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Alex Zorach

RateTea Editor

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Member since Sep. 1st, 2009. Reviewed 1408 teas.

Reviews of Teas & Herbal Teas from Taiwan / Formosa

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Picture of Dong Ding Oolong

Dong Ding Oolong from Tradition

Style: Jade Oolong – Region: Taiwan / Formosa

93 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 5/5
Dec. 20th, 2010

This is an exceptionally strong tea: without a doubt, the strongest green oolong I have yet tried. Very little leaf is needed. While I've had Dong Ding with a more nuanced aroma, it was weaker overall, and I actually prefer strength, especially in this style of tea which can be a little too gentle for my tastes. The...

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Picture of Bai Hao Oolong (Oriental Beauty) Superior Grade

Bai Hao Oolong (Oriental Beauty) Superior Grade from Life in Teacup

Style: Oriental Beauty – Region: Hsinchu (County), Taiwan

53 / 100 Aroma: 6/10 Flavor: 2/5 Value: 2/5
Dec. 17th, 2010

Thank you Marlena for sharing this one with me!

Fruity and complex aroma, but completely without bitterness or bite, even when using a generous amount of leaf and steeping for a long time. The overall character of the cup is Darjeeling-like, although with less edge. Although it's mild in terms of aroma and bittern...

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Picture of Jasmine Tea

Jasmine Tea from Tradition

Style: Jasmine Tea – Region: Taiwan / Formosa

77 / 100 Aroma: 7/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 5/5
Dec. 15th, 2010

Very strong floral aroma to the dry leaf. The cup brews a deep golden color, and its aroma is much more subtle than that of the dry leaf. Smooth flavor. Overall character is mellow, deep, but with a metallic aftertaste.

I made three infusions, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, and much longer for the last. The aroma was hig...

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Picture of A-Li-Son Oolong Tea

A-Li-Son Oolong Tea from Tradition

Style: High Mountain Oolong – Region: Chiayi (County), Taiwan

87 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 5/5
Nov. 29th, 2010

Now and then I buy tea loose-leaf tea in Chinatown, Asian import stores, and other specialty food stores, and I am often disappointed. However, this one was a pleasant surprise. I wasn't expecting much: I bought 100 grams of this Alishan Oolong for $7, which seemed extraordinarily cheap. I've had better Alishan Oolo...

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Picture of Jade Oolong Tea

Jade Oolong Tea from Arbor Teas

Style: Jade Oolong – Region: Nantou, Taiwan

63 / 100 Aroma: 6/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 3/5
Sep. 28th, 2010

This jade oolong tastes very little like any Taiwanese jade oolongs I've had, and instead tastes more like a greener, medium-roast Tie Guan Yin. The level of roast is noticeably stronger than what I normally expect from a Jade oolong.

The aroma is of honey and wood. In the second infusion, some herbaceous tones co...

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Picture of Iron Goddess of Mercy

Iron Goddess of Mercy from Rishi Tea

Style: Tie Guan Yin – Region: Nantou, Taiwan

90 / 100 Aroma: 9/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 4/5
Aug. 10th, 2010

Wow. Rishi gets my attention again with another tea that is recognizable as its style but with its own unique twist. The aroma is astonishingly complex...in addition to the toasty, woody, and fruity tones you might expect from a medium-roasted Tie Guan Yin, there is a strong suggestion of spice (nutmeg, mace, and cin...

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Picture of Pouchong Tea 2nd Grade

Pouchong Tea 2nd Grade from Ten Ren Tea

Style: Pouchong Tea – Region: Taiwan / Formosa

80 / 100 Aroma: 9/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 4/5
Aug. 7th, 2010

I decided to try out the 2nd grade this time--the 3rd grade is absolutely the most affordable Pouchong I've tried that is still passable. This cost a lot more--I would say this tea is getting into a pretty expensive range and is competing with some good greener oolongs.

The overall character of this tea is very sim...

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Green Tea from Hsin Tung Yang

Style: Green Tea – Region: Taiwan / Formosa

53 / 100 Aroma: 3/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 3/5
Apr. 22nd, 2010

The dry leaf is flaky in appearance, meaning it is probably a steamed tea like a sencha. But the aroma is totally unlike sencha.

Brewing as I would Sencha, this comes out a cloudy grayish green, more yellowish than most Japanese teas but greener than most pan-fired teas.

This tea is packed with flavor: a rich, c...

