Formosa Oolong No. 8

Tea type
Oolong Tea
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Autumn Leaf Pile, Bitter, Cardboard, Bark, Leather, Malt, Oak, Raisins, Tobacco, Wet Earth, Earth, Honey, Plum
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Edit tea info Last updated by Michael
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200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 30 sec 3 g 12 oz / 344 ml

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68 Tasting Notes View all

From Adagio Teas - Discontinued

Oolong tea from Taiwan. Formosa, meaning ‘beautiful’ was what the Portuguese explorers called this island. The oolong tea grown here continues to be called as such. The intense pungency and exquisite bouquet of Formosa Oolong tea is regarded to be the finest in the world. The ‘Oolong Symphony no. 8,’ comprised of large ‘choicest’ grade copper-red leaves with beautiful tips of silver is a wonderful introduction to this variety.

Also on the package: A darker oolong from Taiwan, formerly known as Formosa. Deep raisiny and ripe fruit aroma, autumn leafy note. Lingering flavor and smooth, refreshingly fruity astringency. A lovely introduction to Taiwanese tea.

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68 Tasting Notes

470 tasting notes

I kind of forgot that I got the oolong sampler from Adagio, but rummaging through my samples today I realized that I have two left to try! I think I was a bit offput by the Darjeeling, which just wasn’t that great. But I had such an awesome experience with the Dancong I decided to dip into this tea today.

The leaves were really broken up, and didn’t look at all like an oolong. In fact it kind of reminded me of bagged tea—I don’t think it was squished during shipping, as my other 3 in the sampler have nice big leaves that open beautifully when brewed. Not really a great first impression, and it went downhill from there: this brewed up so dark and smelled like a mediocre black. It didn’t taste much better, and was missing the nuances of flavor I was hoping for. It was mostly woodsy, with a kind of unpleasant earthiness/ashiness. There’s a hint of that raisin flavor they say it’s supposed to have, but it was way too weak to really pick up on. I’m not sure why, but this brewed up really watery despite using two teaspoons for 8 ounces of water. If I didn’t know this was an oolong I would have guessed it was a low-quality Ceylon.

When it’s cooled the flavors are a bit better and you get a soft floral note, it’s actually not bad all! I’ll bump up the rating a bit for that, but it’s unfortunate that this tea is so unappetizing when hot.

190 °F / 87 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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6768 tasting notes

“peaceful”…i like that. everyone needs it.


Especially today…my day started out not so good but it is getting better by the hour! Om.

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148 tasting notes

I got this little sample along with my tasting cup.

I have had tea EXACTLY like this before. This tastes just like bagged yamamotoyama oolong. In fact, a lot of the leaves in this sample are crushed enough that I think it might literally be the exact same tea!

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124 tasting notes

The scent of this is awesome! It smells like a soft leather chair. Actually, what it really smells like is the awesome barn that houses the vegetables for the local organic farm. They always have herbs drying from the rafters and I always try to place the scent. And, apparently, it smells like oolong tea :)
I gave the leaves a quick rinse first.
Once brewed the leaves were pretty – a lovely dark red-brown, like tobacco or something.
There’s an interesting scent (smoked cherry?) to the liquor. Also: dusty books and some kind of sweet almost salted caramel scent.
The flavor is slightly bitter in a good way. There is mild astringency, but I like it. The flavor isn’t much special compared to the scent (the scent is amazing though). It has the most amazing body – it’s so thick.
There is an after-taste of something toasted. Toasty and slightly bitter.

ETA: I did a second infusion. I did this one at 190 degrees for only 3 minutes. I think I was too harsh on it, following Adagio’s directions.
I’m getting a woodsy strawberry scent off this – the scent overall is fainter than the first infusion. I’m not picking up much else other than that vague fruitiness and smokiness.
The taste is rather floral – also a little biscuity. It’s nothing striking though.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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687 tasting notes

Got this because I wanted to try more oolongs. Most unflavoured oolongs smell like plants to me. It tastes kinda woodsy. Very mellow.

My taste buds are still being weird, so I think I need to try some more.

