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iN-TEA milk reserve oolong

March 2, 2010

iN-TEA is a tea company based in Littleton, CO and owned by Carole Alvarez. In addition to successful shop in Littleton, iN-TEA boasts an online store with an outstanding selection. Alvarez is passionate about tea and tea culture and has created a contemporary tea shop void of pretension and stuffiness. She was kind enough to send me several teas from her collection, and when I saw “Milk Oolong”, I knew I had to try it first.

I have been trying to get my hands on a milk Oolong for quite some time. I have been captivated by the reviews I have read describing the fragrances and flavors of this category of tea. My sister at PaintedLeaves reviewed a Quangzhou Milk Oolong and stated it was the best tea she has ever tasted. Needless to say, I am highly anticipating my first sip.

It is said that the milky aroma and fragrance is made by harvesting the tea during seasonal temperature drops, which cause the plant to produce a milky sap that transforms the palate of the tea in a dramatic way. So, the flavor is natural, just a product of creative harvesting and processing techniques.

The fragrance of the dry leaf is intoxicating. Wow. Sweet and floral, with a very apparent milky aroma. “Buttery” is a better word to describe this perfume. Delicate, creamy butter. The appearance is typical of many Chinese Oolongs, balled and dark green.

The cup displays a very light yellow infusion which smells of sweet cream and faint orchid with vegetal undertones. My impression of the first sip?

Milk Oolong is a revelation.

I literally don’t want to stop drinking this. It is mouth-wateringly good. The initial palate is smooth and creamy, with great body for such a light infusion. Next, the familiar Oolong flavor profile: a lingering light floral component and vegetal notes. The finish is long, with the buttery, milky, creamy characteristic that exudes from this Oolong.

If I didn’t know otherwise, I would think this tea is somehow dripping with dairy, but it’s all an illusion. It’s just tea. And a brilliant one at that.

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