Osmanthus Oolong tea, Teacup trails stories

Gui Hua Cha - 桂花烏龍茶

Gui Hua Cha – 桂花烏龍茶

I’m without a doubt a coffee junkie as well as a tea addict, with preferences for original tea leaves than ordinary teabags. Freshly brewed teas, steep straight into an original porcelain teacup or earthenware mug with a strainer or a glass mug.  The featured photo shows the large orange canister “GuiHua Wulong Cha” 桂花烏龍茶 or Osmanthus Oolong Tea produced by Ten Ren Tea, Taiwan. Read my very first introduction to the Osmanthus flower tree story here.

Just the combination of thinking about my favourite teas, tea shops with special tea’s I so much enjoyed, it brings forth even more stories and anecdotes. Discovering ‘My Teacup” trails, we’ll share a pot with tea leaves information and savour each sip. A world of tea I had no idea before there is so much more to tea than you might have thought. In distinction to Wine and Whisky sommeliers, Coffee connoisseurs; baristas, Tea sommeliers experts are on the rise. Sharing knowledge on Tea gastronomy promoting and marketing worlds finest eclectic Teas, it’s hip and trendy as ever.

Osmanthus Tea is composed of the high-quality Taiwanese Oolong tea scented with fresh Osmanthus flowers. Osmanthus is an evergreen shrub with attractive foliage and clusters of small, very fragrant flowers. These flowers are also used in some of the world’s most famous and expensive fragrances. This type of tea is categorised as scented tea’s, made by mixing various flowers and petals with green or oolong teas and among these is worldwide known Jasmine tea.

Osmanthus Oolong tea, Ten Ren Tea

Osmanthus Oolong tea, Gui Hua Cha, 桂花烏龍茶

Description names:  GuiHua Wulong Tea or  Osmanthus Oolong Tea

Origin:  Taiwan, (is a large producer of Oolong Tea with high-quality grades and distinctions)

Tea type & features: Oolong mixed scented tea, rolled tea leaves when steeped some tiny little white/yellowish petals may appear.

Brewing: 2-3 grammes of tea leaves for every 150ml of water

Preparation: Place the tea leaves in the scalded pot or cup. The amount is a matter of taste; say, 3 grammes per cup. Add some cold water before adding a small amount of boiling water. This is to keep the temperature below 80 Celsius; green teas should never be subjected to boiling temperature. Leave to steep for 5 minutes. The first decoction may be either discarded or drunk according to preference. This preparation is according to Chinese medicine practice another oolong tea preparation with more elaborate information click here.

Taste: One single sip produces a fullness of rich and mellowness, with a lingering sweetness and a clean aftertaste together with the osmanthus scent lingering on.

Osmanthus Oolong tea, rolled leaves

Rolled leaves

Oolong tea is a semi-fermented tea which is known for its rich taste and pleasant lasting aftertaste. Oolongs are further classified as Dark or Green with Dark Oolongs baked longer than Green Oolongs. Green Oolongs (which are not related to Green teas in any way) tend to have a stronger fragrance while Dark Oolongs tend to have a stronger aftertaste. Special Baked Oolong is the only Oolong that is an intermediate Dark-Green Oolong. Ten Ren Tea”

On another note:

The brewing method used for Wulong tea throughout China and Taiwan is the Art of Gongfucha 工夫茶, where plenty of leaves are skillfully brewed to perfection in a very small teapot and the fragrant concoction is sipped from fine porcelain tiny teacups. Gongfucha is often referred to as ChaoSan Gongfucha as the original place where making “tea with effort” was an integral part of daily life. Gongfucha is also written as 功夫茶 referring to the skill, for linguistics semantics do matter but for tea aficionados and critics, the taste, fragrance and serenity enjoying a hot brew weighs more than words.

Gui Hua tree

Gui Hua tree

It is believed that in Fujian province, Chaoshan area the local Chaozhou (Teochew) people started this tradition of tea culture. Early settlers who moved to Taiwan have brought the custom along with them, where the tea ceremony has evolved in a masterful art performance as also influenced by Japanese culture (Japan first invasion was in 1874 and ruled as a colony from 1895 till 1945).  Click on the following link to read more about: “A bit of Tea History of Taiwan”.

Dried Gui Hua flowers

dried Gui Hua flowers

In the past I had to bring dried Gui Hua flowers with me on my travels, nowadays these very fragrant dried flowers are available at the larger Chinese supermarkets. Enjoy your GuiHua Wulong or Osmanthus Oolong tea and please share your palate experience and favourite brand with us.


