Something New Again – Milk Oolong

So the next tea I want to talk about is one I’ve had a for a while and I have been eyeing up for the past few months. Another thing that’s quite new to me and I’ve been really intrigued to try it. Milk Oolong. It makes me want to go ‘ooooo oolong’. It just sounds slightly fancy, doesn’t it?  When Josh and I were in Dorchester over the summer we obviously had to stop by Gilded Teapot. I didn’t know what exactly I wanted but settled for two:  ‘Sencha Superior‘ which I have already done a post on and ‘Milk Oolong’.
Milk Oolong
Now I know I’ve talked about Oolong before, but this is a whole different type of tea. Where the Formosa Oolong was nutty and slightly more akin to a black tea, this is nothing like any other tea I’ve tried before. Getting distinct information about this blend has been tricky, but from what I can find is that this blend possibly originated from Taiwan. However as a lot of the Fujian tea growers moved to Taiwan as well as bringing their plants, there are the natural links between growers in both regions.  I can’t find guides on the exact processing of this blend, so I’m saying that this is a green oolong which means it has gone 30 to 50% oxidisation. This gives the flavour of the oolongs more floral, green tea elements, compared to the the nuttier 70% plus oxidised oolongs.
I have found a source that says the flavour comes from steaming the leaves over boiling milk, however I’m inclined to think that is talking about a different type of tea but I will do more research and come back with a clearer definition! The blend is described as an ‘incredible partially fermented tea grown in high altitude in the Fujian Province of China. The creamy, sweet character is caused by a temperature drop during the tea harvest’. I think that this may be more likely the case, due to the cultivar, altitude, and season of picking could create the flavours you get from this blend.
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Black Dragons Asleep
I’ve found a small story within a tea book I have that states that the literal Mandarin translation for Wulong (which we have transformed into oolong) means ‘black dragon’. It comes from when children would find small black snakes wrapped around branches of the tea trees so parents would tell the children that the snakes were in fact small dragons. I can completely see that, the leaves are twisted into small balls and I can just imagine  a small dragon ready to wake and emerge from the leaves.  The smell is milky, like butter, sweet but at the same time slightly floral. I wouldn’t say that you get a fresh green tea smell but its not musky, its a wonderful comforting smell like warm biscuits. I don’t know if Im imaging it but there is a slight hint of almost jasmine.
I infuse 80 degree water for 2 minutes as instructed on the packet. The wet leaves have unfurled into mostly whole sized moss colour dragons. The smell of jasmine green leaves emerge with the hint of the creaminess from the the dried leaves. The smell is nice fresh but mild, not too overpowering.
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Unfurled Moss Coloured Leaves
I think I under measured my quantity as the colour has been different from the last time I brewed on previous days. The colour is a pale yellow, like hay just turning from green to golden or a winter dawn as the sun just stretches it rays through the clouds, its not strong but you know it will be a glorious clear day. The smell too is mild with notes of a creamy floral scent, its inviting, encouraging you to try again to see if you can smell anything new. The flavour is completely different though. As you take a first sip, you are hit with a sweet creamy flavour that layers over your tongue. Its not sickly sweet or too over powering that you could think its artificial. Its complex, building on the flavours with each taste you take. There is a definite creamy, butteriness but also the hints of floral, jasmine & even honeysuckle in the taste.
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Its definitely an interesting flavour, one I’ve not tried before & would love to try other varieties of the blend to see what other notes I can taste. I will do some more digging to find out about the history of this blend and exactly how it is made. I think its fun and as I can’t have too much dairy anyway, I feel like I’m not missing out by drinking a cup (or potful) of this blend.
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