Organic Formosa Red, no. 18

Tea type
Black Tea
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Apricot, Bread, Butter, Cream, Green Beans, Honey, Malt, Banana, Citrus, Creamy
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Loose Leaf
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Edit tea info Last updated by Blodeuyn
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190 °F / 87 °C 4 min, 0 sec 9 oz / 266 ml

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From Red Blossom Tea Company

Black tea crafting in Taiwan was initiated by the Japanese in 1903. In 1926, the first Assam cultivar was introduced and planted around the hills of Sun Moon Lake in Nantou County. That Sun Moon Lake was the designated growing region was no coincidence, its climate and environment, its terroir, was deemed the most similar to the Assam tea gardens of India. Today, Sun Moon Lake produces the bulk of Taiwan’s black tea across three distinct cultivars: a pure-stock Assam, a native indigenous cultivar, and a hybrid cultivar named #18.

Our #18 crosses pure-stock Assam with a native indigenous cultivar. Called “Hong Yu”, or “Red Jade” by the local Taiwanese, #18 is a result of nearly 50 years of research by the Taiwanese Tea Research and Extension Station. It was grown and crafted by a grower in Yuchih, the village that borders Sun Moon Lake. We arrived in the middle of a seven day harvest period and acquired 80 catties of the tea from the grower, picked and crafted May 6th and 7th, 2010.

The tea is organically grown and produced. Once hand-picked in the early morning, the leaves are allowed to naturally wilt before a quick rolling. The bruised leaves then sit overnight and into the next day on covered bamboo trays to oxidize before they are roasted and then baked dried.

The result is a one of the most interestingly wonderful teas we have tasted. One of our customers likened it to black with cream and sugar already added. We think the tea is sweet, smooth and rich, with hints of bourbon, honey and cream, but with a slightly deeper and more complex character.

Water Temperature: 205°, or near boiling

Brewing Instructions: Use 2 teaspoons (3 for a medium sized pot). Rinse tea for 1 second. Discard rinse water. Steep for 2 minutes. May be infused multiple times.

About Red Blossom Tea Company View company

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21 Tasting Notes

15147 tasting notes

Cold brew of this one and I am loving it! With a bit of lemon and sugar this is the perfect basic iced tea.


Formosa with lemon?! I must try this


it just adds a bit of yum to the tea. I’m sure it would be similar for most black teas that are cold brewed. it just worked really well with this one, so i’ll likely finish the rest of what i have by cold brewing heh


Huh. I’ve never had lemon in anything except for black tea. My curiosity is piqued!

Terri HarpLady

I never add lemon to any of my teas, not even iced. I do, however, love lemon in my water! :)


Terri, lemon water is da best!!

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6107 tasting notes

Thanks to Sil for a sample of this one.

Now, this tea is coming off as kind of weird for me. It’s not particularly strong, although I followed the brewing instructions (not intentionally, I just happened to go with a 2-min infusion!). It’s also seeming to be a bit mariney?? The odds of it having been contaminated and ending up tasting like that are quite slim, so I have to assume that it’s an intentional note in the tea… Yeah, this is just weird. The aftertaste is honey-like and nice, but the initial flavour is verging on unpleasant.

I will admit that I did not rinse; I will try to remember to do that next time I give this a shot. I may have also underleafed, though I can’t see how that would have contributed to the weird flavour, just to the seeming weakness.

Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

That is weird

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3294 tasting notes

This is another sample from Sil. Thanks!

Opening the baggie, it smells kind of fruity.
I measured out a heaping tsp & steeped for 3 minutes (after drinking I read the instructions, lol…suppose to be 2 tsp (1 sec rinse) X 2min steep…oops!).
The resulting tea was delicious anyway. It reminds me of french bread, with butter spread over it. It’s very smooth, a little malty, sweet even. There is a bit of an ‘ocean’ taste to it, nothing overly objectionable, but noticeable.
The resteep was very mild.


You sound like me. “Directions? There were directions? Oops!” More often than not, I just boil the water, dump in the tea and hope for the best…

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676 tasting notes

Thank you Happy Lucky’s Staff for this Sample from the back room!

