Review: David’s Tea Quangzhou Milk Oolong

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Troy’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"As this is the first Milk Oolong I have ever had, I can't really speak to generalities, and so I really can't grade this on a proper Milk Oolong scale. All I can say is I personally liked it, bordering strongly on loving it."
Troy’s Teaview: 9/10
Your Reviews: 8/10
2 reader reviews | Add your review »
davidsmilkoolong.jpgMilk Oolong, according to the common story, is the product of leaves harvested during special seasonal temperature drops. These temperature drops, one would assume, infuse the leaves with a thicker milkier sap that curdles slightly during normal Oolong processing. I have, however, heard that the flavor is actually achieved by the addition of milk during the steaming of the leaves. I put a bug in Davids ear, a voracious all consuming bug, when I asked him if he could find out whether this was the case, or not. What he found was at first a chorus saying that their products were Au-natural, followed by admissions that most of the producers do add milk to "enhance" the flavor. Clear as mud eh?

David, being the obsessive sort, is now going to try and visit a factory on his next trip to China. Since he's bothered to do all this research at my request, the least I could do is actually sit down and write a review. While Milk Oolong is made in traditional Oolong producing regions of China and Taiwan, this particular product comes from Quangzhou china, a major city in the Wuyi mountains, which is to Oolong tea what Bordeaux is to French Wine. Which is a stupid thing to say, as I now feel the need for a good bottle of Sauternes.

As this is the first Milk Oolong I have ever had, I can't really speak to generalities, and so I really can't grade this on a proper Milk Oolong scale. All I can say is I personally liked it, bordering strongly on loving it, if that sort of thing were legal in my jurisdiction. Its a balled oolong, lightly roasted, I believe, and fairly green. It has the smooth, rich, slightly oily taste of a chinese Oolong, married to a dense, milky, aged hard cheese burst on the tongue. If you happen to like fine cheeses then this is an experience not to be missed, if you don't, then you could probably stand to miss it, but should still give it at least one try.

— To purchase David’s Tea Quangzhou Milk Oolong, or for more specific information on ingredients or the story behind this particular tea, click here to go directly to the manufacturer's web site.

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6 Responses to “Review: David’s Tea Quangzhou Milk Oolong”

  1. Troy Says:

    Update! David had one of his associates get back to me, said associate sent me an excerpt from the Specialty Tea Institutes Manual on Oolongs. Between that, and some info I got pestering the folks over at the Teachat forum I think I’ve sussed out the general state of the Oolong.

    Milk Oolong is sort of a generic name for milky flavoured Oolong teas. Some Tie Guan Yins and Keenums have a slight milky taste to begin with, The “Seasonal Temperature drop” is rare in the regions where Oolongs are traditionally grown, but happen occasionally and inspired the Legend from Mainland China that graces the labels of Davids Teas Quangzhou Milk Oolong.

    In Taiwan they developed a particularly consistently milky cultivar called Jin Xuan. This was developed in the 80′s at the The Taiwan Tea Experiment Station. This particular varietal had a Buttery flavour, that was lightly milky, and it became exceedingly popular. It was sold as “Milk Fragrant” in Taiwan and China, and Milk Oolong in the US.

    Milk Oolongs became so popular that a bevy of other teas, some naturally milky, many not, became sold as Milk Oolongs. Most Tea Factories won’t admit to using additives, but generally say that their tea is the product of an “All Natural” process. But it must be kept in mind that this is based on the Chinese Food and Drug administrations definition of “All Natural” and does not imply that there is no human Tampering.

    So I guess the moral of the story is that if your Lactose Intolerant, don’t buy the cheapd stuff… cause otherwise your getting milk.

  2. Laura R. Says:

    FYI…I received similar info from Andrew at Seven Cups. They do not sell a milk oolong by that name because they feel it is misleading.

