Formosa Rougui, Charcoal Roast
Notes of coconut candy, black sesame, and lychee.
Oolong tea from Taiwan・April 2022・台灣肉桂烏龍・Unsprayed
This year’s iteration of Formosa Rougui underwent rounds of layered charcoal roasting, producing a tea that is darker and deeper than its predecessor, yet more restrained. This duality is the result of two tea makers, each skilled in their craft, combining efforts to create a rougui grown and crafted in Taiwan, with the all the hallmarks of a yancha from Wuyishan.
The base tea hails from a small tea garden in Ping Lin we discovered in 2019. Located east of Taipei, the region is most well-known for Wenshan Baozhong, a twisted leaf, mildly oxidized green oolong. Cup after cup of this somewhat predictable cultivar left us listless until one tea maker led us through his gardens to a small copse of young tea trees he’d planted just ten years before. Here we found Formosa Rougui, a nearly unheard-of variety in Taiwan.
Our first taste of this Taiwanese-grown rougui remains one of our most treasured tea experiences. Thick and creamy, evocative of rougui from the Wuyishan Ecological Preserve in Fujian yet with floral and fruit notes inherent to Taiwanese oolongs, it was precisely the kind of unusual combination of flavors and character that we look for in our collection. While our initial Formosa Rougui release was baked in-house, we elected to have this year’s crop charcoal finished by a master roaster. Mr. Li’s experience spans not only Taiwanese teas but also draw from the traditions of mainland Wuyi yanchas.
It took over three months to achieve the level of depth Mr. Li desired for these leaves. Round upon round of roasting created a rich lacquer of flavor and depth, each layer of charcoal paired with an extended period of rest, preventing the dark roast from ever descending into notes acrid or cloying. This level of attention paid off in spades; over 4-5 brews, the flavors and character of the tea are incredibly consistent, with a depth that mirrors a classic Chinese wuyi oolong and a sweet, clearly defined structure inherent to Taiwanese-style oolongs.
The cultivar’s journey from Wuyishan to northeastern Taiwan is highlighted in its transformation. From twisted to rolled, earthen to floral, these leaves demonstrate the best of both cultures in one transcendent cup.
Formosa Rougui is packed in 100gram (3.5 ounce) vacuum sealed bricks. Tea ships in imported Si Fang Cha canisters.
Brew: 6 grams・150 ml・208° F・2 min
Inspired by the intimate supper clubs of the Song Dynasty, Sifang Cha is a small series of exquisite teas for special occasions. Each tea is carefully packed in hand-made canisters.
More familiar with our old quantities? Here’s the conversion:
|Metric quantities||Ounce equivalent||Servings|
|30 grams (new size!)||1.05 oz.||5-8|
|60 grams||2.10 oz.||10-15|
|120 grams||4.20 oz.||20-30|
|240 grams||8.46 oz.||40-60|