What’s The Story Behind Formosa Oolong Tea?

While browsing the ESP Emporium website, you may have come across a special type of tea called Formosa oolong. What is Formosa oolong? And where does it come from? Today, we’re going to teach you everything you need to know about Formosa oolong tea.

What is Formosa oolong?

Formosa oolong refers to any oolong tea that has been grown and produced in the country of Taiwan. It is also referred to as Taiwanese oolong. In years past, Taiwan was called Formosa (meaning ‘beautiful’), by Portuguese and Spanish sailors, which is why tea from the region is known as Formosa to this day.

Tea trees do not grow naturally in Taiwan. Although the history of Formosa tea is not 100% certain, it appears that tea trees were planted in Taiwan at the beginning of the 18th century. Evidence suggests that Chinese settlers brought tea plants over to Taiwan and planted them in the Taiwanese highlands.

Over the past 300 years, Taiwan has perfected tea production. Today, the country is known mostly for its oolong tea, which comes in a variety of blends.

Types of Formosa oolong tea

At ESP Emporium, we offer several types of Taiwanese oolong tea. Here are the blends that we have to offer:

Oolong Tea Lemon Basil: This blend is flavorful and serves as a perfect dessert to end a dinner. Some have also suggested using Oolong Tea Lemon Basil as an iced tea by mixing it with a pinch of lime and honey.

Flower of Asia (Mango) Oolong Tea: This blend is more complex and combines the flowery soft notes of the Lotus Oolong with the soft, spicy flavor that accompanies many Chinese teas. In short, it combines a pleasant mixture of different Asian flavors into one single blend.

Formosa Butterfly of Taiwan Oolong Tea: Creating this tea requires a strict adherence to quality standards. The blend can only be produced in the Taiwanese highlands, and fermentation must be stopped at the critical moment. During the fermentation process, the edges of the leaves darken while the center of the leaves remain green, giving this blend a pleasant sweetness and a fleshier drinking sensation. 

Formosa Oolong Tea: This is the classic Formosa Oolong Tea. Produced in the Taiwanese highlands, the leaves in this blend are fermented until about 50% wilted. During this process, growers use bamboo baskets to dry the leaves, which ultimately leads to a light-tasting tea with hints of flowery and spicy flavors.

Formosa Superior Fancy Oolong Tea: This is our finest quality Formosa oolong tea blend. Creating this blend requires a careful fermentation process. Once the blend is complete, it offers a noble taste that tea connoisseurs will appreciate. Formosa Superior Fancy Oolong Tea also provides an intense flowery bouquet and highly aromatic scents.

Ultimately, Formosa oolong tea tastes similar to oolong teas from nearby China. This makes sense, since the leaves were imported from that region in the first place. If you’re looking for a unique oolong flavor appropriate for any occasion, then we have a number of Formosa teas waiting for you to try.

The Ancient Chinese Origins Of Oolong Tea

Like many types of loose leaf tea, oolong has been used for thousands of years. It was first cultivated in China thousands of years ago, and to this day, oolong tea plays an important role in Chinese culture. In fact, its name translated to English means ‘black dragon tea’.

Making oolong tea

Oolong tea has a complicated cultivation process. Before it can be used in tea, the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant must be placed in the sun and oxidized. During this process, the leaves wither, curl and twist to form the recognizable shape that we know today from popular blends like the Flower of Asia (Mango) Oolong Tea

The preparation process for oolong tea is known as gongfu tea-making, an ancient Chinese art that originated in the Fujian and Guangdong provinces of China. Its name literally translates to ‘making tea with efforts’, and the entire process of making oolong is very controlled and labor-intensive.

Ultimately, the process used to make oolong tea means that it tastes surprisingly similar to green tea and black tea. Since oolong tea ranges between 10% and 70% oxidation, it can be placed between green and black tea varieties on the oxidation scale. The tea itself has a dark brownish color.

Health benefits of oolong

As with many Chinese teas, oolong tea is rumored to hold a number of powerful health benefits. Here are just a few of the suspected benefits of drinking oolong tea:

Reduce cholesterol build-up: Many people believe that oolong tea reduces cholesterol build-up in the bloodstream, making it a very healthy drink for anybody who struggles with high blood pressure.

Eliminates digestive problems: Oolong tea has been shown to clear up all sorts of digestive problems. As a whole, it’s a very gentle drink for the digestive track to handle, making it a popular tea for people of all age groups.

Healthier bones: Some researchers have suggested that oolong tea can protect people from diseases like osteoporosis. Overall, oolong tea has been shown to promote stronger bones and prevent tooth decay.

Immune system booster: Like other types of Chinese tea, oolong is rumored to boost the functioning of the immune system, making our bodies stronger and helping prevent all sorts of diseases.

