UPDATE: The Mount Ali Milk Oolong Tea from Hē Chá Tea is now available for purchase at The Tea Journeyman Shop! Click Here to view and purchase this pure, unflavored Jin Xuan oolong tea!
On September 27th of 2013, my journey through the world of tea tasting took me to the Ali Mountains of Chiayi County, Taiwan. I am proud to say that this tea is the first of my new brand of loose leaf teas to be officially reviewed. I personally imported this tea from Taiwan, and it is among the six types of teas that will be offered under my brand name, Hē Chá Tea. Distribution of this tea and the other five types of tea in and around the Pittsburgh area will begin by the end of next week.
Why did I choose this tea, out of the tens of thousands of teas and blends in the world, to include in my initial six products? The answer is simple. This tea, in it’s natural unscented and unflavored state, has an amazing blend of aroma, taste, and texture. It is a perfect way to introduce green and black tea drinkers to the world of oolong teas, since it is floral, slightly sweet, and has a creamy texture. There are many imitation milk oolongs on the market. They are scented and/or flavored to taste and smell like buttered popcorn. This is not an imitation. This is a true, natural milk oolong from the Jinxuan varietal. It does not taste like buttered popcorn. I feel that this product will also appeal to the more experienced tea drinkers, as it has the complexity that we look for in our teas.
I will post more official product descriptions as time goes on, but for now, let the journey begin…
The dry leaves are a green to dark green color, with brown stems attached. The leaves are semi-ball shape, ranging in size from a small corn kernel to a pea. There is almost zero breakage or crumbs. The aroma can be described as milky (creamy), with brown sugar, molasses, and light floral scents. Oxidation level appears to be on the lower side of the spectrum.
For this sampling, I used filtered tap water heated to 195ºF (90ºC). Using a 8.5 ounce (240 ml) kyusu teapot and 5 grams of dry tea, the leaves were infused for 1:30 minutes.
The first infusion produced a liquor that had a bright goldish-yellow color, clear and transparent. The aroma is floral (orchid), milky, and a light touch of brown sugar. The liquor is medium bodied, with a creamy texture. The floral taste of orchid is most noticeable, with light notes of milk (cream) and brown sugar. The finish is smooth, with a lasting floral aftertaste. The overall taste is very clean and has an uplifting effect.
The second infusion produced a slightly darker liquor, but maintained the bright goldish-yellow color. Aroma is floral and lightly sweet. The taste has changed some, having a better balance of orchid, brown sugar, and light cooked vegetable notes. The body remains medium, with a smooth, creamy texture. Finish and aftertaste remain floral.
The third infusion produced an identical colored liquor as the second infusion, retaining a very bright goldish-yellow. The aroma remains floral and slightly milky. The liquor is medium bodied, with a creamy texture. The taste is mostly floral of orchid, with slight notes of brown sugar, and cream. The cooked vegetable taste is gone. The finish is smooth with a floral aftertaste. The third infusion produced a high quality liquor with plenty of taste and aroma. I would expect a fourth and fifth infusion to be acceptable.
The infused leaves are a uniform dark green with few reddish-brown edges. Level of oxidation is low. Large stems all holding between two and four fully intact leaves attached. Very few broken leaves, almost all are fully intact. Leaves have some structural durability, suggesting that additional infusions are possible. Aroma of the leaves is floral and lightly sweet.
The reasons are many for why I love this tea. Bias and shameless plugging aside, this tea is phenomenal. Before trying this unflavored milk oolong, I had tried several milk oolongs that were obviously flavored. Yes, they did taste good, but it did not taste natural. This one does taste natural, and provides the smooth and creamy texture that gave this style of oolong its name. I am very excited to have this Mount Ali Milk Oolong on my list of products, and it certainly is deserving of a top six pick. Once it is available on the website, I will post an update. I hope you will try my Mount Ali Milk Oolong, and see for yourself what a true jinxuan milk oolong should taste like.
Thank you for taking your time to read this review. Please leave a comment and start a discussion.