When I go to my neighborhood tea pub, I usually have a few tea samples tucked inside my purse, and sometimes I have a whole bag or box that I drag in and set on the bar like treasure. I can’t help myself. I have beloved tea’s that must be shared with people that love tea too.
Many times when you go into a tea shop the people working there are transient. Students, or casual part time workers who may know something about tea but have not made tea their passion or career. This is not the case with my tea pub. (These people know their stuff!)

I received this tea on one recent visit as a gift. (There had been exited tastings behind the bar of my Laoshan White and the Bailin Gonfu Black that day).

I used a Gaiwan (4oz) with boiling water and steeped 2min.

Wet leaf, copper and olive…very pretty…changing to dark olive green by the 3rd steeping with the leaves open and large.
The liquor was honey red gold gradually getting lighter by the 3rd steep.

I was just about to go into the 3 tasting phases of this tea when I couldn’t. The tea is not about a sterile set of numbers and discriptions. So here goes ad lib…

When I look at the whole tasting experience I’m reminded of Fall.
There is an introduction immediately to a sweet malty rye bread with peach jam. Then banana peel, not a bitter taste at all…but a taste and texture that is thick and fuzzy. Fall, bread baking and holidays.

I could picture my daughter, three grandaughters and I in her big (huge) farm kitchen preparing our Thanksgiving Feast. She would grind wheat and make the bread for the family. Someone else would make pies (Used to be me). Homemade cranberry sauce bubbleing on the stove, Turkey already in the roaster. I’m commanded to make the beloved candied yams layered with apples and pecans.
The second steep had my yam and apple flavor (without nuts and butter), just a more squashy yam and the sugary golden delicious apples cooked together so that the flavor melts in your mouth. Fragrant and luscious. Oh the taste is so good and rich. Dripping. I’ve never tasted a tea like it!

The breadiness of the first steeping was gone along with the malt. The banana too.

The final steeping was like the end of a meal when you’re full and scraping the bottom of the bowl. Not much was left. It was still good to drink but lighter and squashier. This was a shadow of that amazing second steeping.

What a generous gift. One of the finest, fruitiest Black Tea’s I’ve tasted.
A Taiwanese Tea and Assam blend grown close to Sun Moon Lake.

Daisy Chubb

Gotta love back room tea samples ;)
This sounds so delicious, what a journey!


What a lovely local tea pub you have!!


I loved reading about your local tea place! I wish there was something nearby like that here. And even though I’m just a student, I’d love to work somewhere like this! I’d love the opportunity to expand my tea knowledge and meet other people who understand why tea is so awesome.


I read the comment at the bar off my kindle and got happy smiles! People need to be appreciated!

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836 tasting notes

1 second rinse with tea infusing temperature water
1 tablespoon for 375 ml

Nice smooth flavour. Molasses-like sweetness. Leathery hints in the background. Lingering sweetness, reminds me of a ginseng-type sweetness.

Second infusion at 2.5 minutes with near-boiling water.

Third infusion at 3.5 minutes with near-boiling water. A lot of flavour seems to be lost by the third infusion.

Thanks to Sil for sharing this with me!

205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec

Yay! Another win!


I’m in San Francisco next week. The store is a 10 minute walk from my hotel.

By any chance, any other recommendations?
Thank you.


This is the only one that I’ve tried from them. I think that Sil may have visited the store so she could have some other recommendations.


Steven – the store is pretty small. What i would do is take a look on their website and see which ones interest you. When you go, they are more than willing to let you have a sit and try one of the teas. I picked up this one, their chai and one of their keemun’s since i was fairly new to tea and had zero clue of what i was doing. They’re very helpful and the tins are available to open, smell, examine etc before you buy.


Thanks, Sil!

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408 tasting notes

This is a sample kindly shared by Sil, thank you Sil !
I really appreciated this tea.
Even if I’m not a big plain tea drinker, I manage to recognize an high quality tea and it is really one.
It’s not an heavy malty black tea but a medium bodied one with wonderful notes of wood (that’s what I felt !)
There is absolutely no bitterness with this tea.
I love it.