Osmanthus 桂花 Gui Hua flower

One of my favourite tea’s “Gui Hua Wu Long Cha” 桂花乌龙茶 or Osmanthus Oolong tea, has a subtle beautiful floral fragrance with a soothing taste. The very first time I smelled the Osmanthus perfume was during my first trip late 70’s visiting relatives in Hangzhou, China, just around the West Lake there was a scent in the air teasing my olfactory senses and I just didn’t know what it was or where to find the source. Since it was just a whiff I tried to describe to my family members the fragrance eager and curious to learn the answer, but I forgot that the scent although particular and unusual for me was actually something they unconsciously dismissed being familiar and not registering as I did at that moment. During our stay on one of many excursions and outings with extended family, they brought us to a famous park. While strolling around my nose caught the fragrance again and I couldn’t help myself by just following the wind direction trying to get close to the source. Luckily it didn’t take long because suddenly we were caught in a blast where the air was heavenly scented with flowery perfume and I could exactly pinpoint what I was trailing and smelling, they burst out laughing and said it was Osmanthus flowers from a small tree.

Gui Hua, mu xi hua

Photo courtesy Source: TCM Traditional Chinese Medicine Wiki https://tcmwiki.com/wiki/gui-hua.

Absolutely thrilled having discovered a little treasure, I asked in my ignorance whether it was all right to get a small flowering branch to bring along with me as a remembrance. The family also out-of-town villagers in their innocence conceded seeing my enthusiasm. While the group strolled on I walked to the tree and tried to snap a twig with my bare hands, but the task wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. The little tree had sturdy branches and protected it from being mauled and vandalised by an intruder. Without tools to break off a twig I started like a monkey zealously to get hold by twisting in a circular motion on a branch with blossoming flowers. The delicate flowers were whirling around me and that got the attention of one of the park guards afar, who initially was wondering what was going on. Didn’t take long for him to come running and shouting all kinds of orders if only I had understood him.

As an overseas born Chinese teenager visiting ancestral home for the very first time, I only spoke my parent’s dialect at the time and had no comprehension of Hangzhounese nor Mandarin at all. While I was going happy-go-lucky, the park guard was red hot of fury upon seeing the act of destruction. To make matters worse, seeing that he was carrying one of those Chinese-type of round curved scissor I was just about to hand sign borrowing to prune the tree. At the same time, he was yelling and waving his hands rapidly too, lost in communication I held up my hand stating I had no idea what he wanted to convey to me. Trying to answer in my dialect he was flying off a whole string of words of which I only understood clearly one and new I was in trouble.

Chinese spoken language carries some universal words across dialects within their regions clearly identifiable, in this case, it’s the word egg “dan” 蛋, a nutritious and versatile protein source, it carries also a negative connotation in egg-related words “bendan”  笨蛋 stands for fool; idiot, “hundan” 混蛋 bastard, “shadan” 傻蛋 blockhead, simpleton, a humorous one is “lingdan” 零蛋 a duck’s egg meaning ‘zero’. He must have said at least one or maybe all of them and more, I sure had “egg on my face”.


Dried Osmanthus flowers, This golden yellowish flower has a pleasant floral aroma. Its unforgettable aromatic fragrance used in tea, food and worlds famous perfumes.

Drinking Gui Hua Wu Long Cha 桂花呜龙茶 is still redolent of my first smell of Gui Hua while visiting Hang Zhou, the capital city of Zhejiang Province, as tea leaves with flower petals combination I sampled the brew during our stay in Taiwan. Due to our stays and travel in south-east Asia and being ardent tea-drinkers, we have collected various tea leaves or have received tea box as gifts. Although standard tea bags are convenient, nothing compares to good quality tea leaves, you do not need to have a tea ceremony to enjoy a relaxing or soothing brew. More posts will follow with fragrant leaves from our home tea box, to share and enjoy its special characteristics. You might choose to put the kettle on now and read the Osmanthus Oolong tea blogpost.

guihua tangyuan

Guihua tangyuan 桂花汤圆
Photo courtesy source: http://eat.gansudaily.com.cn/

The beautiful Gui Hua image on top of this blog post is from an article featuring the health effects of Osmanthus in 养花百科(BaiKe Garden encyclopaedia). For Chinese readers click on the Chinese link as well this 白度 Baidu link for interesting Osmanthus facts and information.