I had never heard of Fong Mong tea until I recently saw them begin posting on Steepster. I was offered the opportunity to choose four of their teas for free sample, this will be the first of four reviews. While researching this company, I found that they are a recent start up based in Taiwan, their teas may be purchased on their Facebook Page. The first sample I received was for their Sun Link Sea High Mountain Oolong. This is not a variety I have heard of, but looking into it, it seems like an Americanized term for Shan Lin Xi, which is one of my favorite varieties of Taiwanese oolong. I've had experience with this variety from Rishi and Tao of Tea, both of which are excellent. This is a tea from Nantou, Taiwan grown between 1600 and 1800 meters in alititude.
The dry leaf of this tea was curled extremely tightly. I could see the stems of the tea with the leaves wrapped inside. They had a nice floral aroma to them. To brew the tea I used a cupping set (Adagio's version of a gaiwan). Fong Mong recommends to brew 3 grams of tea for 5 minutes, but this seems way too long for such a delicate tea. I think that would draw everything out into one cup and destroy the complexity of the tea. Instead, I filled my cup with 6 grams of tea and brewed it with water at 190 degrees for 45 seconds and increased 15 seconds on each subsequent steep. The first steep was almost like a rinse, but still produced a rather tasty cup. The smell was very floral almost like gardenia or orchids. I could tell that after only one steep the leaves were only beginning to give their best liquor. I made 6 more cups of this tea and it was absolutely amazing. A very light tea great on a hot summer day. Each cup changed from being floral to creamy to sweet, I even got some citrus notes on later steepings. After seven steeps the leaves were unfurled almost all the way. I stopped there because the flavor was starting to fade, although with a longer steep I could have stretched it probably another 2 or 3.
I was definitely surprised by the quality of this tea considering I had never heard of the company before. This was on par with the other Shan Lin Xi's that I have had. Do not follow their instructions, brew this gong fu style. Stay tuned for more reviews from Fong Mong.