Mi Lan Xiang (Honey Orchid)

Tea type
Oolong Tea
Ingredients
Oolong Tea Leaves
Flavors
Grain, Roasted, Roasted Nuts, Sweet, Wheat, Honey, Metallic, Nutty, Passion Fruit, Rice, Toasty, Wet Rocks, Floral, Mineral, Stonefruit, Blueberry, Fruity, Creamy, Smooth
Sold in
Bulk, Loose Leaf
Caffeine
Not available
Certification
Not available
Edit tea info Last updated by Erik Dabel
Average preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 45 sec 4 g 16 oz / 473 ml

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From Red Blossom Tea Company

Mi Lan Xiang is our most popular Phoenix Oolong. We usually see raised eyebrows from those trying this tea for the first time, followed with that inevitable question, is this tea flavored? It’s not, but the tea alone is remarkably flavorful. It is also a very serious tea, descended from a long line of Phoenix Shui Xian tea trees all bearing the unique honeyed aroma and flavor.

In English, Mi Lan Xiang means “Honey Orchid Fragrance.” This tea was gathered in April 2012 from an old grove sitting 950+ meters above sea level on Wudong Mountain in the Phoenix Mountain Range.

Mi Lan Xiang is crafted in the “Nong Xiang” style, where the leaves are oxidized to at least 30% then given repeat roasts until the honey-like aroma and flavor is brought forth. The resulting tea is sweet, with a subtle floral character not unlike lavender or orange blossom honey.

About Red Blossom Tea Company View company

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10 Tasting Notes

92
15 tasting notes

This tea review is inspired by Bonnie and her unique style!

I have some big decisions to make soon and my mind has been racing all of yesterday and today. I needed something to clear my head. A hike? Some tea? Why not both! I packed up my Jetboil camp stove, my most durable yixing pot, a cup, a tiny vase, and some Mi Lan Xiang Dan Cong from Red Blossom. I found a spot near the bank of the Cache La Poudre river and created a tea space with rocks and logs and a cloth I brought with me. In the vase, I placed the first signs of spring—some willow branches close to bud-burst. The first steeping was intense, probably brewed a little too long, but full of flavor! Sweet plumy flavors and floral aromas were balanced by a slight astringency. Subsequent infusions lead to less complexity, but a more harmonious flavor. The slight astringency was replaced by a smooth and full-bodied mouthfeel and the floral aromas mellowed into a more honey-like taste. At the same time, my mind slowed along with the tea. Disparate and racing thoughts disappeared and were replaced by a calmness. I was finally able to be solidly in the present for the first time in a long while.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 45 sec
Bonnie

This has made me happier than you can imagine my friend.

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83
417 tasting notes

This tea was sent to me as a sample. Very nice!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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63
3 tasting notes

I don’t care for this tea. It does not taste like honey to me. Happy to trade the 4 oz. Unopened bag I have for something else.

Preparation
4 tsp 4 OZ / 118 ML
PamelaOry

I prepared this tea again, hoping to like it better. It does better with a rinse than without even though Red Blossom says their teas don’t need to be rinsed. It is still sharp and more astringent than I care for.

LuckyMe

Dan congs can be difficult to brew. You need to dial in the correct leaf/water ratio, temperature, and steep time. What are your steeping parameters?

PamelaOry

Hello Luckyme! Thanks for your comment and question. I’ve prepared it two different ways now. First, using about 4g of tea to about 4 oz. Water at 210f for 30 seconds, gong fu style. Several infusions and still can’t shake the sharpness. Then I tried to make it into a cold brew. I was sure that would mellow it but it still tastes bitter to me.

eastkyteaguy

I guess I’ll jump in here real quick. First, LuckyMe is absolutely correct in stating that successfully brewing dancong oolongs depends on dialing in the leaf/water ratio, temperature, and steep times. They are notoriously difficult to dial in when brewing, and unlike many other teas, they are very finnicky and unforgiving. They tend to have a natural sharpness and intensity that can be overwhelming for those unfamiliar with them. One of the best known traditional brewing methods is to absolutely pack a brewing vessel with tea leaves and then start off with short infusions after a quick rinse to draw out those qualities at the beginning. I suppose the idea is that once one gets past the initial roughness, it is easier to appreciate the subtleties that such teas offer for the remainder of the brewing session. After initially struggling greatly with brewing dancong, I have somewhat standardized my brewing practices over time and now employ slight variations on what is the more or less one-size-fits-all approach that works with most teas for me. I know this may sound somewhat counterintuitive, but if I were you, I would consider increasing the amount of loose tea leaves you are using by roughly one or two grams while also lowering the water temperature by at least seven degrees. When I brew dancong oolongs, I usually go with about 6g of loose leaves in a 4fl gaiwan or teapot and keep my water temperature right at 203F. Definitely rinse the leaves prior to brewing. Give them a solid 10 second rinse. Also consider starting with shorter infusions. I usually start at about 5-7 seconds but have gone up to at least 10 in the past. If this approach does not yield desirable results, start adapting it. Consider reducing the amount of leaves you have been using by at least a gram (so, like 3g), reducing the water temperature (I have gotten good results out of brewing dancong around 194-195F), giving the rinse an extra second or two, and further adjusting steep times. The type of brewing vessel you use can also make a big difference. Even though dancong oolongs are temperamental and an acquired taste, they are well worth the time and effort it takes to develop an appreciation for them.

