Milk Oolong (奶香烏龍茶, Nǎi Xiāng Wū Lóng Chá, "Milk Fragrance Oolong Tea") comes from a Taiwanese cultivar called Jīn Xuān 金萱 ("Golden Lily"). Legend has it that one year there was a late freeze that caused the plants to get frostbitten and wilt just before the harvest. Thinking their tea was ruined, some farmers decided to pick and process the tea anyway to cut their losses. When they started firing the tea, they were surprised that a distinctly sweet dairy aroma emerged. I inherited the source for this tea many years ago at my first tea-serving job at Jade Leaves Tea House in Austin, TX. I poured at Jade Leaves from 2009-2010, just before I moved to China. Jade Leaves closed in 2010, and when I started selling tea in Austin after returning from China, many of my old tea friends wanted Milk Oolong. The owner of Jade Leaves graciously shared his source with me, and over the years it has perennially been one of the most popular teas at the teahouse, especially for beginners, as it is an incredibly forgiving tea to steep. It has a pronounced buttered-popcorn and condensed milk fragrance with a big stone-fruit finish on the exhale. Many Milk Oolongs on the market are scented, or have milk powder added to them, to create this distinctive flavor. Our Milk Oolong is certified organic and contains no additives. While Milk Oolong is originally from Taiwan, this particular version comes from Quan Zhou, near Anxi in Fujian, just across the water from Taiwan. We have searched and as yet failed to find a Taiwanese or Mainland Milk Oolong that is as good as this classic.
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I love this Oolong. The flavor is like pineapple, coconut, and light notes of apricot. It has a natural sweetness that helped me wean myself off having sugar in my tea.