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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Review: Golden Moon’s Imperial Formosa Oolong Tea

The Subject: Imperial Formosa Oolong Tea from Golden Moon Teas.


Water temperature: 212° F
Steeping time: 5 minutes

Tea type: Oolong (semi-fermented)
Scents, flavorings, etc.: No added scents or flavorings
Aroma, dry: Fresh, mild, slightly smoky, earthy
Aroma in the cup, plain: Fresh, mild, slightly smoky, earthy
Taste, plain: Fresh, mild, slightly smoky, earthy
Aroma in the cup, enhanced: N/A
Taste, enhanced: N/A

2nd Infusion: As enthralling as the first

Chilled: Excellent

My longing for Oolong has grown to fever pitch. The sample of Golden Moon Tea’s Imperial Formosa Oolong arrived quite awhile ago, unfortunately about the same time as two other packages of tea samples. So, I’ve been waiting on this one and trying the other samples first, but I can wait no more! The time has come to try this tea.

First, a confession: I chose the Imperial Formosa Oolong because of its name, which speaks of a land across the globe. Just to touch and smell the leaves brings me closer to the workers on the tea plantations. Okay, so I’m a bit romantically minded — now you know!

Popping the top on this can is the start of a fabulous tea adventure. This is whole leaf tea, as you can see in the photos. The smell is intoxicating. Both hubby and I inhaled deeply. Hubby found the aroma mild, fresh, and pure “tea.” I was transported with the first whiff, taking in a heavenly, earthy aroma, one that speaks of tea bushes (Camellia Sinensis) growing in the sun, being tended by dedicated tea growers. Full-leaf tea goodness is promised in every molecule of scent.

The tea “liquor,” brewed loosely in the pot (nothing coming between us and our tea), is light in color and rich in taste, living up to the promise of the aroma of the dry tea. Look at these full tea leaves. It would be virtually criminal to stuff them into an infuser basket or tea ball. How could they fully expand and give forth their tea-ness?

A few months ago, I bought an Oolong from the local Asian market for $1.99. While it has a very authentic Chinese restaurant taste, smoky with no bitterness, it lacks the subtle and delicate flavor and aroma of the Imperial Formosa Oolong. Comparing these two Oolongs is like comparing a basic chocolate bar to a more gourmet chocolate bar like Godiva, Cadbury, or Ghiradelli. In fact, if Darjeeling is the “champagne of teas,” the Imperial Formosa Oolong is the “champagne of champagnes” of tea.

Golden Moon gets a half teapot just for the wonderful labeling on their can. They give detailed instructions on how to prepare this tea to get full benefit and the best taste possible. Very smart. There are a lot of novice tea drinkers who are hesitant about trying new teas because they lack the knowledge about how to prepare them. They get another half teapot for the wonderful can itself that perfectly preserves the freshness of this tea, blocking out all three threats to storing tea: light, air, and moisture.

I have to deduct a half teapot because of this tea being organic. More and more tea companies are climbing on the organic bandwagon, resulting in more tea growers feeling pressured into jumping through needless hoops to be certified as organic. For me, something being labeled “organic” is no guarantee of better quality.

Regardless, the Little Yellow Teapot will never be the same after having the honor of steeping this tea. In fact, he may run and hide if we try to steep a lesser quality Oolong in him. Can’t say that I blame him!

A perfect tea for a moment of quiet reflection at the end of the day.

Disclaimer: The teas reviewed here were provided by the company named. However, the rating of the tea and any opinions concerning it are strictly objective.


  1. Thanks for the review. Sounds like a great tea! While I too tend to find organic teas less stellar in flavor than their non-organic counterparts, I do applaud the direction and attempt to make teas healthier. I hope someday they will rise to become as flavorful as the non-organic varietals.

  2. Just discovered that this tea is available from The English Tea Store:

  3. I have a small sample of this that I will now rush to try, thanks!

  4. Happy tea tasting! Let me know how you like it.

  5. Oh I am addicted to Oolong Teas. Another company you might want try out is Nativtea. Their oolongs are to die for.

  6. Thanks for the tip. Will let my humans know! :-)


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