Review: Teavivre Jin Xuan Milk Oolong

Oolong Tea, Teavivre Add comments
Sophie’s Teaview Snapshot
Its OK"This is a pleasant example of milk oolong. I feel it could be better, particularly in terms of the balance of the flavour profile, but the milky quality is there. "
Sophie’s Teaview: 6.9/10
Other Teaviews: Dan gave it 7.0/10
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I loves me some milk oolong! This particular sample was grown and produced on the famous slopes of Mount Alishan, in Taiwan. It's unflavoured - the milky taste results from naturally occurring properties found in the leaves of the Jin Xuan cultivar. The rocky-looking leaf clusters display a variety of bright greens. Their smell is hard to describe: it's milky but mostly aggressively grassy and astringent.

Teavivre's brewing instructions call for a whopping 3 to 4 teaspoonful of leaf in 8 ounces of boiling water. There is no way my puny ball infuser will handle so much, especially taking into account how much leaf clusters like these will expand. Instead I opted for my Korean teacup, with it's built-in ceramic infuser. It only holds 6 ounces so I scaled back to 2 and a half teaspoonfuls. After a 3 minute-long steep the tea is a pale greenish yellow with a creamy yet floral scent. The top notes are milky sweet but what follows is a mellow mix of vegetal, brothy and floral tones. The feel of the tea is adequately creamy and rich. The mineral finish is clean and refreshing. It doesn't knock my socks off, but it's got enough intricacy to keep things interesting.

I brewed the leaves again for 4 minutes. The cup is much more astringent this time, a bitter mineral flavour rounding out each sip. Some more assertive peach and honey notes have emerged as well but they are unfortunately entirely overshadowed by the bitterness of the finish. I'd be inclined to give it a shorter second steep next time.

I try two more brews for 4 and a half and 5 minutes, just because. The tea is much more palatable now. The bitterness of the second cup has pretty much disappeared. What remains both times is a lightly sweet and buttery brew. It's good but doesn't stand out, and thus is entirely forgettable.

This is a pleasant example of milk oolong. I feel it could be better, particularly in terms of the balance of the flavour profile, especially where the second brew is concerned. A lot of leaf is needed, but the milky quality is there. I wouldn't go out of my way to purchase this tea. However, since it's reasonably priced, I might be inclined to add it to round out an order.

— To purchase Teavivre Jin Xuan 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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