Ottawa Tea said

Milk Oolong

Hello all, I’m looking for a great milk oolong that is NOT flavoured. Any suggestions? I went to my local tea store yesterday, and alas they were sold out.

56 Replies

we have a very nice high altitude Chinese non flavored Milk Oolong that happens to be very well received here on steepster. We offer flat rate shipping ($15) to Canada.
http://www.americantearoom.com/milk-oolong.html

I can vouch for this one. I’ve tried MO from about 5 vendors and this is my absolute favourite. YUMMM!

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Jessie said

DavidsTea’s milk oolong is lovely, since I see you’re in Ottawa (unless that’s the local store you mention that’s sold out, though they can always transfer some for you).

I haven’t had any other milk oolongs but theirs has no additives and I thought it was incredible!

Jillian said

Seconding DavidsTea’s Oolong – I just had a cup recently and it was delicious.

Dorothy said

Likewise, I’ve always enjoyed DavidTea’s milk oolong.

Ottawa Tea said

Great. Apparently David is from Ottawa, and there is a store close to where I work. A trip will come soon!

I know this is very old.. but… DavidsTea Milk Oolong IS flavored… excerpt from the website “Chinese oolong tea from the Wuyi Mountains, natural flavouring*.”

http://www.davidstea.com/quangzhou-milk-oolong

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Pithy said

Look for high mountain taiwanese oolongs. You want to know which mountain it’s from and the harvest date. Anything marked as “milk oolong” without giving you this information is most likely flavored.

Most vendors that carry “milk oolongs” or “silk oolongs” but don’t source their teas directly from the tea gardens are usually unaware that there is artificial flavoring added to them. I suspect it’s the same for both American Tea Room and David’s Tea.

Actually this tea is sourced directly in China. I have personally visited the garden where this tea is grown. This year’s harvest was plucked in September 2010 and was delivered to our shop in mid October. It is also one of the highest rated teas on www.teaviews.com We take great pride in sourcing nearly every single one of the 200 teas we carry in our store.

Pithy said

Well in naturally flavored milk oolongs, the milky flavor comes from being grown at higher elevations and lower temperatures. The less information a vendor has about the elevation of the tea garden and the mountain or provenance that it comes from, the less likely I am to believe that this “holy cow it tastes like milk” flavor is actually coming from the tea.

My advice to Ottawa Tea is that the difference in flavored and natural teas becomes really obvious the more teas you try and compare. You just have to start shopping and see what you like.

Simple said

…True to your name…. I like that.
pith·y/ˈpiTHē/Adjective
1. (of language or style) Concise and forcefully expressive.
2. (of a fruit or plant) Containing much pith.

Ottawa Tea said

Thank you all for the advice! It’s great to see vendors on the discussion board…it increases their credibility! I’ll be visiting your site, ATR.

Marcus said

I can’t speak for American Tea Room or David’s Tea, but almost all “Milk Oolongs” are scented. Having an unscented milk oolong would be like saying you have an unscented jasmine tea. Just because it is scented doesn’t mean that it is low quality or artificial.

The largest problem is the term “Milk Oolong” is a marketing term that does not trace back to a specific varietal.

Now, it is possible to have a really high grade oolong that has notes of milk in it. But it is most likely just that. A really good green oolong that someone decided to label as “Milk Oolong.” But this is quite rare since a high grade TGY or JinXuan carry just as high of a price point as a milk oolong and they are the actual varietal name.

@Marcus – that makes a lot of sense! That is why I was a bit doubtful about milk oolongs in general.
So tell me this, I just tried this tea: http://steepster.com/Shinobicha/posts/67072 yesterday, and it was really good. It was flavorful through 7 infusions. Do you think a scented tea could have flavor this long, or that this is simply a high quality TGY that seems to have notes of milk in it?

I don’t know what comment to make about “all milk oolongs are scented”, because “milk oolong” is a very vague term. People could and might use this name for an unscented tea. But I agree with Marcus that “The largest problem is the term ‘Milk Oolong’ is a marketing term that does not trace back to a specific varietal.” But then, in fact, this is the problem for a lot of tea names in market. Sometimes these names are easy and convenient (and probably attractive), but more often than not, these names are very confusing.

In my own understanding, the real, unscented “milk oolong” is Taiwan high mountain oolong made of Jin Xuan cultivar (which is grown in Taiwan, but spread to Fujian and other places later). But in Taiwan, nobody would call it “milk oolong” and it’s simply called by its own name, Jin Xuan. The packages or advertising materials would indicate this tea bears a natural milk aroma. That’s why some people even call this tea cultivar “milk oolong”, which is not a name I like, but of course it’s not forbidden to call it so if people would like to.

If a “milk oolong” is scented (by, I don’t know what, milk, milk powder, fragrant oil?), then I can’t imagine how it could possibly be a high quality tea.

Marcus said

@Shinobicha

It is really hard to say. I’ll be the first ot admit that I am not a fan of milk oolongs. I am a fan of oolongs that have notes of milk/creme in them.

My general rule of thumb is the taste. Is it a subtle note, or is it in your face?
If it is a suble, natural note than I assume it is natural.

But it is impossible to say. And if you like the tea there is nothing wrong with scented teas, milk oolong or not. Just make sure that it is natural. There is a lot of sketchy rumors about the methods people use to flavor the milk oolongs.

Marcus said

@Ginko

I think you misunderstood me. I said “almost all Milk Oolongs are scented”

And as you stated, it is a matter of marketing the name. In my experience, a lot of people who are selling JinXuan’s label them as JinXuan traditionally. But Milk Oolong does have a nice ring to it, so I could see how someone would want to market a JinXuan as a Milk Oolong.