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Picture of Tung Ting Oolong

Tung Ting Oolong from Hsin Tung Yang

Style: Jade Oolong – Region: Taiwan / Formosa

63 / 100 Aroma: 6/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 3/5
Apr. 13th, 2010

I bought this in a 60g canister for $4 in Philadelphia's chinatown, and I wasn't expecting much because it seemed cheap for this style. This is barely recognizable as a Tung Ting / Dong Ding oolong: the leaves are broken, although in fairly large pieces, and although it's on the lighter side for an oolong, it seems to...

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Picture of Formosa Oolong Extra Fancy

Formosa Oolong Extra Fancy from Upton Tea Imports

Style: Oolong Tea – Region: Taiwan / Formosa

67 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 3/5 Value: 3/5
Mar. 12th, 2010

When I bought this tea it was the second-highest-priced grade of the standard "Formosa oolongs" in Upton's catalogue. They've since switched things around and discontinued this tea.

I found this tea, moving up from the lowest grades (TT11-TT17), to be the first one that offered an appreciable difference, the first ...

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Picture of Oolong Choicest Grade

Oolong Choicest Grade from Upton Tea Imports

Style: Oolong Tea – Region: Taiwan / Formosa

50 / 100 Aroma: 5/10 Flavor: 3/5 Value: 2/5
Mar. 10th, 2010

Upton offers a number of different grades of Formosa oolong with only moderate differences in price...this one, by weight, costs less than 50% more than TT11, the "standard grade". Again, the leaf is broken, but in larger pieces than some of the lower grades. The dry leaf has a weak, earthy aroma.

The brewed tea i...

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Picture of Formosa Jade Oolong

Formosa Jade Oolong from Upton Tea Imports

Style: Jade Oolong – Region: Taiwan / Formosa

57 / 100 Aroma: 6/10 Flavor: 3/5 Value: 2/5
Mar. 1st, 2010

Extremely mellow...the aroma is more like that of a floral honey than other teas. Light in color. Sweet, with almost no bitterness, sourness, or astringency. Compared to other Tung Tings I've tried, this tea is less like other oolongs and more like a Pouchong. In my opinion, it's too thin, and it has a bit of a fis...

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Picture of Oolong Fine Grade

Oolong Fine Grade from Upton Tea Imports

Style: Oolong Tea – Region: Taiwan / Formosa

57 / 100 Aroma: 6/10 Flavor: 2/5 Value: 3/5
Feb. 28th, 2010

This tea is one step up (in price and presumably quality) from TT11. It lives up to my expectations. Surprisingly, however, the leaves are more finely broken in this tea. Visually, I'd expect this to be the lower grade tea, but actually brewing the two teas demonstrates otherwise.

I find this tea to have signific...

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Picture of Oolong Standard Grade

Oolong Standard Grade from Upton Tea Imports

Style: Oolong Tea – Region: Taiwan / Formosa

53 / 100 Aroma: 5/10 Flavor: 3/5 Value: 3/5
Feb. 26th, 2010

Upton has renamed their teas or changed their item codes between TT10 and TT11, which makes discussing them confusing. The old TT10, Season's Pick Formosa Fannings, was discontinued. This is the same tea that used to be called TT11 but it's now TT10. (Update, they now renamed it back to TT11. lol.)

This is a radi...

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Picture of Season's Pick Formosa Fannings

Season's Pick Formosa Fannings from Upton Tea Imports

Style: Oolong Tea – Region: Taiwan / Formosa

50 / 100 Aroma: 5/10 Flavor: 3/5 Value: 2/5
Feb. 22nd, 2010

The leaf of this tea is significantly coarser than many grades I have also seen called fannings.

The brewed tea is deep reddish brown. The aroma isn't terribly strong, and is mostly earthy with some nutty tones. Little bitterness, but also, little complexity.

I find that this tea is too mellow for my tastes if ...

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Picture of Formosa Oolong Spring Dragon

Formosa Oolong Spring Dragon from Upton Tea Imports

Style: Flavored Oolong – Region: Taiwan / Formosa

80 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 3/5
Feb. 12th, 2010

Aroma is light and floral; it's almost impossible to tell where the tea ends and the lilac begins: the two fragrances blend seamlessly. This tea does have a hint of the soapy quality that I find plagues some Tung Tings, in contrast to TT86, which wasn't my favorite tea, but lacked this soapiness.

I was disappointed...

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Picture of Formosa Special White Tea

Formosa Special White Tea from Upton Tea Imports

Style: White Tea – Region: Taiwan / Formosa

47 / 100 Aroma: 4/10 Flavor: 3/5 Value: 2/5
Jan. 27th, 2010

I found this tea disappointing, especially for its price, which makes it interesting for me to see that it has been dropped from Upton's carryings.

