This 2015 batch of Jin Xuan (Golden Daylilly in English, but better known as ‘Milk Oolong’) had flavors complex and rich enough to entertain this jaded palate. Lightly oxidized, lightly roasted teas don’t normally register with my taste buds. Milk Oolongs are an exception. This Milk Oolong is probably the best I’ve ever tried.
If I weren’t so lazy, I’d try to explain how Milk Oolong gets its amazing taste. Perhaps such minutia would bore you, anyway. What I will say is there’s no milk involved. Just a cultivated tea plant, bred in Taiwan using two other varietals, (TTES #8, an assamica from Jaipur, India, and Ying Zhi Hong Xin, which means “hard stem with a red ‘heart’ or inner section.”) The Jin Xuan cultivar is unique to Taiwan-the Wuhe district, specifically.
No doubt, soil, weather conditions, and a lot of hard work went into transforming the Jin Xuan bush into the golden, light green, lumpy-twists of leaf that tumbled out of the package.
After only 40 seconds of steeping in not-quite boiling water, the leaves brewed up a rich yellow liquor. The aroma of the unfurling leaves was part almond, part cream, part bouquet of honeysuckle, orchid, jasmine and rose, with just a touch of parsley.
That first infusion tasted predominantly floral at first. Then it blossomed into a buttery, creamy, fullness that amazed me after such a short steeping. The second infusion was 35 seconds long and produced an even creamier, less floral cup,with a bit more parsley-like astringency. The third batch was a less complex, but equally satisfying creamy, green-tea like brew.
Sanne Tea says one can get up to seven batches of tea from the same leaves. But it would take a more sensitive palate than mine to enjoy anything past the third infusion. The fourth pot was flavorless to me.
I recommend that everyone try this tea. Although pricey, (about 14 dollars per ounce,) you could host quite an elegant little tea party with just a few teaspoons of these leaves.
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