Thursday, 25 October 2007

Castelton Snow Bud

White Tea - 2nd Flush 2007, Darjeeling

This was part of a sample pack from Lochan Tea Limited. I was first enchanted by their teas when participating in a TChing tasting event which included a Meghma Nepalese Oolong. As I realised I couldn't eek out the tasting sample for much longer I went in search of Lochan Tea with little idea what to order, as my knowledge of Indian tea is sparse to say the least.
To my delight they are running an offer of 11 samples for only $25.

I have so far opened three of the samples: one red/black* tea, one oolong and one white. The white tea is the Castelton Snow Bud, this is the sample which is vanishing fastest and has thus made it into the blog first.

As dry leaf it is very good looking, a little reminiscent of bi lo chun. I was about to inform readers of the light covering of hair on the leaf until I recalled the beautiful post by Mary R here - the leaves now have wonderful jacket of trichomes.

The aroma and taste immediately scream Darjeeling, this is something I may have to work around when reviewing Lochan teas - I don't want to look back and discover all the teas I sampled from Lochan tasted 'like Darjeeling' or 'obviously Indian' in my notes.

From the first cup to the last this tea is a pleasure to drink. It is not anything to shout about but rather something to quietly enjoy while I try to convince myself I'm calm, as I wait on call to find out if I've thrown enough cash at the estate agent to secure my potential new house.

The liquor is much deeper, richer and vibrant amber than I'm used to from white tea. The pic of the teacup shows a much later infusion, around 7 or 8, but it is still showing the darker colour. I'm greatly enjoying being able to appreciate the qualities of Indian tea without having to resort to black/red* tea, which is something I tend to enjoy obsessively for a few days every month or so.

The snow bud is not as smooth as many Chinese whites which can feel almost silky smooth at times. Brewing is also something to be carefully watched - I've had to throw away some of my
attempts due to carelessness with time/temp.

All in all a very nice tea. I can't say if it is worth the money as it is not listed for sale on the Lochan site currently. As far as the price for the samples is concerned I couldn't be happier and I get to look forward to many more Indian teas over the coming weeks/months. Hopefully they will all get at least a mention on here and I'll be much happier knowing how much more nice tea there is in the world than I previously thought.

Thanks to all those at Lochan Teas.

* the pedant in me is in trouble here. Are fully oxidised teas from India black or red? The implications for my labeling system could be severe.