The majority of my favorite teas come from mainland China. On a recommendation from a friend, I bought Pouchong – a lightly-oxidized oolong tea from Taiwan! Until now, I had never tried any loose leaf teas from Taiwan. Pouchong is a lightly-oxidized tea celebrated for its gentle aroma. Masters-grade Formosa Pouchong has a deep floral fragrance. The leaves change hot water into a light green cup of tea. The teas are fresh enough they can be steeped twice with excellent results. They will continue to unfurl and release hidden flavors beyond the first cup.
Formosa, which means “beautiful island,” is what the Dutch traders referred to Taiwan as. Mainly teas grown north of Taipei, Taiwan are given the “Formosa” title. Formosa Pouchong is grown there. In the northern region, tea can be harvested up to six times each year, although the tea plants grown at higher altitudes can only be harvested two times per year.
Oolong tea has been an extremely important export for Taiwan until the 1980s, when tea growers shifted their focus to native oolong enthusiasts rather than outside ones. Today, oolong tea is mostly grown for tea lovers in Taiwan. The rarest and most prized types of oolong tea are extremely difficult to find in the United States of America.
To this day, Taiwan holds annual competitions with the tea growing districts to reward the most exemplary oolongs each year. The gold medal winning oolongs are some of the most expensive teas in the entire world.
What Exactly Is Oolong Tea?
Great question. To be honest, I didn’t know until I did research. Like green and black tea, oolong comes from the camellia sinensis plant. As you may have suspected depending on your familiarity with green and black tea, the difference lies in how these teas are processed. Unlike green tea, oolong is fermented and allowed to partially oxidize. In the case of black tea, the leaves are fully fermented and oxidized giving it its characteristic black color. Oolong is essentially a middle-ground option between green and black tea!
Benefits of Drinking Oolong
Similarly to green tea, oolong has a number of health benefits, many of which have been studied!
- Promotes healthy gut microbiome.
- May lower risk of heart disease
- Promotes stronger bone density.
- Better than green tea for weight loss.
- Balances blood sugar levels.
- May help prevent cancer.
- Increases polyphenol antioxidant levels in your body.
- May increase memory and cognitive performance.
Pouchong vs. Oolong
Pouchong is a lightly-oxidized oolong tea. Remember how I explained that oolong is a middle-ground option between green and black tea? Well pouchong is essentially just a middle-ground option between green and oolong tea. Oolong is partially oxidized – pouchong is oxidized even less. But still more so than green. Does that make sense? Haha.
How To Get Formosa Pouchong
You can buy a high quality Master’s Grade Formosa Pouchong from my favorite tea retailer: Adagio! A Formosa sampler like the one I bought costs $6.00 and it can probably make between 10-15 cups. Your milage may vary depending on how many leaves you use per cup and whether or not you choose to resteep. Different grades will cost different amounts of money.
I definitely still prefer green tea but I’m happy I at least sampled pouchong!!!
Are you an oolong fan? Perhaps a pouchong fan? Give it a try and let me know what you think!