  3. Geoff Says:

    I put a really large caterpillar in the ear with the folks at Stash because they too sold a “supposed” milk oolong called Milk-Scented Kinsen Oolong. The shopkeepers at their homebase couldn’t answer whether it was the same as milk oolong or not. They only claim they made was that it was all natural and didn’t contain any milk or milk flavoring. They were kind enough, though, to leave me a sample.

    (Although, for the record, the Kinsen stuff only tasted creamy on the second infusion. An okay oolong at best.)

    I even zapped ‘em an e-mail and got the same nebulous “I dunno” from their media folk.

    Guess I’ll have to put in an order for this stuff. Thanks for the work you did on this. Since you mentioned it, I kinda obsessed over finding out myself.

  4. Laura R. Says:

    Seven Cups does sell a Jin Xuan under the Taiwanese milk oolong heading. I am considering ordering some.

  5. Lukas Michal Says:

    Hallo Troy. I want to thank you for the article and the research you did on the origin of Milk oolong. I work for a tea company in Czech Republic and recently i had to do the similar research as you. We received one tea from our of supplier called as “milk oolong”. However in my country is the milk oolong mainly sold as a scented tea under the name “Nai Xiang Ginshan” (http://www.teaspring.com/Nai-Xiang-Oolong.asp).

    Well according to my research Nai Xiang means “milk fragrance” and ginshan is another transcription of Jin Xuan (not sure about this one) So the full name of the tea could be “Nai Xian Jin Xuan”. BUT!!! Everywhere else is the Jin Xuan offered and preseneted as a NOT scented tea with natural milky taste. (http://www.teacuppa.com/Milk-Oolong-Tea.asp)

    At this page they claim that their Jin Xuan is natural not scented. And the prove of it is the milky fragrance growing stronger with each brew. “This slow developing buttery fragrance ensures this is a true Jin Xuan rather than one with added chemicals commonly seen in the tea industry.” (http://www.sevencups.com/tea_shop/product.php?productid=16568)

    Well our supplier confirmed that our tea is scented to strengthen up its original milky taste, and also confirmed that is called by some Nai Xian.

    Well it led me to my personal opinion. Could it be that since the varietal no. 12 (and no. 27 by what i know it is also Jin Xuan) was presented in 1981, the tea and its characteristic taste got so popular that when the fragrance started to fade out (after years of growing the varietal) or the shift in temperature has not occured :) someone came with the idea to add the fragrance to make sure it is present.

    And then presented this as scented tea called Nai Xiang. Hope it would be that easy :)

    To make it more confusing at this page, them say “Jin Xuan is sometimes known as (confused with) Milk Oolong, or Nai Xiang.” (http://www.ateacupdropped.com/tea/teaJinXuan.html)
    Which means what? That Jin Xuan is sometimes sold under diferrent name or that it is confused with other kind of scented tea?

    Well i wished the explanation would be that the varietal 12 Jin Xuan is naturally milky oolong without scent and Nai Xiang is the same (varietal) but scented tea with stronger milky fragrance. As the name in the beginning suggest.
    Jin Xuan – Golden Lily
    Nai Xian Ginshan(Jin Xuan) – milk fragrance Golden lily
    But i am afraid it is not that simple. :(

    And tha last entry to my researches was from this video – http://www.expertvillage.com/video/144849_jin-xuan-oolong-tea.htm
    where Josh Chamberlain shows the little dotts on the dry leafs of Jin Xuan which he says are the right indicators for the tea is original. (I doubt that very much…) not that it is not the indicator, but i am eager to believe there is real Jin Xuan without the dotts than the statement there is no Jin Xuan without the white dotts.

    Well I just wanted to add some fragments I’ve found out, and i am sorry it did not shine some more light in the matter. I will appreciate any comment an my results.

    Have a good time

    My Rating: 7/10

  6. Laura Says:

    Wow, Lukas, thanks for the info. Quite thorough and enlightening. I have sampled both at this point—Golden Lily from Summit Teas and ‘Milk’ oolong. I have to say I LOVE both.

    My Rating: 9/10

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