Thursday, November 7, 2013

Teavivre: Taiwan Jin Xuan Milk Oolong, A Tea Review

I am so glad that I take extensive notes on tea or I would not be able to write a cohesive blog today. Why, you might be asking, well because my Lupus is acting up and it always gives me a serious case of brain fog. I have been lucky to get sentences out today that were not a garbled mess. As per usual, enough whinging and on to the tea, today we are reviewing an Oolong (surprise, surprise, I know) but this is a special one that has been on my 'to try' list for a while.

Taiwan Jin Xuan Milk Oolong by Teavivre is a fancy Oolong from Alishan, Nantou, Taiwan. As you can suspect from the name, Milk Oolongs are known for their creamy sweetness, sadly a lot of these teas are artificially enhanced. This Jin Xuan, however, comes by its milkiness naturally, which is one of the reasons I was waiting so long to try it, I wanted the pure stuff! The aroma is mostly sweet and floral, like fresh vegetation and lilacs. There is of course a creamy, or more accurately milky, aroma with a slight hint of nuttiness. The sweetness reminds me of honey, so mixing cream, honey, and lilacs together you get an amazingly delicious smelling tea!
So they are leaves and not cream, could have fooled me!

The steeped leaves unfurl into a lovely sweet and creamy aroma. Not only is is creamy it is also nutty like chestnuts with a tiny vegetal hint of green beans. Actually mixing the creaminess and nuttiness with that hint of beans vaguely reminds me of a hint of green bean casserole, neat! The liquid is crazy sweet, probably the sweetest aroma that I have found in an unflavored Oolong, I love it. Mostly the smell of honey and milk, but there is a tiny hint of nuttiness as an after thought, it sneaks in as you lean away from the steaming cup.
I love the greenish gold liquid, I expected it to be milky with that aroma!
Time to taste the first steeping! Quoting my notebook directly "Drop the Mic, that is bangin' sweet" just goes to show that maybe I shouldn't be allowed to write! Goofiness aside, it is sweet, really sweet and creamy. It is like drinking sweetened cream without the thickness (I actually just drink straight cream on occasion, and not having the heaviness and just the cream taste is a plus). It is more honey sweet than sugar sweet, but there is a slight note of caramelized sugar in there at the end. After the initial creamy sweet taste fades you are left with a mild vegetal taste evocative of green beans and a tiny buttery chestnut aftertaste. As the tea cools it gets even sweeter.

I had to do a second steep, seeing this tea evolve through steepings was too tempting not to. The aroma of the leaves is more vegetal this time around, more of an artichoke and citrus than creamy sweetness. There is still the aroma of chestnut and sweetness in the liquid, though it is not as sweet of creamy as the first steep. The taste is still really sweet though, but it is not quite as creamy. It takes on more of the vegetal notes of green beans and chestnut and continues to become sweeter as it cools. This is a really unusual Oolong, but I like that about it. Well worth the wait and certainly a new favorite.

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