Formosa Honey Black Tea
Mainly, the honey note is, like the Oriental Beauty Oolong, resulting from grasshopper feed, aka Formosana Paoli bite or Jacobiasca Formosana. This little grasshopper like insect is responsible for creating incredibly rich, sweet, smooth and fragrant character of the tea. They feast on the emerging buds and secrete an enzyme, which inhibits the photosynthesis of the leaf and causes an increase in the levels of healthy polyphenols. Naturally, this means the garden must never be sprayed with insecticides. Subsequently after the feed, leaves stop growing any larger but curl up, thus a more concentrated note of similar to honey. Sometime it’s also with ripe fruit and floral like notes.
However, usually for Oriental Beauty Oolong, it is necessarily to have young leaves eaten by Formosana Paoli in humid weather and plucked carefully the white tippy buds with mid-hi-oxidation to produce a note of both fruit & flower in amber cup. Whereas Honey Black, although also with Paoli feed but it looks more for the sweetness in a bright and alive cup.
Formosa Ruby Black TTES#18, is teabush cuttage propagated from Myanmar Shan onto Taiwan native cultivar, hence a stronger tea variety.
Honey Black, is not a cultivar but a method practiced in eastern coast Taiwan of how leaves are plucked/made into high oxidized teas.
Honey Black is best known in Wu-He area on the east coast of Taiwan, particularly during the summer time when it is not suitable to make green oolongs.
Leaf appearance: dark brownish with some tips a bit wiry and curly
Infusion: Oolong like, with a hint of sweetness
Cup: color of forceful amber
Taste: floral, with a dash of honey and a bit malty
Serving Size: 1 level tsp./6oz serving
Brew Temp: 203 to 212 degree F
Brew Time: 4 to 5 Minutes