What’s The Story Behind Formosa Oolong Tea?

by Steven Popec 20. August 2012 14:02

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

by Steven Popec 28. June 2012 10:27

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.

Conclusion

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

by Elena Popec 1. August 2011 17:20

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.

 

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Oolong

Loose Leaf Oolong Tea: The Process Of Fermentation

by Elena Popec 24. September 2010 12:39

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

by Steven Popec 11. June 2010 07:34

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.

Four Main Varieties of Loose Tea

by Elena Popec 10. June 2010 10:11

There are thousands of varieties of tea throughout the world, and even among these the tea can be processed in a unique and different way. India’s Assam region harvests the most tea, and second in total world production is Sri Lanka. Among the varieties of tea are oolongs, assam, darjeeling, silver needle, wuyi, gyokuro, sencha, dragon well, white peony, and ceylon. There are thousands of types of teas, and the choices can be overwhelming. Most of these different types fall under four main types. These four main ones are ones which you are probably familiar with if you are a regular tea drinker: green, black, oolong, and white teas.

Do the Different Types of Teas Come from Different Plants?
   
There is only one type of plant that tea comes from, which may surprise someone who is new to the world of tea. All tea comes from the Camellia sinesis plant. There are some teas, called tisanes, which don’t come from Camellia sinesis. These include chamomile and herbal teas. But a newcomer might wonder how the single plant produces so many different types of teas.

If Teas All Come from the Same Plant, What Makes Them Different?
   
Anything can change the outcome of a tea. And there is a lot that affects the Camellia sinesis plant. Changes in the weather or different altitudes can impact how a tea turns out. Different parts of the world have different climates and different compounds of soil. These account for very varied types of teas that exist in the world today. A look at the four main types of tea:

Green Tea
   
Green tea is pretty well known these days and it offers many health benefits. It’s harvested in the spring, and after harvesting the oxidation process is stopped. Green tea is fermented a little longer. Some types are grown in the shade, and some are grown in sunshine. It’s a common variety of tea and can be found in most grocery stores, but there are certain types of this tea which are incredibly expensive. Some types of green tea can cost hundreds for a few ounces.

Black Tea
   
Black tea is oxidized more than the other three types of teas. The leaves are left to dry until they turn dark. It is also known to have health benefits as the other types. Black tea has much more caffeine than the other types of tea, and is consumed more world wide than the other types of tea.

Oolong Tea
   
Oolong, also called wu long, has a longer oxidation process, like black tea. Oolong tea varies in taste, but can have a woody or flowery flavor. Oolong is similar to green and black teas, and is a cross between the two.

White Tea
   
White tea is harvested in the spring, like green tea. It’s sweet in taste and has a delicious aroma. It is the least fermented type of tea and goes through a very simple process. It’s simply left out to be dried by the sun or in a room with specially controlled climate. It has health benefits that include its ability to fight cancer and fight off organisms that cause disease.

Select Herbal Teas for Your Health

by Steven Popec 26. May 2010 08:02

It is well known that herbal teas promote overall health and well being. However there are lots of herbal teas out there and you might have a hard time choosing the right one to gain the most health benefits. You might be trying to make up your mind between Wuyi Cliff, Oolong or Wu-long, Pu-erh or Sencha teas. Well, wake up and smell the tea, because although you are not wrong, the answer is in the mix. To be specific, it is in the mix of herbal teas Wuyi Cliff, Pu-erh, Sencha and Oolong. By itself each of teas pack fantastic health benefits, then just imagine what the benefits would be when you combine all these teas. A few of the most important health benefits of this tea mix are in promoting healthy dieting, supplying your body with more natural energy, boosting your immune system and helping to calm the mind.

1. Healthy Dieting Solutions that Work:

Having a cup of the herbal tea mix made from mixing together the whole leaves of the different types of teas, rather than just having just a cup of tea with tea dust helps in ensuring quick and effective weight loss. Insulin is produced in your body, when you consume carbohydrates or sugary foods, which aids in storing fats in the body. The herbal tea mix works by reducing the amount of insulin produced and directly affects the amount of fat stored. Having a cup of herbal tea mix after each meal will work wonders by helping you stay off the calories effectively.

