Santikhiri Blue Pearls Oolong is a ‘Milk Oolong’ tea that is produced from a Jin Xuan cultivar that develops natural milky or creamy flavours. This is a real Milk Oolong made from a cultivar that develops the flavours naturally – there was no milk scenting or any kind of artificial or natural flavouring done to this tea. This oolong comes from around Santikhiri village (formerly Mae Salong) that is located in Mae Fa Luang District and around the highlands of Doi Mae Salong mountain, close to the border with Burma and Laos. Santikhiri Blue Pearls Oolong tea is grown at an altitude of around 1,200-1,600 metres and was plucked in August 2016.
When this area of Thailand went from growing opium poppies to sustainable tea growing, many tea cultivars were imported from Taiwan in order to quickly establish a booming tea industry. Taiwanese cultivars were particularly attractive since they matched well the growing conditions of northern Thailand. Furthermore many consider Taiwanese teas to be of fantastic quality hence fetching a premium price, something Thai tea growers were understandably attracted to. It is safe to say that while teas grown in Thailand still have some way to go in matching the top tier Taiwanese teas, the offerings from Thailand are certainly of very solid quality and generally are at an attractive price point for consumers.
This oolong is made from the Taiwanese Jin Xuan Golden Daylily (金萱) TRES #12 cultivar. This cultivar is used in making Milk Oolong and is famous for its creamy and milky aroma, mouthfeel and taste. This tea makes an interesting comparison to a classic Milk Oolong from Taiwan. Both teas exhibit the milky and creamy characteristics as advertised. The Taiwanese version is a little more floral, less baked while this Thai counterpart is a little more baked with milky and creamy flavours not being so pronounced. For those who are unsure of whether Milk Oolong in general is something that they will like, this Thai Santikhiri Blue Pearls Oolong is a good option as the milky flavours are toned down somewhat.
Santikhiri Blue Pearls Oolong tea comes in tightly rolled large leaves that resemble pearls, and being an oolong (a ‘blue’ tea) the Blue Pearls name seems quite apt. It produces a light golden liquor with a creamy aroma, mouthfeel and taste. Flavoursome balanced notes have a creamy, nutty, lightly baked edge with floral hints. Overall this oolong is somewhat light on the ‘milky’ or ‘creamy’ aspect. Instead, the flavours are more on the baked side, wholesome and very balanced. If you would like to try a tea with a more pronounced milky and creamy aspect, please consider trying our award-winning Organic Milk Oolong.
We suggest brewing at 90°C for 3-5 minutes according to your taste. It can be brewed more than 3 times.