This was another of my sipdowns from either March or April. I’m pretty sure I finished this tea around the start of March, but as with just about everything else these days, I can’t be sure. I know I have polished off a rather significant number of Nepalese teas in the past four months (at least four or five). All have struck me as great offerings, and this one was certainly no exception.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After rinsing, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 16 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, and 7 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of malt, straw, pine, chocolate, rose, and apple. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of roasted peanut and violet as well as a subtle scent of smoke and a much stronger rose aroma. The first infusion introduced aromas of plum, pear, roasted almond, orange zest, and black cherry. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of malt, straw, pine, apple, rose, roasted peanut, and black cherry that were balanced by subtler flavors of roasted almond, pear, plum, smoke, violet, butter, and orange zest. The majority of the subsequent infusions coaxed out aromas of grass, green bell pepper, blackberry, baked bread, butter, earth, dandelion greens, and spinach. Stronger and more immediately evident notes of roasted almond, violet, butter, pear, and orange zest came out in the mouth along with impressions of minerals, earth, baked bread, cream, grass, tobacco, chocolate, blackberry, dandelion greens, spinach, and green bell pepper. There were also hints of caramel in places, and there were some rather interesting hints of lychee, apricot, and tobacco that lingered at the back of my throat after each swallow. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized notes of minerals, grass, dandelion greens, earth, malt, green bell pepper, roasted peanut, and roasted almond that were underscored by hints of butter, cream, orange zest, pine, spinach, caramel, apple, pear, and black cherry.
This was an extremely enjoyable and truly fascinating tea. In a lot of ways, it reminded me more of a second flush Nepalese or Darjeeling black tea than many of the oolongs produced in that part of the world. It was also a very heavy tea in that the tea liquor had a ton of weight and texture in the mouth and both the aromas and flavors were very rich and vibrant, almost explosive in many places. It was a tea that absolutely demanded to be taken seriously. That being said, it could also be a bit tiring and it did start to fade a little earlier than I expected. Still, this was a great tea and one that I would highly recommend to anyone interested in Nepalese teas.
Flavors: Almond, Apple, Apricot, Blackberry, Bread, Butter, Caramel, Cherry, Chocolate, Cream, Earth, Grass, Green Bell Peppers, Lychee, Malt, Mineral, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pear, Pine, Plum, Rose, Smoke, Spinach, Straw, Tobacco, Vegetal, Violet