A (Possibly) Ridiculous Question

Alright, I am fully prepared to sound like a moron here, but I tried to Google, and I tried to read ingredients and I can’t find anything and I’m (somewhat) a tea newbie, so I don’t feel bad asking this question:

Is there anything MILK derived in MILK oolong? I’ve heard such great things about it and would like to try it, but I can’t figure out if it just TASTES like milk or is MADE with milk flavoring?! I am both a vegan and an avid milk hater (but wouldn’t mind milk oolong as long as it doesn’t also smell disgusting like real milk… shudder)

So, someone please (be kind) and let me know if milk oolong is just called that or if there is actually milk involved in its processing.

Thank youuuuu!

28 Replies

I am not completely sure about it, but to my knowledge there is no milk involved what so ever. I think it has a milky aroma…possibly…but it is one I have yet to try…but on my list to try.

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I cannot answer the question, but I will gladly flaunt my own ignorance here about milk oolongs. I am also interested in the answer.

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Spot52 select said

I know that some milk oolongs are natural, and some are dried with milk on them. It is best to investigate the company you are buying it from. I would recommend an email—if they do not specifically state the type.

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Uniquity said

Some are “enhanced” with milk additives and some are natural – though there seems to be a great deal of dispute even when a company states which theirs is.

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Dorothy said

I’m fairly certain that there is no real milk involved with milk oolong. I’m also lactose intolerant so it’s something that once concerned me too.

And I don’t mean to be rude or seem like the Steepster forum police, but here is another thread on Milk Oolong with people much more knowledgeable on the subject: http://steepster.com/discuss/1403-milk-oolong
Hope everyone enjoys the insights from that old discussion :)

Spot52 select said

granted it has been six months since that thread was active. It is nice to post the question again, and get more people involved in the discussion. Of course link backs are a great resource too. It is a win/win.

Camiah said

Thanks for adding the old post—it was really interesting. I’m still in the newbie romance phase of tea, where I haven’t started doing the dirty work of learning more about it, so the thread was very helpful.

Thanks for the link, but like I said nothing I’ve read in the past actually answered my MILK or just “milk oolong” question; that’s why I wanted to ask directly!!! I even googled “Is Milk oolong vegan” and got nothing. Usually that solves everything!!!

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Angrboda said

From what I understand it can be both a naturally occurring flavour or the leaves can be treated with steamed milk, but I’ve never seen any vendor point out which ‘branch’ their milk oolongs belong to, so I suspect you might have to always ask the vendor if they know in each case, unless you are willing to risk it.

As for smelling of milk, the few I’ve had I thought smelled more like yoghurt than milk really, but then that’s still a milk product, isn’t it? :)

Something about milk just makes me literally quiver with fear. I used to work at Barnes and Noble and they trained me in the cafe for a few shifts and everybody used to laugh at the look on my face whenever I’d make a latte because I would hold the cup and the jug as far away from me as I could… Bleh.

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NOT a ridiculous question, at least not to me, I’ve wondered this myself! I’m allergic to an enzyme preservative in many milk and dairy products, so I’ve wondered if I can try any milk oolongs myself. Seems like I may have to avoid them before I know for certain!

So you probably have the same chocolate/caramel problem in tea flavorings as I do! (?)

Yes! Not being able to eat milk chocolate is sometimes a drag, but I don’t miss caramel. I don’t really even care for it, honestly. My mother swears we’re not related. ;) Once in a while I am able to enjoy a milk chocolate and/or dark chocolate sampling, but it’s rare. I tend to avoid chocolate teas because I think of the pain I get when I consume them and it’s not worth it. I’ll suffer through the pain for some sponge candy from upstate New York’s Oliver’s, but that’s about it.

Have you tried ricemilk chocolate? It is so silky smooothhhh! Also, I just got my 52teas sampler order from you to process! YESSSS! :)

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Thank you to everyone for their answers! It seems like asking each individual retailer is probably best. Though even the possibility of accidentally buying a tea that has had “milk dried on it” turns me off to the whole milk oolong idea haha :)

Spot52 select said

I do like Milk Oolong a lot. There is a creaminess to it, and I have had the non-milk dried kind. The taste is unique and worth trying. Good luck!

Jessie said

I’m not vegan and feel pretty neutrally about milk, but the thought of buying tea with dried milk makes me shudder too! The DAVIDsTEA’s milk Oolong has actually become too strongly milky for me and suddenly started grossing me out for some reason, and I feel like there is some additional flavouring going on there.