LuckyMe

There’s not much else I can add to eastkyteaguy’s excellent response. His recommendations jive with my own experience (and challenges) brewing dan congs.

I use a similar leaf to water ratio as you – 1g per oz of water – but far shorter steep times. I start with a 5s rinse, followed by a 6s initial steep, and increase subsequent steeps by 4s. IMO, 30s is too long. With a such a high leaf to water ratio, you need to keep the infusions short to minimize bitterness.

Good luck and let us know how it goes!

PamelaOry

Thank you both so much! This gives me hope that I can redeem this tea. I will continue to adjust the variables and try again. I’m fascinated that actually using more leaves might help. It makes perfect sense that 30 seconds is too long. I was blindly following the sellers instruction without thinking. I am excited to try again with this tea.

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78
28 tasting notes

I didn’t think much of this tea the first time I had it; I likely was expecting something much different with a name like “Honey Orchid” and let that color my impressions.

I didn’t take full notes on this session, but I especially was taken aback by the amazing roasty notes immediately coming off of the first steep, before I even closed my gaiwan. It almost smelled like nuts baking, their skins just beginning to turn dark brown and almost char.

The first two steeps were my favorite, with subsequent steeps fairly quickly dissipating into sticks and wood. But those first two steeps were full of bran flakes — like sitting with a bowl of cereal and experiencing the sweetness that creeps in as you chew each bite and release the natural sugars. I don’t get honey, but this robust bran flavor didn’t need it. Really lovely.

Flavors: Grain, Roasted, Roasted Nuts, Sweet, Wheat

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88
2004 tasting notes

So it turns out that I had another of the Red Blossom Phoenix oolongs in my collection. Cool.

In the packet it has a sharp, dark oolong smell that has some roasty-toasty elements but also a metallic/rock one.

Gaiwan. Rinse. 195F, 15 seconds plus five for each subsequent steep.

It’s an apricot color and clear, and definitely has honey notes in the aroma and flavor. I also get something that’s a little like rice? On the first couple of steeps I don’t get anything particularly floral, but there is something fruity. When I first saw someone else’s note about passion fruit I was skeptical, but it actually could be that!

Also, there are hints of something nutty in the later steeps.

It’s a very interesting and complex little tea. I can imagine it being the sort of thing you can taste differences in depending upon when you drink it, whether you’ve had other teas or food earlier in the day, and other factors.

Rating it the same as the almond version. It is different — more subtle, more complex — but I like them about the same.

Flavors: Honey, Metallic, Nutty, Passion Fruit, Rice, Roasted, Toasty, Wet Rocks

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C

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90
39 tasting notes

The scent and flavor are unmistakably that of passion fruit. Delicious. There’s also a subtle sweetness, though I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s clearly honey-like.

Flavors: Passion Fruit, Sweet

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 0 sec 4 g 6 OZ / 180 ML

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80

For a key to my rating scale, check out my bio.

It would be difficult to find a more aromatic tea. Mi Lan Xiang (or Honey Orchid) indeed possesses notes of honey. However, this is only one aspect of a flavor profile that includes floral notes, winter fruit, and the dry, mineral or metallic flavor distinct to Phoenix oolong tea.

Flavors: Floral, Honey, Metallic, Mineral, Stonefruit

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 45 sec 4 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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88
240 tasting notes

I thought we had lost this one, but we found it on a random shelf hidden amongst a pile of Jell-O. You read that correct.

Anyway, it had been a while, so last night I brewed some of this sweet little number up for two. My oh my it is a good one!

The Red Blossom website gives you two different methods to brew this, one for a light, sweet taste, and a more traditional method for a bigger, bolder taste. I voted for the bigger and bolder. The girlfriend voted for light and sweet. The vote was 1 to 1. I lost.

So, the light and sweet version is simply not too long on the steeping timer and not quite as much leaves. I used about 2 tablespoons of leaves in her 2 cup infuser and steeped for about 1 minute. (3+ tablespoons and 2 minutes of steeping time for the bigger and bolder version)

The color was lighter than I remember, and lighter than I am used to for an Oolong, but then again it is a Phoenix Oolong, so, maybe there you go. or not. I’m not really a master on the Phoenix Oolong. It was a nice reddish brown, rather clear color.

The smell was beautiful. Nice and light, sweet, with a hint of honey and almost an orange feel. It really is full of flavor.

I’m really curious as to what the more traditional brew is like. Next time I hope I win the vote!

-E

Flavors: Floral, Honey, Sweet

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 0 sec 6 tsp 24 OZ / 709 ML

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