Weight loss: Many people drink oolong tea on a regular basis due to its weight loss properties. Along with all of the other benefits listed above, oolong tea has been rumored to increase metabolism and help reduce fat buildup throughout the body.

Overall, oolong tea has a number of ingredients that can benefit your health. Its antioxidants will repair the damage done by free radicals, for example, while the high potassium content improves brain functioning and aids your nervous system. Oolong tea has even been used to treat diabetes, as it often contains ingredients that help to regulate insulin levels in the body.


Overall, oolong tea is one of the healthiest types of tea on the planet. It is regularly drunk throughout China and the world due to its health benefits. Today, oolong tea is growing in popularity and is a healthy drink for people of all age levels and demographics.

Losing Weight with Oolong Tea

Oolong tea, which is also known by the name wu long, is a unique type of tea. It is widely consumed in the East, and just starting to become more popular in the West. It comes from the camellia sinensis plant, as do the other three main types of teas. (Those being white tea, green tea, and black tea). It is processed a bit differently though. It goes through an oxidation process that oxidizes it more than green tea, but less than black tea.white

Oolong and its flavor

In this way, its flavor varies between being closer to black tea to being closer to green tea. It’s delicious, but depending on the type you may have a variety of flavors and oolong experiences. In addition to its complex and varied flavor, oolong tea has health benefits. It contains antioxidants and vitamins that help to improve your health.

Weight loss and oolong tea

Oolong tea may also help you to lose weight, and keep you slim. While green tea has more proven beneficial effects on your health, it is also studied and researched far more extensively than oolong tea. And while perhaps oolong tea may not have the same effects as green tea, it does have tons of nutrients and vitamins that are excellent for you. And oolong tea can help you to lose weight.

Benefits of weight loss
And weight loss can be important to you for many reasons. There are more than cosmetic reasons for losing weight. Though it is important to feel comfortable in your own body. The condition of being overweight or obese can lead to social discomfort and anxiety, and even lower self-esteem and self-confidence. By reaching a goal weight you can increase your confidence level and your self-assurance.
But beyond these reasons, reaching a healthy weight can help to lower your cholesterol and prevent against cardiovascular diseases and stroke.

Boost your metabolism
There is scientific evidence which supports the belief that oolong tea can help to boost your metabolism. In this way, you can burn off more calories at a faster rate. This is one of the things that weight loss diet pills and crash diets advertise; how much they can increase your metabolism. An increased metabolism is known to be extremely beneficial in the weight loss process.

Burn off fat
Loose leaf oolong tea can also improve the process your body uses to burn off fat. Some research suggests that it may help to burn off twice the amount of fat than is normally burned off by your body. It can also block the absorption of fat by your body. By preventing the fat from being absorbed, it prevents it from becoming fatty cells in your body. Oolong tea can help to slim your waist by burning off belly fat. And it can lower your LDL, or the bad type of cholesterol.
But even after you reach your goal weight, how do you keep the pounds off? One of the most difficult part of a healthy lifestyle is maintaining a healthy weight once you’ve reached it. Oolong tea can actually help you to keep the weight off. Regular consumption will help keep you burning off fat on a long term basis.


Loose Leaf Oolong Tea: The Process Of Fermentation

Oolong or Wu Long means "Black Dragon". Oolongs are half-fermented (or semi-oxidized) teas that are in the specialty tea family. Half-fermented because the processing of Oolong tea requires only a partial fermentation (oxidation) of the leaves. Oolongs occupy an intermediate position between non-fermented green teas and fully fermented black teas and are the most diverse and interesting loose leaf teas. Oolongs can have varying degrees of oxidation that ranges somewhere between 10-35% in classic Chinese Oolongs to 60-70% in classic Taiwanese (Formosa) Oolongs. Oolong specialty tea is often made from mature leaves, collected from older tea trees.

Processing Oolong is considered the art of tea, where the character of tea is created. Tea masters participate in Oolong tea processing competitions to demonstrate their professional skills at this fine art.

Let’s take a look at Oolong manufacturing process.

There are no standard recipes on how to manufacture oolong tea; it is up to the discretion of each tea garden or tea master to decide on processing and the level of oxidation.
Immediately after gathering, the tea leaves are spread in a thin layer on special bamboo mats under direct sunlight for withering that will let most of water evaporate. The withering process time varies depending on the ambient temperature.
The next step of processing is very peculiar, withered leaves are placed in a large bamboo basket and put in a shady area. Approximately every hour, the tea leaves are shacked and gently tumbled in order to bruise the edges of the leaves to start an oxidation, at the same time avoiding breaking or crushing them. This procedure has to be done several times, until following effect will be reached: bruised up edges of the leaves due to the fermentation become brown blush (like 'rusty'), while veins and parts of the leaves should remain green.

Once the desired level of fermentation is reached, the oxidation process should be stopped immediately. This is achieved through the heat drying phase of raw materials in scorching air called "panning". The pan roasting of the leaves requires extensive experience in Oolong tea processing.