The aroma of this tea reminds me of a green tea. The cup has a clean and crisp quality, like a good Japanese sencha, but without much bitterness or sharpness. There ar...

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Picture of Oolong #18 / Jade Oolong

Oolong #18 / Jade Oolong from Adagio Teas

Style: Jade Oolong – Region: Taiwan / Formosa

57 / 100 Aroma: 6/10 Flavor: 3/5 Value: 2/5
Oct. 29th, 2009

Beautifully fragrant leaves and beautifully fragrant brewed tea. Sweet, light, orchid-like floral aroma. Weak flavor, with a very clean taste...sweet with a hint of tanginess and no bitterness. Upon drinking, what seemed like a pleasantly strong aroma becomes too weak.

Adagio recommends brewing 5 minutes with 180...

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Picture of Pouchong

Pouchong from Adagio Teas

Style: Pouchong Tea – Region: Taiwan / Formosa

43 / 100 Aroma: 4/10 Flavor: 2/5 Value: 2/5
Oct. 28th, 2009

Aroma light, vegetal, honey-like, and floral, but unfortunately, also a bit soapy. My main complaint is that this tea is so bland!

Flavor is extremely mild; a hint of sweetness, no bitterness, and absolutely no astringency whatsoever. Very clean aftertaste. More aromatic than flavorful. Although all pouchongs te...

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Picture of Formosa Amber Oolong Select

Formosa Amber Oolong Select from Upton Tea Imports

Style: Amber Oolong – Region: Taiwan / Formosa

93 / 100 Aroma: 9/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 5/5
Oct. 4th, 2009

The dry leaves were not very aromatic, but when I brewed it...wow.

This tea has a very rich and complex aroma: bold, earthy, with some nutty and woody tones, and a floral quality as well. Of all the teas I've tried from Upton, this is the one which seems to deviate the most from its lower-grade counterpart--this ha...

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Picture of Ti Kuan Yin

Ti Kuan Yin from Ten Ren Tea

Style: Tie Guan Yin – Region: Taiwan / Formosa

73 / 100 Aroma: 6/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 5/5
Sep. 23rd, 2009

Very rich and full-bodied, and more bitter than Ten Ren's Tung Ting and Ten Wu oolongs, but still not very bitter. Pleasant aroma, both earthy and fresh...cleaner tasting than other dark oolongs I've had in teabags. I tend to prefer lighter Ti Kuan Yin teas...but I enjoy this one a lot, especially given that it is in...

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Picture of Ten Wu Fine Oolong

Ten Wu Fine Oolong from Ten Ren Tea

Style: Oolong Tea – Region: Taiwan / Formosa

80 / 100 Aroma: 7/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 5/5
Sep. 21st, 2009

Without a doubt, this is the best tea in a basic teabag that I've ever tried. (Tradition's whole-leaf oolong in a sachet strikes me as better, but I think that's in a different category of teas.)

The aroma is fresh, complex, and difficult to describe. The cup is exceedingly rich and also very smooth, with a hint o...

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Picture of Tung Ting Oolong

Tung Ting Oolong from Ten Ren Tea

Style: Jade Oolong – Region: Taiwan / Formosa

70 / 100 Aroma: 5/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 5/5
Sep. 19th, 2009

This was the first time I ever tried this type of oolong. While this tea is pretty good for a teabag oolong, it falls far short of any loose Tung Ting / Dong Ding I've tried.

Smooth, very mellow, and sweet...but almost to the point of being bland. Tastes like you've added honey even without doing so. However, com...

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Picture of Formosa Amber Oolong

Formosa Amber Oolong from Upton Tea Imports

Style: Amber Oolong – Region: Taiwan / Formosa

67 / 100 Aroma: 6/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 4/5
Sep. 2nd, 2009

The dry leaves have only a weak aroma, and unfurl somewhat, but not a great deal, upon brewing.

The brewed tea is amber in color as the name suggests; the aroma is nutty and warm, not overpowering, and with a hint of a skunkiness to it. There is only a hint of bitterness and tanginess in the flavor...the tanginess ...

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Picture of Pouchong Tea 3rd Grade

Pouchong Tea 3rd Grade from Ten Ren Tea

Style: Pouchong Tea – Region: Taiwan / Formosa

83 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 5/5
Aug. 29th, 2009

I'm not sure I agree with the commercial description; it says "sharp and full bodied with a roasted quality" but I don't notice any of these qualities--this tea seems mellow, thin and clear, not full-bodied, and has not even a hint of roasted tones.

The aroma is light and floral, with a vegetal character, and perhap...

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