JinXuan Milk Tea

Jin Xuan is a tea varietal developed in Taiwan in the 1980s. Also known as Taiwan #12, Jin Xuan tea has light-green, oval-shaped leaves, and is resistant to a wide variety of diseases and pests while producing a greater yield than other varietals.

Jin Xuen Tea Leaf
The Jin Xuan tea varietal has pronounced serrated edges.

Jin Xuan has a fragrant, smooth taste profile which is suitable for both Bao Zhong and Oolong teas. When processed as oolong tea, a light roasting gives Jin Xuan a creamy quality that is known as Nai Xiang – milk fragrance.

This natural milk flavor is quite subtle, so some processors add flavoring to the tea leaves to increase the milk flavor.

Flavored Tea?

Edible flavoring is sometimes added to Jin Xuan tea to accentuate the milk flavor. This is most often done with lesser-quality, low altitude tea. Flavored tea can be quite pleasant, and some people prefer it over the un-flavored Jin Xuan, which can be quite subtle in terms of the natural milk flavor.

You can usually tell whether a tea has been flavored by the odor of the dry, unbrewed leaves. Flavored Jin Xuan will have a distinct, milky aroma that overpowers the natural aroma of the tea leaves.

Taste Test

If you’d like to do a taste comparison, we carry both flavored and unflavored Jin Xuan tea. We have three unflavored Jin Xuan teas from Ali Shan tea district, and one flavored Jin Xuan from Nantou tea district.

Hong Pei Jin Xuan Roasted Oolong Tea – This is more heavily roasted than our other Jin Xuans, which makes the milk qualities most apparent in the first infusions.

Rui Feng Jin Xuan Oolong Tea – from Alishan. Very nice un-flavored milk oolong.

Tai Xing Jin Xuan Oolong Tea – also from Alishan, also unflavored.

Zhu Shan Jin Xuan Oolong Tea – from Nantou county. This is a flavored milk oolong made from a good grade, hand-picked oolong tea. The milk flavor is more pronounced than the other three teas.

Growing Oolong Tea in Taiwan

This satellite photo of Taiwan shows some of the most important tea growing regions of Taiwan. Click on any name for more information. (Map links may not work on small screens. Links are also listed at the end of this article.)

Tea Map of Taiwan

Hsin Zhu county Wu Ling area Li Shan area Dong Ding Mountain Shan Ling Xi area Alishan area

Taiwan produces the best oolong tea (also spelled wu-long tea or wulong tea) in the world. Its unique growing environment is due to both its geographical position and its mountainous terrain.

Taiwan oolong is grown in many areas of the island, but the best oolong tea is grown in the mountainous areas of central Taiwan. The combination of high elevations in a subtropical climate produces ideal conditions for growing oolong tea.

Oolong tea has been produced in Taiwan for more than 150 years. It was an important export commodity up until the 1980s, when oolong tea production switched to supply a growing demand from the domestic market. Taiwan oolong tea is now grown almost exclusively for tea lovers in Taiwan.

Oolong is the most popular type of tea in Taiwan. The name “oolong” refers to the method of processing the leaves after they have been picked, but in fact, there are a great many varieties of tea plants, each producing an oolong tea with a unique flavor and texture.

Tea Areas of Taiwan

Hsin Zhu
Wu Ling
Li Shan
Dong Ding
Shan Ling Xi
Alishan