In a recent post I wrote about the fantastic impression a free sample I received made upon me – I was so taken with the tea that I ordered a full sized batch of those leaves as soon as I was able to do so.
When putting together that new order I also decided to treat myself to some of House of Tea‘s Top Grade Tie Guan Yin, and they were kind enough to include the subject of today’s post in the form of another free 3 gram sample.
The arrival of this particular tea on my tea table was a bit of a curious coincidence. At one point I had been very close to ordering these leaves instead of the Tie Guan Yin.
The raw material hails from Dhankuta in the Nepalese mountains, just over the border from Darjeeling in India. The hand-plucked leaves were grown at an altitude of over 1000 metres. If the producers are following a plucking schedule similar to that of Darjeeling, then “second flush” should refer to a pluck somewhere between June and mid-August.
Opting to keep things nice and simple, I went along with House of Tea’s brewing suggestions…
|Weight of dry leaf:||3 grams|
|Steeping vessel:||200 ml ceramic teapot|
|No. & duration:||2 infusions @ 1½ minutes, followed by a third @ 2 minutes for a total of 3 infusions|
As you might have expected, you had the sweet floral qualities of a Darjeeling, but backed up with the kind of “oomph” typical of second flush teas from the region, as opposed to the more delicate nature of first flush teas. This was most noticeable in a beefier, thicker body.
On first sip the liquor showed a pleasantly milky consistency, and that lingered on as a slightly sticky coating to the lips and, somewhat peculiarly, the tongue and the inside of the mouth.
Over the three infusions there was very little to no bitterness whatsoever in the liquor.
This tea really gets the questions flowing. It would be fascinating to learn more about it – is it of a similar cultivar to any teas produced just over the border in India, for example? Are there any variations between it’s terroir and that of Darjeeling? What about processing – what are the producers of this tea doing the same as their more famous neighbours, and what are they doing differently?
I think that’s the real appeal of this tea. It’s genuinely fascinating to compare and contrast similar teas produced either side of a border, such as teas from Yunnan and their equivalents from Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam.
It seems as though I was fated to encounter this tea one way or another, sooner or later, and I’m certainly glad I did. Good stuff.