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Milk Oolong, No Cows Involved

Posted by Angelina Kurganska on

Don’t worry. We assure you there were no cows employed for the production of this popular Taiwanese specialty. Although its true, after first smelling the rich, buttery scent of Jin Xuan Oolong it will be difficult not to fall in love with it. Smelling a quality Milk Oolong is reminiscent of the happiness one gets from smelling freshly baked cookies...


The aroma of Milk Oolong is wholly due to the specific tea bush - Jin Xuan (also referred to as #12), and the oxidation and roasting process that it goes through. 

Other tea bush varieties will not yield the typical scent that we associate with a quality Milk Oolong. 

The Jin Xuan cultivar is comparatively new to the world of Taiwanese teas, being developed in the 1980’s. Yet it is currently one of Taiwan’s four main tea cultivars, in addition to the dozens of other varieties that are grown throughout the island.

Although the elevation of the area where Jin Xuan is grown varies,

with higher elevation, the flavors and aromas of Milk Oolong will come to be more developed and rich.


Unfortunately, much confusion still surrounds the tea and claims that Milk Oolong is developed by steaming or soaking the tea leaves in milk are still abundant. These are but fancy coverups to make the tea sound more exquisite, while hiding the fact that, in some cases, artificial/natural flavoring was used. Dairy products are not a big part of Taiwan’s agriculture, and the amounts of milk that would be required for this popular tea’s production are in fact pretty unrealistic.

Be sure to always inquire about the ingredients before purchase.

Many Milk Oolongs often include artificial flavoring and milk components. If this is the case, you will surely know by the aroma. 

The milky scent will greatly overpower the original tea aroma. The aroma of a quality Jin Xuan Oolong should only slightly remind you of a milky scent.

A quality Milk Oolong will almost always come directly from Taiwan (for now, the majority produced in China are artificially flavored).

At Path of Cha we carry two varieties of Oolong from the Jin Xuan cultivar, both coming from Taiwan's Ali Mountains. Our Jin Xuan Milk Oolong is a great way to get acquainted with this beloved tea, or perfect for already established Milk Oolong fans. Whereas we would recommend our Award-Winning Ali Shan Milk Oolong tea for a more refined treat. This tea grows at altitudes above 1000 meters, in cold weather and surrounded by clouds, giving it time to stock up on pectin and develop its characteristic sweetness.