Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: The Tao of Tea
From a small tea garden and farmer cooperative in the Dhankuta district of the eastern Himalayan region of Nepal. The co-op actively encourages small farmers to not only grow tea, but to bring bio-diversity into their land.
This leaf represents a new tradition and style of making tea in Nepal. The leaves are hand-rolled instead of large conventional mechanical rollers, then carefully roasted over low heat.
Learn more about this tea here.
I’m revisiting this Nepali Oolong from The Tao of Tea because when I reviewed the tea, it was one of my favorite Oolong teas that I had tried up to that point and I’ve tried a lot of teas since then. Because my experience with the Napali Oolong was so memorable, I wanted to revisit it to find out if I still enjoyed it as much as I remember. I wanted to find out if it still deserves that place in my heart as one of my favorite Oolong teas.
In addition, since the time of writing that original review, I have come to learn the joy of brewing in a gaiwan and what a difference it makes when it comes to steeping an Oolong tea. Armed with that knowledge, I measured out a bamboo scoop of the tea leaves into my gaiwan, administered a 15 second rinse, and then steeped the tea for 1 minute at 180°F. I resteeped the leaves, adding 15 seconds onto the second infusion, and then I combined both infusions into one cup.
My first cup (infusions 1 & 2) is sweet and abundant with buttery flavor and there’s a buttery texture to go along with it. I’m tasting strong fruit notes -a note of peach that’s so delectable! This cup is smooth with very little astringency and no bitterness. The fruit notes provide quite a bit of the sweetness but I’m also tasting a honey note and sweet floral notes. It’s has a buttery taste and texture to it too.
So, very much like what my review suggests, although I think I’m tasting more fruit now than I did in my first infusion back then. I’m also tasting the honey flavors that I didn’t notice or recognize back then.
With my second cup (infusions 3 & 4), I noticed that the strong buttery presence has diminished somewhat. The texture is lighter and the flavor is a little less buttery – still there, certainly, just lighter. The honey notes are still strong and the peach notes are still just as strong (if not a tad bit stronger!) I’m also picking up on some notes of plum now – like a fully ripened, sweet plum that’s been dried to retain it’s sugary sweetness.
As I’ve already mentioned, the texture is lighter with this cup and because of that, I’m picking up on the slightest note of astringency. It’s still quite smooth, but this is a little more astringent than the first cup. Don’t let that sway you though, because the first cup wasn’t astringent at all – and now, just a slightly dry, tangy sensation at the tail.
My third cup was delightfully peachy-plumy-yummy! I don’t get much buttery flavor that I experienced with the previous two cups – but this tea is still worth the extra infusions because the sweet fruit notes are so amazing. A light honey note and a floral note begins to emerge, weaving its way in and out of the sip. This cup is more astringent than the second cup, but it’s still a rather light astringency.
A truly remarkable tea – definitely worth exploring – and re-exploring as I have done today. This tea is currently out of stock at The Tao of Tea but please keep your eyes peeled! I consider this tea a must try for all tea lovers!