Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Meghma Nepalese Oolong

Another impressive tasting sample from the good folks at T Ching.

What they have to say about it:

"This is a very unique, fresh 2007 spring flush oolong from Nepal. It is a semi-fermented tea, producing a pale liquor with a deliciously refreshing honey flavor. It is cultivated in the highlands of the Himalayas at an elevation above 7000 ft, in a pristine natural environment free from roads, pollution and pesticides. The Meghma Oolong Tea Project began as an effort to improve the poor living conditions of the local people in Meghma, Nepal by helping them to re-discover the ancient art of manufacturing Asian Oolong tea. This tea is manufactured by hand as an artisan tea. Organic Certified"

For repeating the experiment:

Water: brita max filtered Scottish tap water

Temperature: 2/3mins off the boil to start with, not reducing too much as my kettle is vacuum sealed on the walls.

Vessel: +/- 100ml gaiwan into a faircup.

Leaf: Around 1/2 of the gaiwan

Timing: straight in and out for the first 5 brews then moving up to over a minute around the tenth.

My knowledge of Indian tea is sparse. On smelling the tea I figured it was akin to a first flush Darjeeling and not a very exciting one at that.

The first taste of the first brew throttled that opinion. Yes this did taste like Darjeeling to me, but Darjeeling with so much more. The complexity was something I've not had in Indian tea before, admittedly I may not have been drinking the best pedigrees, the tastes were combining Darjeeling with something akin to dancong whilst adding a healthy dose of fudge tasting honey goodness. I brewed this for the first time with 3 other guests, only one with a tea addiction, everyone thoroughly enjoyed the tea 'till the non-bitter end.

The wet leaf was also far more beautiful, full and supple than the dry leave conveyed. This tea provided the largest gap I've encountered between my expectations from the dry leaf to what ended up in my cup.

I'm struggling to decide if this tea is truly great or if I'm simply infatuated with something new and shiny. I suppose only time will tell.

I don't see this tea as replacing any of my current beverages but it's good enough to warrant spending even more of my earnings on tea because I know I will want to experience it again in the future.

Oh, and for further reading see the TChing tasting notes

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