Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Again, Silk Oolong Formosa



The last time I wrote about the silk oolong formosa I picked up at Red Blossom, I marveled at its milky quality despite the absence of actual milk. I was wrong. Vegans beware, this tea is not for you.

Some s.o.f. actually does contain dairy. Apparently a "milk oolong" can fall into one of two camps. The milk flavor can occur naturally, from a combination of the variety of tea, climate and conditions, or it can be literally infused with milk. Like from a cow, which is what gives Red Blossom's version its warm, caramel aroma and flavor.

I can't tell if that makes me like this tea more or less. It reminds me of my dad's search for the perfect stereo equipment. When surround sound debuted, he saw it as cheating, and wanted a pair of traditional speakers made so well that they could achieve a similar effect. He wanted naturally milk scented sound.

My hunch is that the milk-infused variety has taken the place of the more rare (and expensive) original, in much the same way that "liquid smoke"-infused lapsang souchong has largely replaced tea that has actually been cured over a fire.

Using milk instead of a balletic synthesis of natural elements does seem like cheating, and it is, but if it produces a better result that more people can enjoy, then why not? Because it also threatens a time honored tradition and the livelihood of those who practice it.

But do I enjoy my silky, milky tea? God, yes.

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10 comments:

Anonymous said...

I would be concerned about storage of milk (even dried) vs storage of tea. Do all parts of the food chain follow diary standards?

In light of recent diary scandals I would also be wary of milk products from China (assuming this is where your tea is from).

I would choose high quality tea and add my own milk. Tea is still relatively inexpensive.

The traditions and farmer efforts to produce good tea deserve support.
EJ

Anonymous said...

If it is actually infused with milk (likely it is not), it wouldn't be an issue since the tea would undergo roasting after the "milk infusion." And, that's the only time milk should touch this tea, as milk and oolong are not like chocolate and peanut butter. No?

Also, it's not from China, it's Taiwanese.

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