Formosa Special Fannings (TT10) (Oolong)
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From Upton Tea
This is a fannings grade of the highest-oxidized Taiwanese Oolong tea sold by Upton. Being mostly oxidized, it resembles black tea fairly closely. The loose leaves are dark brown, and are actually coarser than some grades that I have seen called "fannings". The dry leaves have a pleasant aroma.
The tea brews a rich reddish brown. The aroma is typical of a darker Oolong, but not particularly strong. The aroma is earthy and has some nutty tones. Overall, not much bitterness and not much complexity.
Upton recommends to use one teaspoon per cup, and to brew at 190 farenheit, and for 3-4 minutes. I find that if brewed this way, it is too mellow; the aroma weak and there is little or no bitterness, and little flavor overall. I tried brewing with boiling water, however, and the results were not good--although one might think it would work, because this tea seems similar to black tea, the result was overly bitter and astringent, and unpleasant to drink. I also tried using water just a little under boiling, and this yielded the best results. As a final note, as would be expected with fannings, you can't get multiple infusions out of this one. The first cup has all the aroma and subsequent attempts at brewing will yield a colorful cup of water with almost no aroma. I have had luck using more than one teaspoon per cup and brewing for a shorter period of time. I also had luck brewing one infusion for 5 minutes.
Bottom line? This tea is cheap, but I do not think it offers the best value, because you can only really brew it once, and even then it's not terribly flavorful. I would recommend buying a higher grade of Oolong: you might actually achieve a lower cost-per-cup, if like me, you enjoy multiple infusions from the same leaves. And in my opinion, the Chinese oolongs are better when it comes to the darker/more oxidized Oolongs.