it retains a high amount of antioxidants which makes it with high CP value.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I’ve tried (and enjoyed!) quite a few different Oolong teas from Fong Mong Tea, so I was excited when I learned that they are now offering a Taiwan White Tea.  If this white tea lives up to the standards that I experienced with the other teas from Fong Mong, I knew I was in for a delightful experience with their new White tea.

And this tea is quite lovely!  The leaves look a lot like a White Peony and the aroma of both the dry leaf and brewed tea remind me of a White Peony.

So it came as no big surprise that the flavor is very much like a Bai Mu Dan or White Peony tea.  It has that sweet, delicate flavor that I love.  Notes of sweet melon and a dewy note that evokes thoughts of a sunny spring morning and the dew-kissed spring leaves that glisten in the sun.  A hint of an airy, hay-like note and a touch of earthiness.

It’s a very refreshing and crisp cup, the kind of tea that I like to drink as I’m relaxing, because it’s not overly invigorating.  Instead, it soothes and inspires a sense of calm as I sip it.

A really, really nice white tea from Fong Mong Tea!  I’m so happy to see that they’re expanding their collection of teas!