Most people associate oolong tea with China. And, it's true that China is where oolong tea originated and that most of the oolong tea produced in the world today is produced in China. However, oolong teas from Taiwan, known as Formosa oolong teas are delicious too, and should certainly be part of your regular collection of teas.
Taiwan, in fact, is the second largest producer of oolong teas in the world, and produces some of the finest. In particular, Imperial Formosa oolong tea is a delightful treat. Imperial Formosa oolong tea is a full flavored tea that still manages to remain light.
Imperial Formosa oolong tea is a wonderful blend of flavors and aromas. It has a more complex flavor than many other teas, with a wonderful floral aroma and a melding of flavors like peach, cedar and chestnut. The finish is slightly sweet and the flavor is always mild. Drinking Imperial Formosa oolong tea is a unique experience because each taste of this delicious tea will take you deeper into its combination of tastes and scents.
Imperial Formosa oolong tea is rare in comparison to other teas. Finding it may be a bit difficult and it may be a bit more expensive than other teas you've tried. Oolong teas are more labor intensive to produce, which typically makes them more expensive. And, Formosa oolong teas are even more expensive than Chinese oolong teas because the costs of labor are higher in Taiwan. However, like fine wine, rare teas can be appreciated on many different taste and aroma levels and are worth the extra expense.
The best tea merchants, both online and in your local area should have access to Imperial Formosa oolong tea. Once you've purchased some you're certain to be anxious to give it a try.
Formosa teas are brewed a bit differently than other teas. First, run hot tap water into your teapot and tea cups to warm them. A traditional Yixing clay teapot is recommended for brewing oolong teas. Then, put fresh cold spring water into your tea kettle and bring it to a boil. Spring water is preferable to tap water for brewing oolong teas because the high mineral content enhances the tea's flavor.
Once the water comes to a boil, remove it from the heat and allow the water to cool to about 180°F. Remove the hot tap water from your teapot and cups and add the loose tea leaves to your pot. Use about one rounded teaspoon for each cup of tea.
Next, you'll want to “awaken" the tea leaves. This is done by pouring some hot water over the oolong leaves to rinse them, pouring this water off quickly. Now you can add more water and allow the tea to steep for about one minute. Be careful not to over brew oolong teas, else they become bitter.
Imperial Formosa oolong tea leaves can be infused several times before the leaves need to be discarded. Because of this, the tea is not nearly as expensive as it may seem at first. Each infusion of the tea will cause a different aspect of the subtle flavors to be prominent, allowing you to detect more of the tea's complexities with each cup.
It is not recommended that you add milk, sugar or lemon to oolong tea, but that you taste it for its own delicious flavor.
Imperial Formosa oolong is a great tea to enjoy on its own or with food. Imperial Formosa oolong is a great choice to serve with typical lunch fare, such as sandwiches, soups and salads. It is a wonderful complement to spicy foods at any occasion.
Oolong teas are also delicious served with seafood dishes, particularly those that are very rich, like lobster and scallops. It also goes well with chicken dishes, especially those with cream sauces. And, it is the perfect complement to any duck dish.
In many cultures, cooks take great care to serve a complementary tea with the meals they prepare, much the same way that wine is chosen to complement the meal.
Finally, Imperial Formosa oolong is a wonderful tea to serve with dessert, especially light desserts. Consider it with desserts such as key lime pie, and banana pudding as well as with light cakes like angel food and pound cake.
Once you've discovered the many nuances of oolong tea, you'll likely want to try it iced, as well. Iced oolong tea can be very refreshing, while remaining full of flavor and fruit. When making Imperial Formosa oolong tea for iced tea, allow the tea to cool before adding ice. Adding ice while the tea is still warm will likely dilute the tea too much. Imperial Formosa oolong's mild flavor can be compromised if over diluted.
Many people have not yet tasted Imperial Formosa Oolong tea, but nearly all who have tasted it have found it to be one of the most interesting teas they've ever sampled. With its complex blend of flavors and light texture, it's a tea that will please your palate in many different ways and always leave you wanting more.
Jon M. Stout is Chairman of the Golden Moon Tea Company. For more information about tea , wholesale tea and oolong tea go to goldenmoontea.com