The Jin Xuan cultivar from which Milky Oolong tea is made got its name from the Taiwan Tea Research and Extension Station (TRES), which played a key role in its development.
Professor Wu Zhendou was known for his extensive knowledge of tea varieties and their cultivation. His contributions to the research and development of tea cultivation techniques contributed significantly to the development and dissemination of the Jin Xuan cultivar. His efforts helped develop new varieties of tea and improve production processes to develop teas with specific flavor profiles and qualities. Therefore, Professor Wu Zhendou is often referred to as the grandfather of the tea industry in Taiwan.
The name "Jin Xuan" (金萱) in Chinese "Golden Daylily" or "Golden Daylily" was given to the cultivar by Professor Wu to emphasize its outstanding characteristics, particularly its golden color, its gentle creaminess and the natural milk aroma-like quality of the tea.
By the way, it's really a myth that milk is added when making Milky Oolongs!
The name "Milky" or "milk" simply refers to the natural aroma and texture of the tea. When the tea is brewed, the leaves of the Jin Xuan cultivar develop a silky or creamy taste that is very reminiscent of the texture of milk.
This cultivar is mainly grown in the high altitudes of Taiwan, particularly in the Nantou and Alishan regions. The climate and altitude of these areas provide ideal conditions for the development of the leaves of the Jin Xuan cultivar.
The tea farmers harvest the tea leaves exclusively by hand, using only the young, tender leaves, which are often referred to as “two leaves and a bud”. These are the top two leaves and the bud of the tea bush. These leaves often have the best balance between aroma and flavor and contribute to the quality of the Milky Oolong.
Preparing Jin Xuan Milky Oolong depends on your personal preference, but here are some basic steps to achieve a good infusion:
Water preparation: Use fresh water at a temperature between 80°C and 90°C. Do not use boiling water as it can negatively affect its taste.
Tea leaves: Take about 2-3 grams of tea leaves for every 200 ml of water. The exact amount may vary depending on personal preference.
Steeping time: For the first infusion, let the tea steep for about 3-4 minutes. You can adjust the steeping time depending on your taste. A longer infusion can result in a stronger flavor.
Multiple brewing: Jin Xuan Milky Oolong is usually suitable for multiple brewings. The number of infusions depends on the quality of the leaves and the duration of the first infusion. You can try steeping the tea about 30 seconds longer for each subsequent brew. Often the taste of the second or third infusion is more balanced than the first infusion.
Enjoy: Pour the tea into a tea bowl or gaiwan. Milky and make sure the tea doesn't steep for too long then you can perceive a variety of aromas and nuances:
First infusion : The first infusion typically offers a smooth, creamy taste with a slightly sweet, floral note. The milk aroma-like quality is often present with its silky texture, along with a delicate butteriness.
Second infusion : The flavors can deepen in subsequent infusions. You might notice more of the floral notes, perhaps with a hint of freshness or a slight fruitiness. The creaminess may still be present, but perhaps a little more subtle.
Third and subsequent infusions : With each subsequent infusion the flavors can develop and vary. Some tea drinkers report increasing sweetness or a more intense floral presence in later brews. The creaminess may diminish somewhat, but the overall profile of the tea often remains pleasant and balanced.
Milky Oolong tea is suitable for many occasions due to its versatile flavor profile and pleasant properties. Here are some occasions when I would enjoy Milky Oolong tea:
Relaxation and enjoyment: The gentle and creamy taste of Milky Oolong makes it ideal for relaxing moments. A leisurely afternoon at home or reading a book could be a perfect opportunity to enjoy this tea.
After a meal: Milky Oolong's slight sweetness and pleasant texture make it a great option as a post-meal digestive tea. Its flavor can help refresh the palate and enhance the end of a meal.
Enjoying tea with friends: If you are inviting friends over or hosting a tea party, Milky Oolong could be an interesting and inviting type of tea that offers different flavors and aromas and can add to the conversation.
As a moment of enjoyment: Sometimes it's nice to just have a moment to yourself and enjoy a cup of tea. Milky Oolong can be a pleasant choice in such moments to explore the nuances of tea and enjoy the moment.
Gift for Tea Lovers: If you are looking for a gift for a tea lover, a high quality pack of Milky Oolong tea could be a nice choice as it is a special type of tea and fascinates many tea lovers.