Last Updated on 09/06/2023 by Desmond
Milk could be the best tea partner, especially when it comes to matcha and black tea. Ages ago, I pondered upon a question – why hasn’t anyone tried to introduce milk to the Qing Flavor type Oolong like Tieguanyin? For that, I decided to have a go.
Unfortunately, the outcome wasn’t quite as ideal as I expected. The milk flavor and the orchid scent of Tieguanyin couldn’t find common ground and match well; It was like they were fighting for the taste buds’ dominant right. At last, a carrion-like, lousy smell left in my mouth and an uncomfortable sticky feeling on the tongue.
I’m curious if it’s my fault for lacking the right steeping skills or if the milk should not match Qing flavor type Oolong well. Then I met Milky Oolong Tea.
What Is Milky Oolong Tea?
Milky Oolong is actually the nickname of Jin Xuan Tea, and a more official name is TRES #12(Taiwan Tea No.12.) It originated in Taiwan, China. It’s not a natural native plant but created by optimized cultivation. It was created by Wu Zhenduo, the tea father of Taiwan, in 1980. Jin Xuan is from his grandmother’s name to remember her.
The Jin Xuan tea produced from Ali Shan mountain is famous. In a general way, the higher place the tea trees grow, the better quality they get. That doesn’t mean all the Jin Xuan tea is high-mountain tea. Because the Jin Xuan tea tree has a great adaptive capacity to the environment and has a large yield. It is planted widely in Taiwan, the cultivated area is just second to Qing Xin Oolong, and parts are also in the tea gardens at a low altitude.
After appropriate processing, Jin Xuan tea became the Qing Flavor type Oolong, and most time, it is spheroidal (aka Bao Zhong tea.) Besides the easy cultivating and picking, the most significant feature of Jin Xuan tea is its natural milky flavor. It quickly appealed to the young people in Taiwan after being published in 1981. And merchants with acute insight also give it a more modern name according to its unique flavor – Milky Oolong.
Why Does Jin Xuan Tea Tastes Milky?
Many people may be confused about the special milky flavor of Jin Xuan tea. One saying is that the farmers irrigate the tea trees with milk, making the leaves absorb and get the milky flavor. That is absolutely nonsense. Whether the tea tress able to absorb the fractalkine of milk. We also know that once the milk is exposed to the air, it will soon go bad by the bacteria breeding and send out an unpleasant smell; Nobody wants the tea to get this taste. Anyway, this planting method costs too high.
This ridiculous saying may come from the Muscat grape case. Even some people think they are grown in rose tea irrigation, so that’s how they get the rose flavor. Of course, it’s fake too.
Just like the grape, the milky flavor of Jin Xuan tea is totally natural.
Jin Xuan tea belongs to partially-fermented Oolong. During the processing, many aroma components are created in leaves by fermentation. The milky scent primarily comes from the components like lactones, butanedione, nerolidol, linaloo oxide., etc. The higher the fermentation degree, instead of the milky flavor decrease, so Jin Xuan tea is typically processed into Qing flavor type Oolong like Tieguanyin, which has a low fermentation. Besides, moderate roasting can also make the milky flavor more significant; that requires the tea master’s rich experience and fine working.
If you taste the Jin Xuan tea carefully, you will find that its milky flavor has a gap from the real milk. This flavor is similar to the gardenia aroma, getting strong and over-cooked under the hot water influence, and creating a milk-like feeling. But it lacks the fragrance of fats and protein has been heating. The integral feeling is fresh and plant-style, and it won’t make you feel hungry like milk-black tea.
Does Milky Oolong Contain Artificial Flavors?
Another doubt about Jin Xuan tea’s milky flavor is it is accused of using artificial flavors. This is indeed the case and unfortunately it is very common, and it seriously influences the real milky Oolong’s reputation.
Things began at about the end of the 20th century. The first batch of Jin Xuan tea trees is getting old after nearly 20 years of planting and picking. Their leaves get thin, and the flavor components inside decrease. The feature of milky flavor is no longer obvious.
That was the top age of milky Oolong tea. Re-cultivate or optimizing them will slow down production and can not satisfy the market demand. Thus, some tea merchants thought about adding artificial flavors to the leaves to imitate the best Jin Xuan tea taste.
Even though using artificial flavors is a normal thing in producing flavored tea and blended tea. To the Asians, especially the Chinese, this is unforgivable. People still resist MSG much and think artificial flavors would lead to many terrible diseases. One thing most influenced is that some people were the first time to try milky Oolong, and they unfortunately had the artificially flavored tea. They might think Jin Xuan tea is so-so and get a bad impression. It much reduced the pop trend of Jin Xuan tea, and the real natural tea sales were also affected. So now Jin Xuan milky Oolong is less famous.
To distinguish whether the Jin Xuan tea your bought contains artificial flavors, the quickest way is to read the product specification. Of course, not every merchant will be so honest.
However, Jin Xuan tea, which uses artificial flavors, is also easily distinguished. They have a robust milky aroma, not as fresh and plant-style as the real one, but with a noticeable milk powder taste. Besides, one feature of Oolong tea is it can be brewed many rounds. The real Jin Xuan tea typically can make 7-9 brews. The milky flavor getting reduces after the third brew, but you can still felling it. And the artificially flavored tea’s milky flavor may weaken off a cliff at the second brew or totally disappear.
How To Brew Jin Xuan Milky Oolong Tea?
- Prepare a 150ml white ceramic Gaiwan, a fair cup, and teacups;
- Rinsing and pre-heat them with hot water;
- Put 6-8g Jin Xuan Milky Oolong tea in the Gaiwan, fill 100℃ hot water in;
- Cover, steep for about 15 seconds, then pour the tea into the fair cup;
- You can adequately extend 20-30 seconds for each brew after the third;
How To Store Jin Xuan Milky Oolong Tea?
Typically, Jin Xuan milky Oolong tea is sold in small individual packages. Each pack is just for one time of brewing, and can maximum keep the flavor.
Things you need to note is to keep them away from the place that is wet and under direct sunshine. The refrigerator is not necessary; just keep them at the normal temperature.
Besides, Jin Xuan milky Oolong tea doesn’t suitable for aging. That means the earlier you consume it, the perfect flavor you enjoy.