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How is Imperial Formosa Oolong Tea Graded?

If you’re new to oolong teas, you must give them a try. Oolong teas are flavorful and fragrant, with a more complex taste than you’ll find in many other tea varieties. And, Imperial Formosa Oolong tea is one of the best oolong teas available. It’s unlikely you’ll find an oolong tea with more flavor or character than Imperial Formosa oolong tea.

Imperial Formosa Oolong tea is produced in Taiwan, like all Formosa teas. Oolong teas originated in China, but today Taiwan is second only to China in the amount of oolong tea produced each year.

Oolong tea is a semi-fermented tea, making it a sort of cross between green and black teas. Oolong tea is fermented, like black tea, but for a much shorter period of time. It is believed that oolong tea was learned by accident by a Chinese tea gardener names Wu Liang. According to Chinese legend, Wu Liang was busy collecting and processing tea leaves to make green tea when he spotted a river deer. He stopped to kill and prepare the deer and it interrupted his tea processing for the day, and he forgot to dry out the leaves. He remembered the tea a day later, but by this time it had begun to change color, and Wu Liang was worried it had gone terrible, but chose to end drying it anyway. After completing the drying process, he made himself a cup and found that he had made a very flavorful and aromatic tea, and thus, oolong was born.

Depending upon the length of fermentation, oolong teas can be closer to green teas in terms of color and flavor, or closer to black teas. In addition, oolong teas are traditionally made from the larger leaves of the tea plant. These are the leaves that grow further down the tea plant rather than the top leaves. Some Formosa oolong teas, known as pouchong teas, are fermented only about 15%. But, other Formosa oolong teas, including Imperial Formosa oolong tea is fermented about 30%, much like Chinese oolong teas.

The flavor of Imperial Formosa oolong tea may surprise you if you’re not accustomed to drinking oolong tea. This tea is full of nuances and subtleties, with hints of many different flavors. You’ll taste notes of orange, dates and chestnuts, with a woody but sweet end that lingers on the tongue. You may need to taste this tea several times before you learn all the flavors it has to offer.

Like with other teas, it’s vital to buy a excellent quality Imperial Formosa oolong tea. The best quality is particularly vital with oolong teas, in order to allow you to experience the full range of flavors. Luckily, tea from Taiwan is graded according to a very simple to know system, and one that is truly indicative of the quality of the tea leaves you’re purchasing.

Oolong teas are made with larger tea leaves. When the tea is graded in Taiwan, it is done so based on the size of the leaves after processing. Larger leaves with silver tips will be given a higher grade than broken leaves. The grades of tea from Taiwan are as follows:

Finest to ChoiceFinestFine to FinestFine UpFine On FineSuperior to FineSuperior UpFully SuperiorSuperiorOn SuperiorGood to SuperiorGood UpFully GoodGoodOn Excellent Standard

The best tea merchants will carry only the top one or two grades of oolong tea. In particular, Imperial Formosa oolong tea is typically made only from Finest to Choice leaves, making it one of the highest quality Formosa oolong teas in the world. The lower grades of leaves are typically found only in tea bags, which is another of the reasons that it’s recommended that you choose only loose teas whenever you buy tea of any flavor.

In general, Formosa oolong loose teas are very excellent teas. Making oolong tea is a labor intensive process, and one that is not normally undertaken by tea gardens that mass produce their tea. In order to make the best oolong tea, the tea must be closely observed to determine when it has reached the proper level of fermentation, often requiring shaking or tumbling at regular intervals while the tea is fermenting. Each batch of oolong tea is made under the watchful eye of a tea artisan who can determine precisely when the batch is ready.

Still, as a consumer, it’s vital to know your tea merchant. Buying tea only from the most reputable tea merchants will help you ensure that you’re really getting your money’s worth. The best tea merchants will offer you the highest grade of Imperial Formosa oolong tea at a honest price.

Once you tasted Imperial Formosa oolong tea, you’re sure to want to drink it again and again. This flavorful tea is perfect for pairing with food or for drinking all on its own. It’s certain to become one of your favorite teas for an entertaining as well as for an evening alone.

Jon M. Stout is Chairman of the Golden Moon Tea Company. Golden Moon Tea recently placed first and second in the best tea competition at the World Tea Expo in Atlanta Georgia. For more information about goldenmoontea.com tea, goldenmoontea.com/wholesaletea wholesale tea and goldenmoontea.com/blacktea black tea go to goldenmoontea.com

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