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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Review: Tula Teas’ Formosa Green

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The Subject:  Formosa Green
Company:Tula Teas. [More info]

Straight Tea Rating:

About the new rating designation.

Water temperature:195° F
Steeping time:1 min. each infusion
Tea type:Green
Aroma, dry leaves:  Fresh, grassy/nutty
Color, plain —Yellowy-green

1st Infusion:  
Aroma, plain —  Planty/floral/grassy
Taste, plain —Spinachy, mild, smooth/rounded feel
2nd Infusion:
Aroma, plain —Planty/floral
Taste, plain —More spinachy, mild, not as smooth
3rd Infusion:
Aroma, plain —Spinachy
Taste, plain —Light spinachy, lightly hay-like
4th Infusion:
Aroma, plain —Lighter
Taste, plain —Spinachy, milder

Tula is a tea company that, though relatively young, is certainly one whose teas are well above average and that we’re excited to get to try. They are specially selected and high-quality, relying on the tea leaves for their flavor, with the exception of Genmaicha (a blend of green tea and toasted rice). This is our first foray into their products. I don’t think hubby and I will ever be the same!

Tula’s site describes the tea leaves as “large, pebbly” and we agree, both in their dry and after steeping stages. They open up quite large, so using an infuser is something we would encourage you to avoid. Let the leaves open fully and impart their tea essence into the water. They recommend steeping in a smaller container. Since the Little Yellow Teapot holds about 2 cups of liquid, he was perfect for this test (which made him very happy).

Their description of the flavor:

Savory notes of sautéed scallops, steamed clams and kale soup are balanced with a floral and occasionally milky sweetness. Satiating, brothy umami richness and a hint of metallic ozone give this tea a depth that rivals the best wild-harvested Japanese Gyokuros and Taiwanese oolongs. Later infusions release a sweeter, more floral flavor with pleasing mineral and spinach notes.

Well, sorry to say but once again, we have a tea vendor description that is not what a regular tea drinking customer would experience. In fact, based on this description, I would not order this tea. That would be sad, because this tea is one of the best green teas hubby and I have tried recently. It is truly superb. The issue seems to be the inclination to make the taste description as complex or “high falutin’” as possible. There’s no need, especially when your tea already has such an enticing aroma and flavor.

We have some of the sample left and will do a follow-up trial later, doing a longer first steep. We suspect that this tea could have a wonderful flavor with a longer steep. We stuck with the shorter steep times here to get more infusions.

The sample package is the best we’ve seen so far and should keep the teas great tasting for awhile. They block out both light and air. We always store our teas away from heat sources, too.

Disclaimer: This tea was provided by the company named. However, the rating of the tea and any opinions concerning it are always strictly objective.


  1. They did use a terrible description! Glad it tasted better than that!

  2. I love how you include the photos of the leaves before and after steeping. In the case of these tightly-rolled oolongs the difference is always very striking!

    I also agree with both of you that the commercial description is not particularly appetizing-sounding.


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