Milk Oolong: 4 Recipes to Try | PIQUE (2024)

Craving a rich, healthy cup of tea? An oolong milk tea might be right up your alley.

Oddly enough, there’s actually no dairy in milk oolong tea! The name comes from its famously smooth, milky taste.

Oolong is a high mountain tea sought after for its unique flavor. In fact, the flavor is so distinct that it’s often replicated using artificial ingredients. (Yikes!)

So how do you know if you’re drinking a true milk oolong? Here’s what makes this type of tea so special and how you can brew it at home:

What is oolong milk tea?

Milk oolong tea is a Taiwanese tea known for its creamy flavor. The quality of this type of tea depends on the elevation it’s grown at — the higher the elevation, the more the aroma and flavor develop.

While “milk oolong” is a fitting description, it’s a generic term and doesn’t necessarily specify the origin of the tea. If having high elevation tea from Taiwan is important to you, you’ll want to know the name of the mountain and the elevation at which the tea was grown.

Milk oolong is special for its growing conditions and its processing. Tea farmers pick the oolong tea leaves by hand, and the leaves are allowed to wither before the oxidation process begins. Then, they gently bruise the tea leaves, allowing enzymes in the leaves to react with the air. This oxidation process darkens the leaves and helps develop the milky flavor the tea is famous for.

Although many types of tea could be sold as milk oolong, the Jin Xuan variety is what most consider to be the standard milk oolong tea. (Jin Xuan translates to Golden Daylily and can also be called #12.) When grown at high elevation, this variety creates a distinctly rich brew.

Milk Oolong: 4 Recipes to Try | PIQUE (1)

What does oolong milk tea taste like?

Oolong tea flavor is bold but not overpowering. The flavor profile falls somewhere between green tea and black tea because of the oxidation process. (Green teas don’t go through any oxidation process while black teas go through full oxidation. Oolong teas land somewhere in the middle: partial oxidation.)

A tea that’s between eight and 85% oxidized is considered an oolong.

And oolong teas need constant supervision during the oxidation process. Oxidizing the tea leaves for too long or too short will change the flavor and could potentially ruin the batch. During the oxidation process, the tea leaves are tossed, rolled and compressed at a specific temperature and humidity.

A good batch of oolong milk tea will taste anywhere from creamy, buttery and sweet to nutty and rich depending on the length of oxidation and the roast (more on that later).

It’s a luxurious, enjoyable tea!

Does Oolong milk tea have caffeine?

Oolong milk tea does contain caffeine, and similar to the partial oxidation, the amount lands between green tea and black tea.

On average, an eight-ounce serving of oolong milk tea has about 37 to 55 milligrams of caffeine. (1) For comparison, an eight-ounce serving of coffee contains about 70 to 130 milligrams of caffeine.

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What are the benefits of oolong tea?

Along with being absolutely delicious, oolong tea is good for you, too.

Oolong tea contains antioxidants such as theaflavins, thearubigins and EGCG; vitamins like magnesium and potassium; and the amino acid theanine, which can have a relaxing effect for some people.(2)

Consuming oolong tea can support healthy cholesterol levels. (3) It can also help support a healthy heart and healthy blood sugar levels. (4, 5)

How do you make oolong tea with milk?

Convinced you’d like to try making your own oolong tea? There are many ways to prepare oolong milk tea, and it all starts with steeping high-quality tea leaves.

Note: You can get oolong tea in tea bags and loose-leaf, but loose-leaf tea tends to give the best flavor. If you do use tea bags, try to buy spacious pyramid-shaped bags — large enough so the rolled leaves have room to fully expand.

Steeping instructions

    1. Bring a few cups of water to a boil.
    2. Pour the boiling water over the oolong tea leaves.
    3. Steep the leaves for 1 to 3 minutes. (The longer the steeping time, the stronger the flavor.)
    4. Strain the tea leaves.

(If you think you’ll want to brew another batch, save the tea leaves. Many oolongs are good for more than one steep.)

Oolong milk tea recipes

Once you have your oolong tea brewed, just add your favorite non-dairy milk to taste. (We recommend starting with a splash of almond or cashew milk.) You can also add honey, agave, brown sugar or other sweetener as desired.

You can also enjoy oolong iced tea with milk. Follow the same instructions as above and then pour over ice.

Spiced oolong tea with milk

Want to add a little more flavor to this creamy drink? Make your oolong tea and then add:

    1. Around ¼ cup of almond milk
    2. 1 tsp vanilla extract
    3. ½ – 1 tsp honey
    4. ½ cinnamon

Or, add in your favorite chai spices. Again, you can make this one iced.

Roasted oolong milk tea

Oolong falls into three general categories: jade, medium or heavily roasted. If you want a more robust milk oolong tea, look for a heavy roast oolong. These oolongs can be almost as dark as coffee and can have chocolate, nutty and caramel notes.

Roasted oolong teas pair excellently with milks. You can typically use more heavily roasted oolong tea leaves for multiple steepings.

Oolong bubble tea

Oolong milk tea is also popular for bubble tea. Just add a few spoonfuls of your favorite boba pearls or try your hand at making homemade tapioca pearls for a fun treat. Add chia for even more texture.

Milk Oolong: 4 Recipes to Try | PIQUE (3)

Picking out a “true” oolong

As mentioned earlier, milk oolong tea is often replicated using added or artificial ingredients. When you’re picking out oolong tea, take a close look at the ingredients. There shouldn’t be any added flavoring to the tea leaves.