205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec

I’m so happy you enjoyed it :)

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361 tasting notes

I placed an order with Red Blossom and am so far enjoying their teas! I really like their tins too. Super cute. This tea actually surprised me a bit. I was expecting it to be fruity and not too deep or full, but it was all of the above! It’s a pretty decent morning cup. Happy to have more of this!


i really loved this one as a cold brew

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114 tasting notes

1/26/14 Tasted at a tea event. A very interesting tea, both in terms of tasting and in history. It is made from a tea plant which is a hybrid of the native Taiwanese C. sinenses v. sinensis and the Indian C. sinensis v. assamica , which was imported to the island early last century to help establish a black tea industry. It was a very nice tea to drink, full of the malty peppery chocolaty notes that Assam teas have, all wrapped up with a vegetal bell peppery kind of greenness that was quite interesting. Unlike the previous more traditional Chinese teas, this black tea didn’t come through the second serving as strongly, and our host told us that is is pretty normal. Apparently the highly oxidized black teas infuse much more readily and thus don’t support multiple infusions as well.

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4081 tasting notes

My first tea of the day comes from Blodeuyn’s epic black tea sample swap. Another Taiwanese tea to make my mouth happy! The leaves of this one are quite thick and shorter than others, but still jet black in color. I saw several long stems mixed in with the leaves. Dry scent is very grainy with sweet cocoa and stonefruit scents. I steeped about 1.5 teaspoons of leaf for 3 minutes at 200 degrees.

Hm, unusual aroma for a Taiwanese tea (at least in my experience). It’s quite bready with sweet honey and just a touch of dried fruit. Wow, this definitely tastes different than all of the other Taiwanese blacks I’ve tried! It’s very bready and smooth, and so creamy. It literally tastes (and feels) like there has been cream added to it. It’s definitely a crusty bread with honey butter spread over it. No jam, surprisingly. I usually find a lot of fruitiness in these teas but it’s absent here. There’s a moment in the middle of the sip where this fleetingly tastes like a plain generic black tea, but it’s quickly swept away by an interesting green bean flavor. I think I’m getting just a touch of apricot in the aftertaste, there you are! This is definitely an interesting tea, and since I have enough for another cup, I’ll definitely try it following their directions next time! :)

Flavors: Apricot, Bread, Butter, Cream, Green Beans, Honey, Malt

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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25 tasting notes

This tea intrigued me with its description so I am pleased to finally be able to taste it for myself and post notes.

Dry leaf aroma: Sweet and slightly malty with a mild trace of tobacco.

Preparation: I prepped the leaves with an initial 1 second rinse and then proceeded with my session western style (my gaiwan is on the way, so for now I am steeping western style).

First steeping: 2 minutes at 205 degrees. The aroma is basic, a moderate black tea scent with the ever-so-slight hint of something more intricate which I cannot describe accurately. The taste is much more complex and the initial mouth-feel is extremely creamy. I’ve not experienced a black tea quite this creamy before; very nice! Buried in the creaminess is a hint of honey and a very subtle aftertaste of baked bread and banana. At the end of this cup, after it had cooled quite a bit, I detected a citrusy aftertaste in addition to the bread and banana essences. Interestingly, the creamy mouth-feel lingered after each sip. Very unique.

Second steeping: 2 minutes at 205 degrees. I am detecting a subtle baked bread and banana scent along with the straightforward black tea fragrance. This steeping is not as creamy as the first but is still quite rich. The flavors are less complex but the brew still retains the initial profile of cream, honey, baked bread, and a trace of banana. While the cup is hot I am experiencing more of the citrus aftertaste.

I’d like to try another session using a gaiwan and multiple short steepings to experiment with influencing the flavor profile.

This is a tea that I will add to my permanent stock. Well worth the price and experience!

Flavors: Banana, Bread, Citrus, Creamy, Honey

205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

Sounds amazing!

Cameron B.

Yummy! :D I’ll have to get some samples from you at some point… After hiatus, lol.


This is indeed one amazing tea. I wanted to try it again today but my head is all stuffy. :(


Very nice review!


Thank you :)

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