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Tea Review: Quangzhou Milk Oolong

April 02, 2009

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milk_oolong_in_gaiwan

Immediately after opening the package of DAVIDsTEA’s Quangzhou Milk Oolong I knew that this would be a tea I would really like. The smell is extraordinarily aromatic, and reveals immediately the reason for its name. It doesn’t really smell like actual milk as much as it smells milky. The scent is really more like pure, rich cream with a whole lot of pure cane syrup poured into it. Of course the only way to attempt to describe a flavor or scent is to compare it to something it isn’t, and that can only ever approximate and hint. If you imagine a sweet sugary cream and can translate that memory into a more tea-like scent you’ll be as close as you can get without direct sensory experience of it. Here is DAVIDsTEA’s description of this tea:

“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.”

milk_oolong_pouringIt is easy for me to see how this lovely brew could inspire people to construct such a fanciful and charming myth around it. It is quite a distinctive oolong, and I found the luxurious scent and flavor to be quite enjoyable.

One thing that I found a little surprising when I brewed it gongfu style in a gaiwan was that the first infusion had very little of the specific flavor that I expected to echo the powerful smell of the leaf. But its distinctive creamy sweet character was revealed a little more in the second infusion and even more so in the third. By that time it tasted very much like that wonderful, creamy aroma. This tea is a tea to savor slowly, and preferably in small, short, dense infusions, although I also found it quite pleasant when brewed using a more typically Western method, in a larger size glass pot, steeped for three minutes.

As this Quangzhou Milk Oolong is a limited edition, I strongly recommend giving some of it a try while it’s still available. If you have the type of tea palate that enjoys sweet, lightly oxidized oolongs you are probably going to find this one to your liking, and you will find yourself able to remember its distinctive scent long after the last droplets have dried in your cup.

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