Sweet and grassy with soft floral notes leading to a deep verdant finish. Crafted from a rare cultivar renown for it’s succulent, milky texture.
A gaiwan is the ultimate way to enjoy your oolong tea. Used in China since the Ming dynasty (over 900 years ago), gaiwans are unassuming but beautifully functional teapots that can be used to explore tea to its fullest – the following method can be used to make up to six infusions.
Start with 4-6g of oolong tea and pop it in the gaiwan teapot. Boil a kettle to 212°F/100°C, then pour an inch of the water on the leaf for a few seconds, and discard this liquid. This "wash" softens the rolled leaf and allows the water to penetrate.
Fill the gaiwan with the hot water to just below the rim, infuse for 5-10 seconds and strain completely into your cup or a jug. There's no need to reheat the water as you go, because the softened leaves will require lower temperatures to release their flavours - but you will need to extend the time to 10-20 seconds for later steeps. We recommend at least six infusions to allow the leaf to completely open out and reveal all its beauty.
For a more comprehensive guide to using a gaiwan see our full guide here.
Here is a short video demonstrating how to get the most out of your precious oolong leaves with a gaiwan:
Sourced from the rolling mountains of Taitung province, Southern Taiwan. This Oolong is from a rare varietal that is renowned for its unique, creamy softness and milky aromas. It is this characteristic that gives this tea the name Milk Oolong.
"The temperature was up in the 40s and my shirt felt like a fur coat. Wei, the young farmer, tall, bashful and funny, showed me around. I imagine he is funny, although he didn’t speak a single word of English he laughed a good deal. His friend David translated for him. One of the barriers to export for farmers is finding a market and then communicating with that market. Farmers around the world are finding ways, at least this generation is.
Over long afternoons I spent hours on the farm watching the production. Blunt fingered experts bound and unbound the leaves in muslin cloths; twisted them into tight bundles; pressed them between rolling iron plates; untwisted the cloth and released the leaves into drying machines; transferred the leaves to roasters; laid them out to dry; bound them again; rolled them; roasted them; exposed them, in an intricate dance that seemed to have no formal pattern.
The precise semi- oxidisation of the leaf, to reveal its most subtle, nuanced flavours was all done by smell and touch and feel. There was no measurement or timing, instead, the craft was instinctive understanding. Sometimes the tea went into the roasters for 20 seconds, sometimes 2 minutes. Sometimes the tea was laid out for days and sometimes for hours. All this was done by men who spent the spring season making tea and the summer and winter practising other trades: carpentry, engineering, farming on their own plots of land with other crops. The little plots of land are bound together; not just by their overlapping crops, but their skills and the manpower. One month a farmer might be cutting pineapples, the next picking and crafting tea. This was Pharaoh Sander’s playing intricately glorious free Jazz, rather than The Royal Philharmonic orchestra playing from sheet music."
Oolongs lie in a category between green and black teas, occasionally called a blue tea. They are delicately crafted to the point where they reflect these two very different categories of tea and reveal their hidden subtleties.
According to legend, this oolong’s milkiness is the result of a sudden change in temperature during harvest time that occurs very infrequently.
The first time this temperature shift occurred was hundreds of years ago at a time when the moon fell in love with a comet as it was passing through the night sky. The comet passed by and then burned out and disappeared. The moon, in her sorrow, caused a great wind to blow through the valleys and hills, creating a sudden drop in temperature. The following morning, the tea harvesters went out to collect the fresh leaves and when the tea was processed, to their surprise, it had developed a unique milky characteristic, which they attributed to the motherly nature of the moon.