I cant get enough of ‘green’ Oolongs. Ever since my first sip at a tea house in Shanghai (no, not Taiwan sorry) they have been my favourite tea, and the Jin Xuan (milk oolong) is my pick of the bunch.
Milk Oolongs are a funny thing. Perhaps by dint of their alluring name, Chinese and Taiwanese producers have taken to spraying them with artificial ‘milky’ flavour to mimic and enhance the milky caramel characteristics which they were first renowned for, however the result is now an influx of over flavoured (albeit sometimes delicious) teas that go under the name of Milk Oolong, yet are quite unlike the natural originals. Ironically, I think it was probably the artificial milk oolongs in China that got me hooked on this variety, so imagine my horror in finding out they were spraying-on the delicious ‘dulce de leche’ flavour I found so alluring! Since then, and given my aversion to (most) flavoured teas, I have been on a hunt for the real thing. A natural Milk Oolong is hard to find, but this offering from one of my favourite distributors – Tea & Sympathy – is just such a tea.
So, onto my tasting notes:
Aroma: Surprisingly fresh and vegetal, with notes of zuchinni and subtle dried flowers. This tea is buttery like a milk oolong but much less so than many I’ve tried (somewhat disappointingly, as it is this characteristic that when well balanced is arguably what draws one to a Milk Oolong).
Palate: Asparagus, zucchini, sweet corn and vegetal notes rising up above a typical buttery milk oolong base. Definitely a distinctive and complex taste. Like many oolongs, this tea holds up well on the second and third steepings.
Overall: This tea has real character, but for some reason I’m just not sold on it. Don’t get me wrong, the tea is delicious, but for the price I guess I was expecting something truly amazing. This all natural Jin Xuan is still about the best I have found from an Australian supplier, but I can’t say it is the best I have ever tasted, and as this price there are other green oolongs I enjoy almost as much. I’ll savour every cup of the packet, but doubt I’ll be back for more. The hunt continues…