Awwww, we’re down to our final Teasenz sample! I’ve really enjoyed trying this Chinese vendor’s selections over the past year. Each has been of superb quality, to the point that I know I’ll be a customer in the future. ;)
So, what have I saved for last from Teasenz? Ali Shan Milky Oolong. (Yes, the name does sound strange if you’ve never heard of it before.) This particular kind of tea is grown only in Taiwan, in the country’s Ali Shan Mountain region. According to Teasenz, the area’s soil conditions and the production methods used for these leaves bring out a unique milk flavor and creaminess. Read on to find out how these qualities manifest once Ali Shan Milky Oolong is brewed.
Teasenz’s Description: “Intense creamy taste with floral undertone. A one-of-a-kind tea from Taiwan with a fantastically creamy flavor resulting from its unique roasting process. Our Ali Shan Milky Oolong offers you great depth of flavor that lasts into even the fifth brew.”
Ingredients: Ali Shan oolong tea leaves
Steeping Instructions: Use 1 teaspoon of dry leaves for every 8 oz of water. Heat water to boiling (212 degrees Fahrenheit / 100 degrees Celsius) and steep for 3 minutes.
Multiple Brews?: Yes, about 5 brews
Bagged or Loose Leaf?: Loose leaf
Caffeine Level: Medium
Ali Shan Milky Oolong is one of those teas that, as soon as you open the packet, you notice both the leaves and the scent right away. The leaves are tightly curled and bright green, a mixture of light and dark shades. They’re not much different from a typical oolong, and they’re very pretty.
As for Ali Shan’s fragrance, it’s neither overpowering nor pungent, but it lilts out of the packet to welcome you. I definitely smell the “milkiness,” along with sweet, floral, and fruity notes. In fact, it reminds me a bit of melon. It’s also the kind of aroma you can actually taste as well as smell. So, before I brew this oolong, I already have a good idea of what flavors to expect.
Teasenz’s recommended brew time for Ali Shan Milky Oolong surprised me at first. First steeps for oolongs are usually shorter than 3 minutes. I follow the instructions, though; and the resulting brew is a light golden yellow, maybe closer to lemon, with the earlier bouquet of sweet, floral, and milky scents. I take a sip, then another one – and each is like liquid satin. This cup is subtly sweet, with orchid and pear flavors enhanced by the creamy mouthfeel. Delicate, spring-like, and slightly luxurious.
I make two more cups with this first batch of leaves. Steep #2 (4 minutes) gives off the same floral perfume, though it’s lighter than Steep #1’s. It’s still satiny smooth, with predominantly sweet and orchid flavors. The orchid presence remains with Steep #3 (5 minutes). However, the lovely texture and the sweet and fruity notes have faded, leaving me with a lightly floral oolong that’s still delectable.
This, of course, leaves me curious to know how Ali Shan Milky Oolong develops with shorter brews. In goes a fresh teaspoon of leaves, and I brew a new cup for 45 seconds. Wow! This isn’t sickly sweet, but much sweeter than I was expecting. I taste hints of apples and pears (reminding me of Tea From Taiwan’s Wu Ling Oolong), and traces of milk and butter. There’s also a subtle current of creaminess as the liquid moves over my tongue.
Subsequent brews of 1 minute, 90 seconds, and so on maintain the floral and fruity flavors and accentuate the smooth, subtle milkiness. Each steep also becomes a little less sweet. I prefer these shorter brews over the longer ones that were instructed – but honestly, I’ve enjoyed every cup of Ali Shan Milky Oolong, regardless of the brew time.
Don’t let the adjective “milky” deter you from trying Teasenz’s Ali Shan Milky Oolong. This floral Taiwanese jewel is bright in flavor and creamy in texture without being too heavy in body. The shorter steeps are a little sweet for my liking oolong-wise, but they’re still quite good. If you like Wu Ling and Hua Gang Oolongs, or are looking for light oolongs with a fruity or floral profile, this Ali Shan is a good place to start.
Grade: 9 / 10
- Tea Drinkers Who: Like oolong teas
- Time of Day and Year: Spring afternoons and evenings
- Possible Book Pairings: Ali Shan Milky Oolong reminds me of gentle, compassionate characters who learn courage as part of their stories. Try this with Kristin Cashore’s Bitterblue, Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane, or Naomi Novik’s Uprooted.
You can purchase Ali Shan Milky Oolong Tea directly from Teasenz here.
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In addition to being a tea enthusiast, Sara Letourneau is an avid reader and a writer who… well, enjoys writing! Currently she’s working on a novel, and she writes book reviews and articles on the craft of writing. She’s also a published poet with works available in various print and online publications. Visit Sara at her personal blog, Facebook, or Twitter.
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