I think somewhere you’d be safe starting is with Tea From Taiwan. They offer both completely natural milk Oolongs (Jin Xuan) and one that they clearly explain is flavoured. They offer a sampler here: http://www.teafromtaiwan.com/shop/tea-samples/jin-xuan

I really enjoyed the sampler and seeing the difference between the version with added flavour and the unenhanced ones. For the price (shipping on samples is free) you could just give someone else the one with the milk flavouring (Zhu Shan) or inquire if it is vegan. Whatever they use to flavour it may not actually contain dairy. Or, you could try ordering a full size of one of the unflavoured ones (Rui Feng or Tai Xing) since they’re definitely milk-free and I think really well-priced. The milky aspect in these is subtle and I find it more just a creamy note than “hey, this tastes like milk”, and I prefer it that way!

Thanks! I’ll have to check it out. I would immediately, except I just made a $20 impulse purchase from Teavana’s huge online sale. I SWORE I wouldn’t buy any more tea this month but I can’t pass up trying new teas for less than $2 for 2 ounces! That’s the best price I’ll see all year! I got 2 ounces each of: Dokudami Umami Herbal Tea, Scarlet Cloud White Tea, Yumberry Wulong Oolong Tea, Assam Gold Rain Black Tea, Zocolatte Spice Herbal Tea, a reusable bag, a (free) teaspoon… $14 before shipping. AHH It’s an addiction. But I’m slightly off point now, just had to share my tea purchase with SOMEONE since I’m home alone, I guess :)

Jessie said

Ahh! That’s crazy. I definitely succumbed to their crazy end-of-year sale (among others) last year. This year I’ve tried to ignore all the sale notices but it’s so hard! Good work. That’s an incredible haul!

Thanks! Unfortunately I’m afraid my boyfriend won’t be as excited for me… Especially since I declared (just yesterday, I believe) “I am NOT buying any more teas until I drink what I have!” Ha! Good one. (My justification [besides the price] is I just made a sampler packet for a friend and got rid of a bunch of my early tea….) :)

Jessie said

That’s good justification, but with a crazy sale I don’t think you need to justify it! :)

I actually caved when I checked out the Teavana sale just now. I got basically the same teas you listed. Such a good deal! My boyfriend has actually taken to drinking tea with (and sometimes even without!) me, so he supports the buying of flavoured stuff even if he ridicules the state of our kitchen for it. It is out of control. I don’t know where I’m going to put this.

I am with you on the, “That was my last purchase; no, really, it was,” thing. I bought at least two ounces of literally every single tea that was on sale on Teavana’s website (with I think one exception). And I bought a bunch of green tea, too; oh, and a few accessories.

I think my wife (myself, included) just laughs when I way, “OK, THAT was my last purchase for awhile!” Oh well, its just money. : – )

Oh, and I don’t know where I am going to put it all, either.

One thing about their online sales: I wouldn’t be surprised at all if something I ordered (and listed as, ’In Stock") ends up being sold out when they get to my order. That happened twice last year.

Wow, was that really only 5 days ago that I ordered from Teavana??!? That means in the last week I’ve spent $50 on tea. Not counting the $20-30 I spent at Teavana at the mall the week before… Oh dear…

It is amazing how fast it adds up, isn’t it?

From 14 different teas I ordered from them, it looks like only one is on back-order (and luckily not one of the ones I REALLY want). Not bad. I will have to see if it really is back-ordered, or if they just won’t have any more, though (Last year one tea was stated as ‘back-ordered’ in my account for the order, and after waiting over a week to hear from them I had to call them only to find out they were totally out of it. At least they were willing to send me a few others teas I wanted (and paid for) without paying for the shipping).

A few teas and other things have dropped from the website, but there are a number of teas there were previously listed as out of stock, that are now back in stock, though.

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TeaVivre said

At the moment, the market exists two types of Milk Oolong tea, one is natural, and the other is artificial. And there is a famous Milk Oolong called “ Taiwan Jin Xuan Milk Oolong”, this is a kind of fine classic Taiwan Oolong tea, it is very special and unique for its MILKY aroma is natural. This special tea is grown and produced in Taiwan, and tasted very smooth, mellow light-bodied infusion with sweet cream and floral notes.

Meanwhile, The creamy notes in this tea are a result of the tea varietals, where it is grown, and how the leaves are processed – there are no flavors added to this tea.

But we should also pay attention that not all the Jin Xuan Milk Oolong teas have the natural milk flavor, some tea sellers will add spices into the tea, then the tea will have stronger milk flavor. So if you brew the milk oolong tea, smell and taste a very stronger milk flavor, it must add spice into the tea, because the authentic MILK oolong tea’s flavor is light.

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Erin said

I went to a little tea store recently and talked to the owner for a bit, she said that all milk oolongs are steamed with milk. She also told me that lots of tea companies will say things on their websites or packaging about their tea that is just not true, so you shouldn’t believe everything you read. Specifically I told her about gyukuro yamashiro from David’s and how they say that it’s shaded for 6-7 weeks, longer than regular gyokuro, and she said that is definitely not true. Now I don’t know WHAT to believe!!

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