Jin Xuan Tea: Your Guide To Milk Oolong Tea

Jin Xuan tea is an oolong tea that was originally produced by tea growers in Taiwan in the early 1980s. The tea's name translates to "Golden Daylily" and is also known as milk oolong tea and Nai Xiang tea. It’s a high-quality tea that is renowned for its milky, buttery flavor without the addition of any dairy ingredients. The rich and creamy flavor is the result of a highly-specialized production process that elicits these distinct notes through the expertise of tea masters. Here, we’ve made a brief introduction to Jin Xuan tea so you can learn more about the methods behind the milky oolong flavor.

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Flavor Profile of Jin Xuan Tea

Milk Oolong tea offers a delightfully floral flavor as it is a more mildly oxidized oolong tea. It offers a full mouthfeel with rich creaminess, a milky flavor, and a floral aroma. Jin Xuan oolong tea has hints of sweet butter, roasted vegetal undertones, and a milky aftertaste. Even more interesting, this tea doesn't contain any milk. The milky aroma and flavor of Jin Xuan tea can be attributed to the way the tea is cultivated and produced.

Cultivation of Jin Xuan Tea

While most oolong teas  – like Tieguanyin — come from the Fujian and Anxi provinces of China, this oolong traces its origins to Taiwan. Jin Xuan milk oolong tea is largely considered a Taiwanese tea, but it is also cultivated to a smaller degree in Thailand. 

The tea is grown at high altitudes, which gives it a bolder flavor and aroma than lower-elevation teas. In Taiwan, the tea is mainly grown in the Zhushan region at 2,000 feet above sea level and in Alishan at 4,000 feet above sea level just outside Nantou County. In Thailand, the tea is grown at several tea estates in the higher elevations including in Chiang Rai province.

Tea farmers gently pluck the oolong tea leaves by hand and allow the leaves to wither before beginning the oxidation process. The tea leaves are gently bruised, allowing enzymes in the leaves to react with oxygen in the air. This oxidation process causes the leaves to turn a brown or black hue and develops the buttery milk flavor the tea is famous for.

Once the leaves reach the desired oxidation point, the process ends by heating the tea leaves. The leaves are then rolled or shaped and packaged for sale.

How to Find the Best Milk Oolong Tea

Like most types of tea, not all tea leaves offer the same quality when it comes to flavor and aroma. This is particularly noticeable when it comes to specialty tea like milk oolong. 

In general, tea bags contain lower quality flavor since the bags are usually filled with broken leaves and fragments. Instead, look for milk oolong in loose leaf tea form. If you must use tea bags, look for large pyramid-shaped tea bags that feature larger leaves and allow enough room for the leaves to expand and infuse flavor.

High-quality milk oolong tea develops its distinct flavors through a precise production process. There are loads of cheap, low-quality milk oolongs that try to mimic the flavor of the real thing by adding flavorings or claiming to soak the leaves in milk. Authentic milk oolong tea doesn't contain any milk or added flavors so make sure to do your research when purchasing. You can also get your hands on high-quality authentic milk oolong tea right here.

How to Brew Jin Xuan Oolong Tea

  1. Preheat your teacup or traditional gaiwan by rinsing them with hot water.
  2. Add 1.5 teaspoons of Cup & Leaf Milk Oolong Tea to a tea strainer.
  3. Bring water to 200 to 212 degrees Fahrenheit using a temperature-controlled teapot or kettle and pour it into your cup.
  4. Add the tea leaves and steep for 3 to 5 minutes. The longer the steeping time, the bolder the flavors will become.
  5. Remove the tea strainer and enjoy! 

Xin Juan tea is a Taiwanese milk tea that offers a rich, buttery feel and hints of milk blended with vegetal undertones similar to those found in green tea. Depending on the varietal, it can offer more grassy notes or floral hints due to a range of oxidation levels. It's the perfect cup of tea to enjoy during all four seasons as it can be brewed as a hot tea or an iced tea.

October 02, 2020 — Sencha Tea Bar
Tags: Oolong Tea