Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Guangzhou Milk Oolong

Tea: Guangzhou Milk Oolong
Vendor: David's Tea
Price: $9.00 / 25g
Vendor Description: This limited-edition oolong from the Wuyi Mountains of China is velvety smooth and lightly creamy, with a subtle hint of orchid. It’s said that it came about when the moon fell in love with a comet. The comet passed her by, as comets will do. The moon cried milky tears, which chilled the tea fields, withering the leaves and giving them a delicate creaminess. It’s been a rare luxury ever since.

Leaf: The leaf smells very much like a sweet milk candy. It has a very prominent sweet and milky aroma. It is rolled into tight little balls. There is a light green to almost black spectrum of colors. There are a few rather varied shapes and sizes to the balls.

1st Infusion Parameters: 5g, 5 oz, 208F, 45s

1st Infusion: The first infusion has a clear yellow hue to it. There is a very strong milky aroma. The flavor matches the aroma and is very milky. The amount of milky flavor makes the overall flavor sweet and smooth. The flavor component of the tea is smooth and light with a light sense of bitterness. The milk and oolong flavors seem to be almost clashing with one another.

2nd Infusion Parameters: 208F, 1:15

2nd Infusion: The second infusion has a darker yellow hue. The aroma is less milky, and a more oolong like aroma. The tea is much more noticeably a green oolong. The flavor feels rougher than the first with some of the more distinctive notes of a green oolong. The flavor is shifted very heavily to the back end of the profile. It ends with a light sense of astringency and a little bit of milkiness on the aftertaste.

3rd Infusion Parameters: 208F, 2:30

3rd Infusion: This infusion had yet an even darker yellow hue. There was still a little bit of milkiness to the aroma, but for the most part it was gone. The flavor had a little bit of tang and bitterness to it, the notes of being a green oolong were shining through much brighter now. They were not overwhelming though. The flavor was less astringent and it felt a little empty. The majority of the flavor was there, but it showed signs of lightening up.

4th Infusion Parameters: 208F, 3:30

4th Infusion: At this point the hue started lightening up to a lighter shade of yellow. The aroma was light and barely noticeable. There was a little bit of milk aroma left. The flavor felt milkier than the 3rd infusion probably because of a less pronounced oolong flavor.

Rating: 6/10

Conclusion: This tea is very unusual. From what I have read to generate this flavor the oolong is effectively dipped in milk during the process to add the milkiness flavor. This makes it effectively a flavored oolong, just as jasmine scenting would be as well. I felt like the flavors were not blending well together, more like fighting for the front seat pushing the other aside momentarily. It is also fairly highly priced, and for that level of pricing I would opt to look for a Dan Cong instead.

EDIT:  Apparently what I have previously heard about milk oolong is incorrect.  The flavor is apparently generated through artificial flavoring and not the use of milk.  This explains why it tastes more like milk candy than it does actual milk.  


Seven Cups said...

The reason that it loses it's 'milky' flavor, is because it is flavored by using some unknown artificial flavor, the safety of which is also unknown. There is no oolong making process where by the tea is dipped in milk. That is utter nonsense. China does not even have a dairy industry, milk products are imported into China.

This tea could not have been exported legally from China, because it would have had to be inspected, and the chemicals added labeled for the FDA, maybe it came back in a suitcase or was imported through Hong Kong after being smuggled by the mainland.
As a tea taster, you can distinguish between a natural tea and one that has been flavored, by the radical change of taste over infusions. Natural tea will expose more of itself as you infuse it, not lose it's characteristics. The same is true of jasmine. If it is scented chemically, it will lose it's fragrance quickly.
This is the kind of tea that unjustly gives Chinese tea a bad name.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Seven Cups - as a torontonian, I must say I'm very displeased with the type of teas being offered as "authentic" at David's Tea. To a seasoned tea drinker, it is obviously an establishment that pushes artificially flavoured teas. Which is fine...as long as you make it known.

On a recent visit I queried about this very issue with the staff at David's Tea and received a whole lot of B.S. explanations about these teas having no artificial flavours. Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease.

How a store and it's staff can so blatantly lie to a knowledgeable person's face is just beyond me.

They also profess that their teas are custom blended for them, which is utter nonsense. If you shop around, you'll see the same teas all over the internet - the only thing david's tea does is change the names and hope the ignorant customers believe their cock n' bull assertion that these teas are made especially for them.

Very very dissapointed at David's Tea - all glitz in the store and NO substance. And don't even get me started on how overpriced they are....

Anonymous said...

Is it flavoured chemically, or is it the fermentation process which gives the distinct flavour and aroma? I have read many articles on Milk Oolong. I can tell you that my milk oolong retains it's distinctness after several washes using an yxing.


Visually, the tea seems to be very clean, unlike many flavoured teas where a fine residue can be seen.


TheSpaceBetween said...

Davids Tea does sell fake milk oolong. The real stuff is not flavored whatsoever.

Anonymous said...

Milk oolong is not artificially flavored nor dipped in milk. It´s flavor comes from the area where it is grown & the harvesting.

LoveDrinkingTea said...

Milk Oolong is one of my most favourite of Oolong Teas, I have sampled many over the years and have found one which I this tops them all from The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company, whats good about this company is if there is a tea you would like to try they are more than happy to send our a free sample if you wanted to try before you buy, Milk Oolong Tea If you a lover of Oolong Loose Tea they have a nice selection so its well worth asking for a few samples.