King Ginseng Oolong (王人參烏龍茶) is a high grade oolong tea grown on Zhu Shan (Bamboo Mountain) Nantou County, Taiwan. The tea leaves selected here are from a Jin Xuan (金萱) cultivar that is often known as Milk Oolong due to the creamy and slightly milky taste and mouthfeel of this tea. This oolong is somewhat different to a straight Milk Oolong as it has been blended by the tea master with just a touch of ginseng to give it an extra dimension. This particular lot was harvested in November 2022 and baked in September 2023.
The reason we selected this particular King Ginseng Oolong tea for our shop would be apparent to anyone who has ever tried other pellet style ginseng oolongs before. Normally they consist of lower grade leaves that have been covered in a case of green ginseng powder. These normally come from China and they produce quite a strong tea that has an extremely sour taste, which can often be quite unpleasant and overwhelming. When you try our King Ginseng Oolong, you will not find any of those unattractive characteristics. Instead you will get a wonderfully fragrant cup that has a lovely floral taste. This is the result of the tea master carefully blending together high quality oolong leaves with only a small amount of high grade ginseng, just enough for the tea to acquire its special character.
There are generally two types of Ginseng Oolong available to purchase, one Chinese style and one Taiwanese style. Chinese style Ginseng Oolong has rolled leaves that are completely encased in powder, making it almost impossible for the leaves to fully open. This mostly results in an unpleasant and unbalanced brew. They often contain other, often artificial, ingredients to bind the powder and to introduce sweetness. By comparison, Taiwanese Ginseng Oolong is made by introducing Ginseng powder during the rolling process, so it is incorporated into the rolled leaf. This particular Ginseng Oolong has another secret ingredient, which is powdered leaf of Xiang Si Teng (相思藤), also known as Abrus Vine. This herb introduces a unique floral aroma as well as pleasant natural sweetness to counteract the sourness of ginseng. Both powdered herbs are incorporated during the rolling process, which means the leaves can open fully in order to produce balanced flavours over a number of infusions.
The leaves of this King Ginseng Oolong tea are very tightly rolled and are dark green in colour. The dry leaves have quite a strong but pleasant fragrance of osmanthus and violets. The liquor produced is light in colour and still has that lovely fragrance of the dry leaves. The taste is very smooth, very floral, tasting of creamy sweet violets with a slightly tart, sweet and spicy ginseng edge on the finish. A very nice tea to keep you going at work after your lunch break!
It is best brewed at 90°C for 3-4 minutes according to your taste and can be brewed multiple times, increasing steeping time with each next brew if desired.