In addition to reducing the amount of fats stored in the body the tea also helps in speeding up the metabolism of the body. Metabolism is the rate at which your body burns up calories, so consuming this tea regularly will help your body able to keep off the weight easily.  Also, the tea mix reduces food cravings and suppresses your appetite. Even with all these benefits, the tea mix does not have any side effects unlike diet pills and supplements available on the market.

2. Stronger Immune System

Immune system defense is the ability of your body to fight against external infections. Out of numerous important benefits of the herbal tea mix is that it boosts the natural ability your body has, of fighting off bacteria. Moreover, the tea mix increases your chances of living a longer, healthier life.

3. More Pep in Your Step!

Feel energized and revitalized by just having a cup of the herbal tea mix! An important benefit of this herbal tea is that it helps to decrease harmful amounts of cholesterol, thus improving cardiac function. Lower cardiac function helps to noticeably energize, and increase your mobility, and desire to get out and move around more.

4. Soothes and Relaxes

Feel more relaxed and sleep better! Having a cup of this herbal tea mix will relax you, both mentally and physically. Given all the above benefits of having herbal tea, are you now convinced and ready to try this herbal tea mix?

The Mystery Of Oolong

by Steven Popec 9. April 2010 12:25

Oolong

Chinese Wū long or Oolong is a type of tea located between green and black in the Chinese classification. In other words, Oolong is half-fermented tea. Oxidation ranges from 20% to 40%, and the most characteristic feature of this tea is that the leaves are fermented unevenly. Along the edges of the tea leaf fermentation can be quite astringent, almost like black tea with well pronounced reddish rim around a leaf but in the center of leaf fermentation, is very weak, close to green teas. As a result, Oolongs have a wonderful aroma and taste that combines the freshness of green tea and tartness of black tea.

Oolong combines the best qualities of both green and black teas. Some highly fermented Oolongs give a fairly dark brown-reddish infusion. However, such Oolongs constitute only a small share of the vast diversity of this type of tea. Basic and famous Oolongs have a gentle light yellowish or greenish tinge honey extract. By appearance of the infusion, they are closer to green teas and by taste - to black teas. A good Oolong is both refreshing and delicious with no trace of bitterness and stronger aroma than any green or black teas. Oolong is a well known type of Chinese tea used in ceremonies. A widely-used ceremonial method of brewing Oolongs in Taiwan and China is called Gongfu Cha. For a complete appreciation of the taste of this tea, tea pairing is recommended: tea bowl and snifter cup used to appreciate the tea's aroma. Tea poured into a snifter cup and a drinking bowl is placed upside down over the top of the snifter cup. Then the two are inverted so that the snifter cup is upside down in the drinking bowl. The final stage is when the snifter cup is lifted and the tea is released into the drinking bowl. After all this manipulations, tea drinkers can respectfully receive the aroma and then enjoy the taste.
 
There are two main types of Oolong that are grown and harvested in China and Taiwan, the mainland and island tea. The next classification is the type of traditional treatment and characteristics of climate and soil. Oolongs grow high in the mountains, shrouded in fog, on the poor stony soils. The quality of tea depends on the orientation of the slope, the number of fogs during the growth and professionalism of collectors, who manually collect and sort out the tea leaves in difficult mountain conditions.  
 
Oolong often resembles the form of twisted lumps consisting of strongly folded and compressed whole leaves. When touched, the lumps are elastic and dense. Fresh tea should be slightly shiny and have a strong fragrant. During the brewing process, the tea leaves unfold, expend and consume the entire volume of the teapot when steeped 2-3 times. Usually, Oolong brewed with water temperature of 176-194º F for 3-4 minutes. A teapot 150 ml takes about one heaped teaspoon. Expensive Oolongs can withstand multiple infusions up to 20-25 times. The fragrance of tea can vary from delicate peach tones to astringent walnut, with a corresponding color change of infusions darker with each subsequent brewing. There are varieties of oolong that color does not change and remains yellow-green, while others, originally given infusions of intense color give a pale infusion each subsequent brewing.

Oolong tea is the most diverse among Chinese teas in terms of taste and appearance . Oolong is tea-perfection conceived by Heaven and Earth. 

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