Oolong tea is the backbone of Taiwan's tea industry, originally from Fujian, China. It has been 200 years of history. The appearance of Taiwan Oolong has beautiful shape and covered by white hair so it is called white hair oolong or white tip oolong. It is also named five-color tea due to its five different colors tea leaves. The bright and brilliant orange liquor of Taiwan Oolong tea and the intoxicated sweet taste with a sweet smell of natural ripen fruit are deeply favored by westerners.
Dongding Oolong, White Tip Oolong and Baochong Oolong, Alpine or High Mountain Oolong, are all categorized as Oolong tea, which contributes a large part of Taiwan tea industry.
As Taiwan is lucky to have great environment for tea growing, and with the developing of tea technology, Taiwan has produced many top quality teas, all can be called as “Formosa Tea”. The best known ones including "Formosa Dongding oolong", "Formosa Alishan Oolong", "Formosa Wenshan Pouchong","Formosa Oriental Beauty", "Formosa Shanlinxi Oolong", "Formosa Jade Oolong" and more. According to the 1997 version of the Joy of Cooking, Taiwanese oolongs are considered to be some of the finest by some tea connoisseurs. The US cooks Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins describe three Taiwanese oolongs as the "Champagne of tea". Their special quality may be due to unique growing conditions.
Oolong is harvested five times per year in Taiwan, between April and December. The July and August crops generally receive the highest grades.
Dongding Oolong Tea
The earliest development of oolong tea species in Taiwan, grown on Dongding Mountain in Nantou County, was brought to Taiwan during the 19th century from the mainland's Wuyi Mountains. Its special qualities have been attributed to an almost continuous fog. Teas harvested in the spring are entered in a competition and the winners are quickly bespoken at premium prices, fetching US $2,000 for a 600-gram package during the 1990s. It undergoes less fermentation than most oolongs. A 40-minute roasting over charcoal contributes to its flavor, which also has "nutty, caramel, and chestnut" elements.
Milk Oolong (Jinxuan) Tea: #12 Taiwanese Tea. Jin Xuan tea is Taiwan's second largest variety of tea and one of most special tea species, is widely planted and distributed in the mid to low altitude. The Characteristic including the sweet taste with milky smell and the obvious white leaf tail, is very popular to young tea drinkers
Jade Oolong Tea: #13 Taiwanese Tea. Mainly planted in the cypress tea area, also mainly harvested by modern machine, have great production yield up to all year round. This tea is also characterized by its floral aroma.
Pouchong Tea (or Baozhong): Pouchong oolong, also called light oolong, is a lightly fermented tea, twisted shape, with floral notes, and usually not roasted, somewhere between green tea and what is usually considered oolong tea, though often classified with the latter due to its lack of the sharper green tea flavors.
Oriental Beauty Tea (Dongfang Meiren): White Tip Oolong is very fruity in taste and got the name "Oriental Beauty" from Queen Elizabeth II in the 1960s, thus "Formosa Oolong" became popular in the western world for "Oriental Beauty". Along with Lishan Oolong, it was one of the most costly exported Taiwanese teas during the 2000s. Its unique flavor originates in part from the inclusion of insect eggs and egg sacs during harvesting, contributing an element that has been described as "earthier and more robust" than Earl Grey tea. The acceptance of this flavor has led to tolerance of the insects and organic growing practices for this tea.
Iron Goddess of Mercy Tea (Tie Guan Yin): This variety originated on the mainland, and is associated with a legend in which a tea grower found a unique tea plant near an iron statue of Guan Yin(goddess). Taiwan Muzha Iron Goddess tea, also known as Tie Guan Yin, is a traditional oolong. It is roasted and has a stronger taste and a roast nutty character; the tea liquid is reddish brown, different from the Anxi Iron Goddess, which is not roasted and green in character.
Grown at altitudes of 1,000 meters or above.
Lishan oolong: Grown at altitudes above 2,200 meters, was the costliest Taiwanese tea during the 2000s, sometimes commanding prices of over $200 US dollars per 600 grams.
Dayuling oolong: It is grown at altitudes above 2,500 meters and named as The King of Taiwan High Mountain Tea. Because the quantity is limited due to the geographical condition, the prices per 500 grams are often at the range of $200 US dollars up to $500. Because of its popularity, there are unscrupulous businessmen selling fake/unqualified tea using Dayuling's brand name.
Alishan Oolong, or other high mountain oolong: This is the most widely known general name for lightly oxidized oolong tea, much of it picked in winter and therefore termed “Winter tea”. The high attitude, misty and cloudy environment provides the tea most suitable to grow.
Osmanthus Oolong: An oolong scented with osmanthus flowers, the tea is also packaged with some flowers added after the scenting process. This tea is roasted, with floral and warming notes.