Most Oolongs are dried in two stages: first is partially, primary drying and rolling of tea leaves, then a final finish drying. Some highly fermented Oolongs undergo an additional stage of wetting and softening.

The partially drying process is carried out manually. This stage is necessary to stop the fermentation. Partially drying can be done in 2-4 steps, when the raw material is taken out of the oven, quickly cooled, then rolled. Then again dried in the oven, rapidly cooled, then rolled again, and so on. Afterwards, the leaves go through a final drying phase, ending oxidation and often followed by baking (roasting). Several kinds of Oolong are not rolled just dried after panning. With such a "multistage" technology, taste and degree of fermentation of Oolongs differentiate. Although, manufacturing Oolong is very intensive and meticulous process, unique aroma and flavor profile of this specialty tea makes this tea worth the trouble.

Good quality Oolongs are only loose leaf teas, not tea bags!

The most widely known and actively exported Oolongs are Chinese (Fujian and Yunnan) and Taiwanese (Formosa). Among the most well-known are Formosa Oolongs. Grown and manufactured in Taiwan, named after the province in which grown, these teas are considered the best in quality and affordability among Oolong the loose leaf tea family. Taiwanese Oolongs are often called "Champagne of Teas". Typically Taiwanese Oolongs are specifically labeled that indicates the quality of tea:

1. Fanciest or Extra Fancy
2. Fancy
3. Extra Choice or Extra Fine
4. Fine
5. Fully Superior
6. Superior
7. Good
8. Standard

Chinese Oolongs are famous for the fact that are used in a Chinese traditional procedure named Gongfu Cha and withstand up to 7 steepings.

Brewing Oolong is a very delicate process because it strongly depends on the type of oolong, more precisely, the degree of its fermentation. A lightly fermented Oolong is closest to the brewing of green tea with 190-195 degrees water and the brewing time 1-3 minutes. More fermented Oolong (such as Formosa) is brewing a little longer 4-5 min in hotter water 203-212. After brewing a quality Oolong has pronounced specific characteristics that cannot be mixed with any other kinds of tea.

 The best quality Oolongs expresses a strong and rich floral aroma and a remarkable peachy flavor with a honey-sweet aftertaste. Oolongs that closer in oxidation to black teas, have a nutty, toasted flavor. Color of brew is very diverse: from light yellow with green notes (like green tea) to a dark red. Oolong specialty teas contribute 2% of tea consumption of all the teas all over the world.

Enjoy a great cup of Oolong, happy drinking!

How to Find a Great Blend Tea

The choices of flavors of teas can be overwhelming. There are literally thousands of different types and flavor pairings of teas. There are more types of teas in existence than a person could ever possibly try even in an entire lifetime. So, there are some things you should take into consideration when choosing a tea to taste.

The Basics
There are four main types of tea: black, oolong, white, and green. Among these there are many varied flavors, but most teas fall under one of these varieties. Another thing to consider is the quality of the tea. Tea that has been processed by hand has the best flavor, much better flavor than teas that have been processed by other means. The quality of the flavor is another thing to take into consideration. Natural flavorings are always the best choice.

Black Tea
Among the different types of teas, it’s important to know the main differences to begin trying out which ones you might like. Black tea is the most consumed worldwide but it has a strong flavor and the highest level of caffeine. It can handle strong flavors such as chocolate and strong fruits.

Green Tea
Green tea tastes sweet but has a very natural almost plant-like flavor. Most fruit flavors work well with green tea, as do herbs and spices. There are some flavors that could overpower the tea, however.

White Tea
White tea has a sweet flavor and aroma but its flavor can be overpowered by others very easily. Certain flower or fruit flavors do enhance the tea quite well. Melon and jasmine are examples which enhance the white tea flavor. Peaches, pears, and roses are also excellent to be paired with this type of tea.

Oolong Tea
Oolong tea has complex flavors, and it varies in flavor depending on how it is processed. It can range from being very similar to a black tea, to being very close to green tea. Peaches, apples, or oranges can be paired with this type of tea to enhance its flavor, but almonds or other types of nuts make good parings as well. Some spices and flowers can be paired with oolong tea as well.

The Health Benefits
There are many flavors of tea, but the health benefits of certain types of tea may alter your decision as well. Green tea and white tea have the most natural antioxidants of the other types of teas. When pairing these teas with healthy fruits full of antioxidants, you’ve brewed a drink exploding with health benefits. There are many fruits, spices, and nuts which have health benefits of their own that can be deliciously paired with white or green teas.

So How to Choose?
Learn what flavor teas you enjoy the most. Take some daring risks and try some flavor pairings you might not think would go well together. There are many different combinations of flavors of tea. Try out some different flavors and see which types of tea and which pairings you like the best. And by all means have some tea adventures and risk trying some bold new flavor pairings.