I read the reviews here, and decided that Mandala’s milk oolong would be my first foray into this type of oolong tea. I am convinced I made the right choice.
I prepared this tea gongfu style in a 130ml porcelain gaiwan.
Water temperature: 195 degrees Fahrenheit.
Rinse: 10 seconds, with about 50ml of water. … I drank it. It smelled too good! Tasted like buttery corn on the cob.
1st steep: 15 seconds. The liquor was clear and a very pale shade of yellow. It tasted grassy/vegetal, with a nuttiness and a slight floral note. I can see where it gets the name “milk” from; its mouthfeel was very creamy from the start. Breathing in after the cup was finished, I felt very refreshed.
2nd steep: 20 seconds. Yellow liquor; smelled of butter, grass, and some kind of nut. It tasted… yellow. Grassy, with almost a pineapple-y fruitiness. The tea had a very creamy texture. On the in-breath after the cup was done, I tasted a minty spinach, or maybe kale.
3rd steep: 25 seconds. Wow, those leaves opened up! The liquor looked like liquid gold! It was thick and creamy, and tasted of butter cream, with something else… citrus? The in-breath was minty, and lingered for a while.
4th steep: 30 seconds. Somewhere, there is a man, woman, or family, who grew this for my enjoyment. The liquor was still golden, and it smelled like a cross between cookies baking and brown-sugar-and-butter frosting. The taste was heavenly – the best yet. At first, vanilla, with milk at the back. After swallowing, there was a light vegetal taste on the sides, but with no astringency. This… this is like drinking a cloud.
I’ll spare the details of steeps 5 through 9, but I will say that this tea would not give up! After nine steeps and about a liter of water, I decided to steep for four minutes, to see what the leaves had left in them. All that was good and glorious about this tea, all of the flavors, smells, and after-tastes came back in one delicious cup. The six-minute steep has not been disappointing, either.
If you’re on the fence about this tea, buy it. You won’t regret it.