Final Thoughts

Milk oolong tea will likely become one of your favorites. With its rich, creamy taste, milk oolong tea is a comforting drink. It’s good for you and pairs well with just about any creamer and many spices — a win for your health and your tastebuds.


Milk Oolong: 4 Recipes to Try | PIQUE (4)

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How do you make oolong milk tea?


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Milk Oolong: 4 Recipes to Try | PIQUE (2024)


What is oolong milk tea good for? ›

In addition to the therapeutic properties, milk oolong tea also brings other benefits to the body - it elevates the mood and helps to overcome depression. It activates brain activity, invigorates, removes fatigue and restores strength.

What is the difference between oolong tea and milk oolong tea? ›

Oolong tea comes from the camellia sinensis plant, which falls in between green and black tea in oxidation and may display characteristics of both. Milk oolong is typically lightly oxidized and roasted, which helps retain the delicate floral aroma and creamy flavor.

What goes well with oolong milk tea? ›

6 Best Foods To Pair With Oolong Tea
  • Cherries.
  • Berry varieties such as strawberries, blueberries, and others.
  • Citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruits, and lemons.
  • Apples.
  • Plums.
  • Mangoes.
  • Peaches.
  • Apricots.
Jul 22, 2022

Can you mix oolong with milk? ›

How Do You Brew Oolong Tea? Add one teaspoon (2g) of loose leaf tea per cup and use freshly drawn and boiled water, left for a minute or two to cool to around 90°C. Brew for 3 minutes. We wouldn't recommend adding milk to oolong as it can spoil the complex delicate flavours of the tea.

Does oolong tea help with belly fat? ›

Another study published in the Journal of Medical Investigation found that drinking oolong tea for 12 weeks led to a significant reduction in body fat percentage and abdominal fat in overweight and obese Japanese women.

Does oolong tea burn belly fat? ›

Several studies have shown that oolong tea could help enhance weight loss by improving fat burning and speeding up metabolism. In one older study, 102 people with overweight or obesity drank oolong tea every day for 6 weeks, which may have helped reduce both their body weight and body fat.

Is oolong tea better for weight loss than green tea? ›

In the battle of Oolong tea vs. Green tea for weight loss, the two share the victory spot; but when it comes to Green tea vs. Oolong tea antioxidants' presence, Oolong tea wins the round as it contains more antioxidants than Green tea. Drinking just one cup of Oolong tea daily can accelerate the weight loss process.

Which is healthier black tea or oolong tea? ›

All teas contain high levels of antioxidants that offer a range of health benefits. However, research shows that the nutrients in oolong tea have stronger antioxidant and antimutagenic effects than green or black varieties. Research shows that the polyphenols in oolong tea lower blood sugar levels.

Which is stronger oolong or green tea? ›

According to numerous reliable sources, from the USDA to medical websites to the National Institute of Health, oolong tea's caffeine content is slightly greater than that of green tea, and both contain less caffeine than coffee. However, the caffeine content can vary enormously.

What can I sweeten oolong tea with? ›

Oolong tea leaves may be refreshed again for a delicious second brew. Simply add more water, and allow an additional minute for infusion. It is widely believed that the second brew produces the best flavor. Oolong tea is served without milk or sugar, but honey may be added as a sweetener.

Does honey taste good in oolong tea? ›

Combining the delightful flavors of oolong tea with the natural sweetness of honey creates a harmonious blend that not only satisfies the taste buds but also provides a multitude of wellness advantages.

What fruit goes well with oolong tea? ›

A lighter, greener oolong might pair well with melon, citrus fruits or bright florals, while a darker roasted oolong might lend itself more to the luxurious textures of vanilla, dark berries, or fall fruits.

What is the name of milk oolong tea? ›

Jin Xuan (Chinese: 金萱; pinyin: jīn xuān; lit. 'Golden Daylily'; pronounced [tɕín. ɕɥɛ́n]) is a variety of oolong tea developed in 1980. The tea is also known as #12 or as "Milk Oolong" (Nai Xiang).

Is it better to drink oolong tea in the morning or at night? ›

Drinking oolong tea in the morning is a great way to start your day. Oolong tea contains caffeine, which can help you feel more alert and focused. Additionally, drinking oolong tea in the morning can help boost your metabolism, which can aid in weight loss.

Do you put sugar in oolong tea? ›

In fact, oolong tea is usually served without any added milk or sugar.

Is oolong tea good for milk tea? ›

Oolong milk tea is simple, delicious and healthy. Similar to black and green teas, oolong tea contains several vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

What is the best time to drink oolong tea? ›

Drinking oolong tea in the morning is a great way to start your day. Oolong tea contains caffeine, which can help you feel more alert and focused. Additionally, drinking oolong tea in the morning can help boost your metabolism, which can aid in weight loss.

Does oolong milk tea have a lot of caffeine? ›

For example, there is roughly 40-50 mg of caffeine in black tea, 20-30 mg in green tea, and 20-35g in oolong tea.

Is it OK to drink oolong tea before bed? ›

While oolong tea isn't caffeine-free, this beautiful brew can naturally enhance sleep. L-theanine is an amino acid associated with rest and relaxation as it stimulates alpha waves in your brain which helps the body to settle into a more restful state and also reduces stress levels.

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