I’m going down the rabbit hole here with two Taiwanese oolongs, like Alishan Wonderland. The first time I visited a “Star-ba-ke” in China, I tried ordering a “tea with milk”. But they said it was too gross, several times, and they wouldn’t make it for me. I thought they had to be joking! They weren’t. My friend later told me I was insisting that “cheese” chai was a thing at American Starbucks. I could have died from the mix of embarrassment and jet lag.
Not too far away from that, around 1200 meters up Ali mountain on a foggy island with low temperatures, both the Osmanthus Oolong from Tea Ave and the Alishan Jin Xuan Milk Oolong from Tea Vivre were born to have complex flavor profiles, but nothing like cheese, I was assured. It is literally translated as Golden Daylily. I tried both these teas without adding any sweetener.
The Tea Vivre Jin Xuan Milk Oolong was so clean tasting that at first I wasn’t sure I steeped it, but the body of it feels thicker than just water and when the fruity aftertaste lingered, I was completely blown away. The flavor really crept up on me! I was able to resteep this naturally flavored tea several times and the fresh-then-orchid combo never failed to delight.
Osmanthus Oolong by Tea Ave was an equally light colored infusion but had more flavor at the front end instead. A very clean apricot flavor greeted my taste buds with this fuller bodied brew. The floral aftertaste was somewhat tannic but not as long lasting as the original flavor style. One aspect I really liked about this brand were the specific instructions for each brewing style, down to the grams for tea and mL of water. The scientist and the tea lover in me both wish I was Canadian so I could order more of this brand.
Overall a lovely experience with two drink-all-day oolongs. The best part is that now I don’t have to cringe at my bad memory when I hear the phrase “milk tea”.