Not long ago I conducted an Oolong-a-Thon and did back-to-back tastings of all the oolong teas in my collection. Somehow I missed this Himalayan Musky Thunder from Terroir Tea Merchant. That’s because it didn’t look like an oolong at first glance. Apparently, Himalayan Musky Thunder is a “dark oolong,” meaning it is more heavily oxidized than its greener oolong cousins. Like other oolongs, I brewed this tea with cooler water (190 F) and steeped it a few times.
Upon brewing, the scent and taste of dark chocolate were very forward. When you taste a chocolate bar with a high cocoa percentage, there’s an almost-floral note to the earthy chocolate flavor, and that note comes through in this tea as well. There’s a rich muscatel, red grape flavor right after the chocolate tones, making this tea winner for any dark chocolate, red wine drinkers out there.
If the package didn’t inform me that this dark tea was actually an oolong and not a black tea, the mouthfeel would have given it away. There’s a silky smoothness to how this tea falls on your tongue that is reminiscent of milk oolong teas, without any of the mouth-puckering sharpness you find in black teas.
Upon further steeping, the sweet chocolate tones evolve into earthier notes, like a vegetable garden after a fresh rain. The tannin richness of red wine and unsweetened cocoa linger as an aftertaste.
All the tasting aside, I love the name for this tea, Himalayan Musky Thunder, and I think it is aptly chosen. This is one of the boldest oolongs I’ve tasted: deep and romantic like the smell of the air and earth after a thunderstorm. The next time you find yourself caught in the rain, wait out the storm with a cup of this tea and a bar of dark chocolate.
Here’s the scoop!
Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Terroir Tea Merchant
With qualities of a black tea and no astringency, this strip style dark oolong is surprisingly light and full of flavour.