And I am not so sure I would say that “If a “milk oolong” is scented (by, I don’t know what, milk, milk powder, fragrant oil?), then I can’t imagine how it could possibly be a high quality tea.”

There are some quality scented teas out there. Two that come to mind are Jasmine Pearls and Osmanthus Oolongs.

@Marcus
Oops, sorry, I neglected the “almost” :-p I don’t know how many scented and unscented milk oolongs are out there. But I guess it’s a good idea that sellers of unscented milk oolong make an emphasis on its being unscented, because I think a lot of people would like to stay away from scented ones but are attracted to high quality, unscented ones.

I agree there are lots of good scented teas. I, for one, loves jasmine green teas. But I can’t imagine how a scented “milk oolong” can be of high quality, because I can’t think of anything natural to scent it. Even if real milk is used, it sounds very unnatural to me. And practically it’s hard to make high quality scented tea with water-based scenting materials (such as milk).

Marcus said

@Gingko

Totally agree with you. I have heard rumors that they use everything from “secret” herb to chemicals. There are even rumors that it is illegal to export scented cream oolongs, but that very well could be hearsay and I find it hard to believe that reputable tea importers and brokers would even touch it if it was illegal.

Our Milk Oolong is actually a high grade Ti Kwan Yin grown at 5500 ft…it happens to have a very buttery quality so we decided to name this one Milk Oolong to distinguish it from the more vegetal/floral Ti Kwan Yin (both are Chinese) that is considerably less expensive. Our variety of Milk Oolong is harvested in late fall when the tea leaves are huge and the taste tends to be less floral. Our regular Ti Kwan Yin is harvested in the spring and has more floral notes. Our Milk Oolong is exceptionally popular, but I actually prefer our Bao Zhong. There’s a tea for all tastes.

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Best Ever is the Milk Oolong from www.ThePuriTea.com. You will not be disappointed.

Ottawa Tea said

Thanks Rachel

I have to add that I just tried this one and it blew me away. Fabulous!

Chef8489 said

I agree . This is one of the best I have tried. I have a short review about it I believe.

I agree with Rachel… the Milk Oolong from ThePuriTea is amazing!

LunaLu said

My absolute favorite milk oolong. This is my “go to” tea. I drink this tea at least once a day!

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There are two that I really like. One is American Tea Room’s Milk Oolong and the other is from Te House of Tea in Houston. Both are excellent.

Ottawa Tea said

Thanks, Quilt. I think I’m going to try David’s and ATR’s as a start

I just had a really good one yesterday!
http://steepster.com/Shinobicha/posts/67072

Barb said

I’m really late to this discussion but glad to read this recommendation of a local source. I pass by Te House of Tea often but haven’t managed to stop in. Now I’ll be certain to do so.

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Ottawa Tea said

Wow…clearly this is a controversial tea :). Tie guan yin is one of my favourites, so if this tends to be a seasonal variant, I am very excited!

Frankly, I think I’m interested in a tea that is sound, tasty and credible.

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Ottawa tea, if you’re looking to try a high mountain, fresh oolong, you may want to give our Li Shan or Da Yu Lin a try. We’re in the process of taking orders for the spring harvest which we will have available for our clients early April. http://www.cloudwalkerteas.com/product/OOL-003

As an aside, although we are an online retailer, I live in Ottawa/Gatineau, and should you ever wish to try some of our teas in the gong Fu cha tradition (including a 40+ y/o tie guan yin that is amazing (though unfortunately no longer available for sale), let me know and we can set up an appointment.

Mark
Owner
Cloudwalker Teas

Ottawa Tea said

Great! Good to meet another Ottawa/Gatineau source! I see you have a dong fang mai ren – my son loves this. A tea service would be great – I’ll put in on my list of things to do later this spring when the weather is better.

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PeteG said

I get some awesome Milk oolong here in Halifax…unbelievable teas…if you want get hold of me and I will send you some…

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I have now sampled Milk Oolong from both thepuritea and American Tea Room. Here is how they compare, side by side:
thepuritea: Somewhat floral, sweet. Milky but not overly so. Reminds me a great deal of milky tea candies from Asian markets, or the flavor of milk tea bubble tea. “Green” taste. Mellow and smooth.
American Tea Room: Creamier and “richer,” for lack of a better term, than thepuritea. Not very floral. Less candy-like; more like ice cream or whipped cream. Not buttery. Somewhat vegetal. Smooth, not astringent at all. Oolong flavor present and not overshadowed by the milk flavor.

Of the two, I prefer ATR’s Milk Oolong. But both are good teas and a pleasure to drink, and both companies provide excellent customer service and ship quickly. I think I will try David’s next.

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To continue along the topic of milk oolongs.. what is everyone’s first choice for the richest, butteriest, creamiest milk oolong? The oolong flavor doesn’t need to be front and center, either. I would actually prefer the cream/sweetness over the floral. I love teas that give you a thick, creamy mouthfeel.

I am wanting to try DavidsTea and ThePuriTea’s milk oolongs since everyone has recommended those, but are these the richest, creamiest choices?

Since I haven’t tried Davids I can only say I LOVE ThePuriTea the best of those I have tried.

RachanaC, thank you for your response! I will definitely try ThePuriTea’s oolong. I went to their website and was unable to purchase a sample, though. Maybe it’s out of stock? :(

QOT, pm me if you’d like a sample of thepuritea’s milk oolong. I can spare a little bit ;) I still like ATR’s better — I think it’s creamier and richer — but thepuritea’s is certainly good, and worth a try.

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