I bought some Chinese Milk Oolong from my local tea store and I’ll be darned if it didn’t taste just like milk!
My setup is certainly nothing fancy. I brew on a kitchen towel on my dining room table. I have seen a lot of pictures of people with very beautiful tea brewing setups and they look great but you don’t have to have everything fancy to get some great tea.
So what is milk oolong? I had a hard time believing that tea can taste like milk without being artificially flavored, but it can. I have had the Ali Shan Oolong from Taiwan which is very creamy, but I’ve never had a tea that is so milky like this one before. I unfortunately don’t know much about this tea other than it’s from China and it’s English name is Milk Oolong. My local store doesn’t have all the details.
I used 5 grams of tea for 100ml gaiwan. Water was 212F or a full boil and I brewed first infusion 20 seconds and +5 for every other infusion. I had heard from YouTube and other sources that rolled oolongs need the hottest water you can get so that the leaves can unroll. It takes a lot of energy to unfurl and boiling water is the most energy you can give them. So that’s what I did, but on the third infusion, it became slightly bitter.
I haven’t seen anyone advocate doing this before, but I thought what the hey I’ll try it and see what happens. So I use a steel water bottle to keep my water hot between infusions, and I decided to leave the lid off of the water bottle after the third infusion, so that the water would cool down a little bit and maybe the tea would stop being bitter.
As you can see, the leaves were completely unrolled by the 4th infusion, I would say after the second one they became unrolled, and at that point, I think it is time to lower the water temperature slightly. My goal was to get it down from 212F to 200F, but I don’t have a water thermometer so it wasn’t exact. But I can tell you that the bitterness was completely gone after I reduced the temperature.
The defining taste of this tea is the milk. I don’t how to describe it other than it tastes just like milk, which is the craziest thing. It had a slight astringency, but not bad, some slight green vegetal notes and a little bit of a floral note for the first infusions. The mouthfeel was very thick and smooth.
After I dropped the temperature, I picked up a bit of sweetness right at the end of the sip that I wasn’t getting at first, which was really nice. It also became more juicy and quenching instead and not astringent at all. It may have been a better idea to start off at 200F instead of 212, so maybe I will try it that way next time I brew it.
By the very end, this tea had an almost, dare I say, ice cream taste to it. It was just thick and smooth and milky with a hint of sweetness. It was very good.
This tea expands quite a bit as it unrolls, so beware how much water you use, because I may have burned my fingertips once or twice in this session.
The price of this tea was $8 for 1 oz. which is 28 grams. 5 grams per session makes about 5 sessions per bag, which is $1.60 per session. I got 8 infusions out of this one so that comes to $.20 per cup. It doesn’t sound expensive at all when you break it down. It’s definitely worth it and if you ever find a tea called milk oolong and it looks like it’s real tea and not artificially flavored, give it a try. It’s very unique and quite enjoyable. Cheers.