Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Silky Green (... Milk Oolong?)

I have been frightfully busy, and have an ever growing pile of teas to review. It is not exactly the best combination.
But either way, I will compose reviews when possible!
This is a part of my collection of samples from Bird Pick.
They say this is a "Silky Green Tea," from Taiwan.

I say it is a Milk Oolong tea, perhaps.

Creamy, sweet, buttermilk-y, and squash notes float up from the dry leaf. I do not have faith in this tea as far as it being an authentic milk oolong. I have had only one milk oolong I knew to be the real deal, so I judge milk oolongs off of that experience.

This tea was put to the test. I used a limited amount of leaf, brewed in a large pot with boiling water.
Extraction of every component in this tea was necessary for the rigorous test.

The aroma was not surprising;
milk, cream, and an aroma not unlike that of warm cooking oil. This liquor is going to be saturated with sweetness.

I was correct.
The texture is very oily, creamy and buttery. The sweetness is very prevalent and coats the mouth.
One thing that did surprise me was that I could still taste tea. Now, mind you, it was not green tea I tasted; it was oolong. The tea looks like it has been processed in the fashion of other oolongs, and there is oxidation on the edges of the leaves. I would think this is a fairly persuasive characteristic. Also, the liquor was absent of astringency, which is not uncommon for an oolong, but is very uncommon for a green tea made in fully boiling water.

Also, looking at the liquor as it was infusing, I noticed small white flecks mingling among the dancing leaves. It was not down, they were flecks.
My guess; partially soluble material, such as a flavoring or a powder.

With all these clues, I am still not sure whether this tea is an authentic milk oolong, or if it really is a green tea that has undergone different processing.
I enjoyed analyzing this tea.
Whether or not it is a true "Milk" oolong, I am not sure.

What do you all think?



  1. I've had a number of oolongs with this oily, creamy, buttery quality that you describe, which were not marketed as milk oolongs -- particularly I've seen this in Dong Ding. But I've never tried a milk oolong, authentic or imitation, so I can't say. But I think these buttery qualities are fairly common in greener oolongs so that wouldn't necessarily characterize it as a milk oolong.

    As a side comment, I don't really like these qualities in tea. I like my greener oolongs to have a lot more bite, and more herbaceous qualities.

  2. Alex,

    One thing that characterizes this as being marketed as a milk oolong is the word "silky" in the title. This factor, along with the almost overpowering cream / butter notes, made me treat this as a milk oolong.
    I have had my fair share of alishan oolongs and other taiwanese oolongs that have this buttery quality, but not to the extent that this, or other so called "milk" oolongs have.
    I am skeptical whether this specific tea is authentic.

    And I have to be in the mood to enjoy such a creamy tea. It is pleasant sometimes, but can be a bit much.

  3. Powder? And rather oily? :(
    What was your feeling on the second infusion?

  4. Ice,

    Second infusion was very strong (as I brewed it with boiling water for about 10 minutes), but it revealed even more flecks. The taste was very true to a Taiwanese oolong though, so that made me wonder about my criticism of its authenticity.

  5. The leaves are frightfully green with only the faintest hint of oxidation.

  6. MarshalN,

    It is due to the lighting, perhaps, but these leaves are actually fairly dark.
    And I have never seen a pearled green before, although, I guess I am not too experienced in the ways of green tea. Could it be more of a jade oolong; very green?

  7. Oh, I'm not saying this is green tea, I'm just saying it's..... frightfully green for an oolong.

    This looks like some jinxuan type thing.

  8. MarshalN,

    That is kind of what I had thought at first. Although, usually with jinxuan teas, the creamy qualities are not quite so accentuated. With this specific tea, they are. So its still a mystery to me!

  9. You may very well be right that they added stuff to it, in which case... don't drink this stuff :)

  10. MarshalN,

    I definitely will not be drinking anymore!

  11. Thanks for your sharing, it was very interesting to read your article about the tea from Taiwan, my country. Unfortunately I think this one is not authentic, this should be marketed milky tea. The real Jinxuan, Jade or Qingshin Oolong won't be tasted so milky and oily and with flecks(?). :) I've been asked for helping to find this kind of tea by an European tourist in Taipei, he was searching for "Milk Tea" (loose tea) in a supermarket, I told him that kind of tea is only available in Bubble Tea shops. However, many people in China like this kind of tea very much, so, it depends.

  12. Muggle,

    I am delighted to hear from someone in Taiwan about this tea!
    Yes, once I saw the flecks I realized that this tea was most likely not authentic.
    Jinxuan teas are definitely more subtle in their milky flavor and creamy texture.

    Thank you for dropping by and adding your knowledge to this discussion! =]