Today’s review will focus on the Nepal Second Flush 2014 Golden Tips Black Tea, sourced by What-Cha from the Greenland Organic Farm in eastern Nepal. You may view and purchase this tea by visiting the What-Cha website.
I covered the Greenland Organic Farm in a previous post, Nepal First Flush 2014 Silver Oolong Tea. I would like to acknowledge What-Cha for the wide variety of teas from origins that you do not see being offered very often by other tea businesses. There are teas from Iran, Azerbaijan, Azores, Georgia, Russia, and in their Discover Europe Collection, a green tea from Turkey. A little more common, but not quite mainstream, are the teas from Malawi, Vietnam, South Korea, and Nepal. If you are getting a bit bored with the more mainstream Chinese, Japanese, Indian, and Ceylon teas, then What-Cha is a good source for the taste of an unfamiliar tea terroir.
The sample packet has been opened, and a swift punch of malt and cracked toasted grains just hit me in the nose. Is this a black tea or a homebrewing beer kit? Let the journey begin…
The dry leaves consist mostly of golden buds, with the remaining leaves being charcoal black. The buds are covered in fine golden hairs. The pluck is a fine leaf and bud. There are a few bare stems in the mix. Many of the buds and leaves are unbroken, and there are some fragments ranging in size from small to large. The buds and leaves appear to be twisted. The leaves have a smooth texture, and crack easily into coarse crumbs. The average length of the unbroken buds is just under one inch (25 mm). The smell is incredible and strong, with scents of malt, toasted grains, sweet hay, dandelion, and a touch of raw honey.
Three grams of dry leaves were placed in a five ounce (150 ml) porcelain infusion cup. Purified water was heated to 205°F (96°C). The leaves were infused for 4:00 minutes.
My suggestion for at home preparation is to use three grams of dry leaves for every six to eight ounces (180 to 240 ml) of water to be used. Heat water to 205°F (96°C). Steep the leaves for 3:00 to 4:00 minutes. Expect two infusions out of the same serving of leaves, and expect the second infusion to be lighter than the first, but still worth drinking. Add 1:00 minute to the second infusion steep time. A very light, yet refreshing, third infusion can be prepared.
The first infusion produced a liquor with a rich, golden orange color, clear and transparent. The aroma has scents of malt, toasted grains, honey, dandelion, sweet hay, and nectar. The body is medium-full, with a smooth, raw honey-like tongue coating texture. There is little astringency. The taste has notes of malt, toasted grains, honey, nectar, dandelion, and hay. The aftertaste carries the malt, nectar, and dandelion notes, and a lightly floral, sweet essence is left on the breath.
The infused leaves have a uniform yellowish-brown color. There is a generous portion of whole, unbroken buds and leaves, along with some small to large sized fragments. There are a few bare stems in the mix. The pluck is one fine leaf and a bud. The buds have swollen some, and measure about one inch (25 mm) in length. The buds and leaves have a soft, smooth texture. The smell has scents of malt, toasted grains, dandelion, hay, and nectar.
The Nepal Second Flush 2014 Golden Tips Black Tea is a rich, sweet smelling and tasting black tea that is very satisfying. Far from being overwhelming, this black tea needs no additives whatsoever to be fully enjoyed, but I can imagine that a small splash of coconut or almond milk may turn this tea into quite a treat. The malt character can be recognized at all phases of the experience, and the notes of toasted grains is a perfect compliment. If you are like me and enjoy a malty lager with dinner, this tea may be your new drink of choice at breakfast.
Many thanks to the management at What-Cha for providing this sample of Nepal Second Flush 2014 Golden Tips Black Tea. Cheers!