Fancy Oolong vs. Formosa Beauty

Ivo’s colleague bought a pack of “Super Fancy Oolong” from a Chinese tea shop in Gent and asked me to evaluate it.

The best way of evaluating tea is to compare it with a similar sort of tea.  When I opened the sample bag, based on the shape and color, so I decided to compare it against the Formosa Beauty:

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Super Fancy Oolong, it’s a summer pluck tea but is not known as from it came from.

  • Source: It’s not clear from where this tea is coming from.  It’s hard to judge from which type of tea tree cultivar as well and it’s not clear how the processing techniques were managed; but the fermentation level apparently is pretty heavy.
  • Shape: Leaves are very dried and tiny in different colors. It is similar as the Formosa Beauty, except the color is pretty dull. Some are 1 bud with two leaves but there are many just young leaves
  • Flavour from the dried leaves is very mild, almost is hard to sense any flavour from the dried leaves .  The flavour in the warmed teapot does have the flavour of caramel but is very mild.
  • Taste: The taste from the 1st infusion does have a taste of caramel, but there is not much after taste.  The taste from the 2nd infusion drops fast and there is no much taste from the 3rd infusion already

Formosa Beauty 

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  • Source: Taiwan from Qin Xin Oolong tea tree cultivar
  • Shapes: 1 bud with two young leaves.  Due to the bite of Jacobiasca formosana so leaves are tiny and dried in different colors.  Heavy fermented (+/- 60-75%)
  • Flavour: Can sense the caramel flavour even from the dried leaves.  The flavour became very rich and sexy in the warmed pot.
  • Taste: The taste of caramel continues starting from the first infusion to the later 8 infusions.


  • Formosa (Oriental) Beauty was originated first from Taiwan, but now also can be found in China and India.
  • The tea tree cultivar used for the Formosa Beauty in Taiwan and Fujian is either Qin Xin or Qin Xin Da Mon Oolong tea tree cultivar.  But according to understanding, Yunnan also produce similar heavy fermented tea in the summer time, but it is not sure which type of tea tree cultivar
  • Apparently the fermentation of the Super Fancy Oolong is very high (perhaps it is heavy fermented by solar withering), that’s why the flavour and taste are very mild and not able to last for more multiple infusions.
  • Indeed the better quality of tea seems cost more, but the cost per cup is even more economical because it allows more multiple infusions from the same quantity of 3-5g in a day and the taste is finer.

©copyright Mei Lan Hsiao, Belgium Chinese Tea Arts Centre/Belgium Chinese Tea Culture Association +32494506899