Here is a tea that has been begging for a review since the moment I received the package of samples from Mount Kanchenjunga in Nepal. This review focuses on the Kanchan Gold Tea.
The sample packet has been opened, and this tea looks like the more well known golden teas from the Yunnan Province of China. I haven’t had anything like this in a few months. Let the journey begin…
The dry leaves have a dark brownish-black color with a generous amount of golden tips. The leaves appear to be mostly whole leaves, with some large fragments, and buds. There are no bare stems in the mix. The leaves are lightly twisted. The leaves and buds are covered in delicate golden hairs. A fine leaf and bud pluck is displayed on some stems. The aroma is sweet and strong, with scents of malt, brown sugar, and roses.
Nine grams of dry leaves were placed in an eighteen ounce (530 ml) cast-iron teapot. Purified spring water was heated to 195°F (90°C). The leaves were infused for three minutes, with thirty seconds being added to each subsequent infusion.
The first infusion produced a liquor with a bright, golden-orange color with red tint, clear and transparent. The aroma had dominant scents of malt and roses. The body is full, with a lively, almost sharp texture. The taste has notes of roses, malt, and light jasmine. The aftertaste is lightly sweet (malt), with a pleasant floral essence.
The second infusion produced a liquor with a noticeably lighter color of golden orange, with a very slight red tint. The aroma has lightened, and the scent of roses is dominant, with a light malt scent remaining. The body has lightened to medium, and the texture is not as lively and sharp. The taste has lightened, and notes of roses and light jasmine are outweighing the now light malt note. The aftertaste is lighter, and the floral essence has dissipated some.
The third infusion produced a liquor with a lighter color of golden orange than the second infusion, and almost no reddish tint. The aroma has lightened again, and is almost entirely floral (rose). The body remains medium. The taste has lightened again, and is dominated by light rose and light jasmine notes. The malt note is very light. I would not expect a fourth infusion to produce much aroma or flavor.
The infused leaves have a uniform copper-brown color. The leaves are mostly whole, with a generous portion of mature buds, and few large leaf fragments. The pluck is one fine and a fairly mature bud. The leaves have an average length between 0.75″ (19 mm) and 1.25″ (32 mm). The aroma has scents of wet roses, forest floor, and what seems to be a light cherry scent. There is also a light touch of spice in the aroma.
Many of the characteristics of this tea were similar to the golden teas of the Yunnan region. The color of the liquor, the appearance of the leaves in both dry and infused form, and the general size and shape of the teas leaves were all similar to some high grade Yunnan black teas that I have had. What was unique about the Kanchan Gold was the obvious scent of roses, and touch of jasmine. The three teas that I have had from Mount Kanchenjunga all seem to have that rose and jasmine scent and taste. This tea has plenty of the good qualities of a Yunnan black tea, and a touch of individuality. For the common tea drinker, the difference may not even be noticeable between this Mount Kanchenjunga gold tea and a Yunnan black tea. For the more experienced enthusiast, this is a nice, subtle change of pace.
Thanks to Niru Trading for providing this sample of Kanchan Gold Tea. The teas of Mount Kanchenjunga have been a great experience so far, and I still have two products to try out. Cheers!