In the last post, I briefly wrote about Oolong teas. In the upcoming posts, we're going to talk about specific types of Oolong teas and what goes into their creation.
Today's post is going to focus on the Jin Xuan cultivar.
There are some common misconceptions about this type of Camellia Sinensis. Those misconceptions generally stem from inaccurate information told by tea purveyors. Hopefully, at the end of this post, you'll have a better understanding of what a milk oolong really is and how to buy one.
What is Jinxuan?
Jin Xuan is a cultivar. It was created in Taiwan, in 1985, at the Taiwanese Tea Research and Extension Station. It was created because Taiwanese tea farmers needed a tea that was heartier and more disease resistant than Qing Xin, which was the most common type of leaf being used at that time. The Jin Xuan cultivar also yields a higher amount of harvests. This means it is cheaper to produce as well as buy from a company.
This tea is also known as Oolong 27 and Milk Oolong. Oolong 27 because it is catalogued as the 27th cultivar in Taiwan. Farmers almost always refer to this cultivar with this name. It is known as Milk Oolong because of the rich and milky characteristics this tea embodies. Despite being such a relatively new tea, it has become incredibly popular among Taiwanese tea drinkers.
The Jin Xuan cultivar does well-being grown at various elevations. However, elevation tends to be correlated with how milky and creamy its flavor is. The higher it is grown, the less these particular characteristics show themselves. That being said, you can still have a wonderful high mountain Jin Xuan oolong.
With an abundant amount of Jin Xuan Oolongs on the market, it can be difficult to find a good one. So, let's talk about some common misconceptions this tea is steeped in. One of those misconceptions has to do with it being called, "Milk Tea". Tea purveyors will tell people who their particular milk tea is fertilized with yaks milk or it is steamed with milk during production.
Let's talk about why this is inaccurate. First, milk has become a popular staple in Chinese diet, as of the early 2000's. It was first introduced by the British when they opened up port in Hong Kong. So, even though China has drunk milk for a little while, there wasn't enough to actually use for tea production. Even now that China has stepped up and has become one of the leading countries in Dairy farming; it would mean every tea farm producing milk oolong would have to have their own dairy farm to have enough milk for their tea production. That means we wouldn't just be paying for the labor that went into the tea production. We would also be paying for the labor that went into producing the milk, the space taken by the cows, and the labor that went into keeping the cows alive. The price of Jin Xuan oolong would be extremely high.
Why can't the tea be steamed with milk? Surely, it would take less milk to steam a batch of leaves in production. Well, the answer is, oolongs aren't steamed. The drying process that kills off the oxidase is