Boiling 3 min, 15 sec

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639 tasting notes

This tea had me worried. It brewed up exactly like the Formosa Bai Hao #40 with the unmistakable aroma of a salty peanut shell.

But as soon as I tasted it, I got a much sweeter liquor than expected with a buttery mouthfeel. It does have that nutty peanut shell taste in the background, but almost like it’s an afterthought.

It’s nice that the peanut shell is taking a backseat and letting other flavors come to the foreground. Not what I was expecting at all from that aroma!

By the way, I think what I call “salty peanut shell” is what others call “woodsy” or “earthy.” I keep seeing those descriptions pop up on these formosa oolongs, and I think that must be what I’m experiencing too. It’s just too pronounced to be overlooked. Woodsy. Hmmm…

Second steep yields a less woodsy but still deep, amber colored liquor. Third steep was the least woodsy and fairly bland.

Good, but still not the best oolong from Adagio’s Dragon Sampler. My favorite is definitely Wuyi Ensemble. Wuyi Ensemble has a much more classic oolong, vegetal taste and benefits the most from multiple infusions.

190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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110 tasting notes

1 tsp for 4 oz

Taste test of 2 Formosa Oolongs

Adagio: Formosa Oolong #8 ($4.00/oz)
A little thin and too astringent

Harney & Sons: Formosa Oolong ($1.67/oz)
More flavorful and smoother

Again, I seem to prefer the less expensive tea! This is very convenient. I really like the Formosa Oolong flavor. Now that I know more about tea, what I can say is that this type of tea is very similar in profile to a Bai Hao oolong. However, I believe it is probably not allowed to be affected by the leafhoppers. Also, from what Michael Harney has said, it is mechanically harvested. So, it’s a much less expensive option to the Bai Hao. That said, it is also less sweet, a bit more astringent. But it is incredibly similar in every other way. When I add a touch of honey to the Harney Formosa Oolong, I can barely tell the difference between it and the Bai Haos I’ve had.

185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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72 tasting notes

I oversteeped the first and second (7-8 mins), and the third was incredible! So smooth, slightly sweet, with very little woodiness or grassiness. Do it, people.

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123 tasting notes

Up to steep #3 and it hasn’t improved very much, slight sweetness and creaminess but the ashy/dry taste has become a little overwhelming. It isn’t the most enjoyable oolong I’ve ever had

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160 tasting notes

I have a tooth ache… And that is awful. It is terrible that it hurts, but worst of all is knowing that tooth ache= unavoidable visit to the dentist. I am terrified of dentists, for no logical reason… So, to ease the pain and calm my nervousness, I made myself some tea!

I usually have a sweet tooth, sweetener in my tea and always hungry for dessert! But considering my tooth ache, I decided to go for unsweetened… Oolong was the perfect choice! I really love Oolongs, but usually only drink them if I have the time to drink through multiple infusions (I hate throwing away leaves that may not have the best part brewed out of them yet!)

The dry tea leaves were broken into many pieces… Lots of little bits of leaves and stems made me wary of what the result of brewing it may be. The smell was a bit woodier than I am used to my oolongs being. There was a hint of burnt caramel somewhere in the smell, and it was a good thing.

The first brew (3 mins) was just as woody as the tea smelled. It wasn’t an overwhelming taste, which was good. After a few sips I started tasting the caramel a bit and I was happy to find that it had a sweet finish and sweet aftertaste! The cup didn’t last long…

The second brew was a little less woody. It was lighter and the sweet and caramel taste took center stage. It took on a fruitier personality (Teasonality??? ; ) ). I think this brew was my favorite! I took my sips slowly enjoying the flavors that each one provided!

The third and last brew was similar to the second but definitely watered down. The flavors were weaker than I would like them to be. The initial woodiness was still there and the sweet flavor lingered at the end of every sip. Verdict= Second brew still the best…

So, in preparing my tea and writing about it, I have temporarily distracted myself from the throbbing reminder in my mouth that an impeding visit to the dentist was coming up… That makes this tea spectacular! haha…

All in all, it was a good oolong. Not one of the best I have tried, but I did enjoy drinking it. Not sure I will purchase it again. I will have to think that over after I have a cup without a tooth ache! Wish me luck at the dentist!

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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