Review: Whittard Milky Oolong

Oolong Tea, Whittard Add comments
Sophie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"While this tea is delicious, with generous floral and stone fruit notes, it doesn't taste at all milky to me. Try it, just don't think of it as a milk oolong. "
Sophie’s Teaview: 7.8/10
Other Teaviews: Katie gave it 7.2/10
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whittardmilkyoolongThis British company has been in business since 1886. Their catalogue features a wide range of coffees, teas, and ceramic wares. This particular offering comes from the Chinese province of Fujian. It promises an elegant, creamy taste featuring hints of roses, vanilla and caramel. The leaves are a bit peculiar looking. Instead of being rolled completely into roundish nuggets, they look like they have been pressed into little mounds of varying shapes and sizes. Their aroma is intensely sweet, reminding me of grape-flavoured candies.

In the absence of specific brewing instructions on Whittard's website, I steeped a generous teaspoonful of leaves in 8 ounces of water heated to 95 degrees Celsius for 3 minutes. The resulting cup is a pale gold hue. It's aroma is a heady mix of burnt sugar and magnolia. Mineral and mildly grassy when very hot, it develops very sweet floral notes as it cools. The finish and lingering aftertaste are particularly delicious with their honeyed lilac and magnolia notes. It's a lovely cup but not particularly milky or even creamy to my taste.

I brewed a second cup for 4 minutes, hoping that the milky promise of this tea's moniker would come through this time. This brew features more cereal flavours present in the top and middle of each sip. The finish is now much fruitier, with intense peach and apricot notes. Again, it's quite yummy, but no milk oolong. The large, leathery-looking leaves are completely opened in my infuser.

A third cup finally yields somewhat creamy caramel flavours. After a 5 minute-long brew, the tea is now more immediately sweet. The feel is thick and oily at this point, making the tea seem more decadent and filling.

I manage to get a decent fourth cup following a 6 and a half minute-long steep. The tea is smooth, mildly peachy and mineral. The cup is pleasant enough but it's obvious that the leaves are passed their prime.

I am torn in how to rate this tea – on the one hand it is extremely pleasant tasting, with generous floral and stone fruit notes. On the other, while this tea has a completely smooth feel, it doesn't taste at all milky to me. I wouldn't reach for this if I was in the mood for a milk oolong, but this cup hits the spot when looking for an easy to drink sweet tea. The fact that it's very affordable makes it more likely that it will find its way into my cart. I do recommend trying it, just don't think of it as a milk oolong.

— To purchase Whittard Milky 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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