Formosa Oolong is grown on the island of Taiwan. It was given the name ‘Ilha Formosa’ by a Dutch sailor traveling on a ship from Portugal about 400 years ago. The name means beautifulisland and boy it sure is!
The island is located about 100 miles off the coast of China and has a population of about 22.5 million. It is now recognized as a part of China, although it is governed as anindependent state.
The Taiwanese population is made up of the descendants of the Malay-Polynesian aborigines who mixed with the migrant Chinese workers brought in by the Dutch.
It has a very interesting mixed culture partly due to the fact that over the years it has been occupied by the Japanese, Chinese, Spanish and Dutch. The official language is Chinese Mandarin and the main religions are Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism.
The Formosa Oolongs have developed ever since the tea was brought over from the Chinese province of Fuijian where it was first produced. Oolong has now become so popular that it’s production is increasing whereas the production of green tea is decreasing on the island.
The climate on the island is perfect for the production of fine tea. Taiwan enjoys a sub-tropical climate with average temperatures between 15-39 degrees. There is no winter!
In fact Taiwan produces black, green, Oolong and Pouchong teas. Pouchong is another semi-fermented tea although less so than Oolong; about 10-20% fermentation. The Oolong tea, which actually means ‘black dragon’ in Chinese, is considered by the Taiwanese to be superior to it’s Chinese relative. Although I’m sure the Chinese would disagree about that!
Organic Formosa or Tung Ting, which means ‘Icy Summit’, is a classic tea which comes stamped for organic certification by the Taiwanese government. The tea is best brewed Gong Fu style and can be steeped several times.
Lushan High Mountain Oolong is a step up in class! It is grown on a cloud covered mountain with short periods of sun which makes for a tender budded brew. Best brewed around 185 degrees in a guywan or Gong Fu style.
Sunlinksea High Mountain Oolong is a top of the range brew. Handpicked on Bamboo mountain, this pesticide free tea has a flavor reminiscent of bamboo and fresh fruit.