Today’s review will focus on the Nepal Monsoon Flush 2014 Pearl Oolong Tea from What-Cha, and sourced from the Greenland Organic Farm in Taplejung, eastern Nepal. To view this tea on the What-Cha website, please click here. Below is a Google map showing the location of Taplejung District.
The monsoon flush was harvested in August of 2014, and only six kilograms of this type of tea were produced by the Greenland Organic Farm. As you will see from the photo of the dry leaves, or pearls, below, Greenland Organic Farm is certainly paying attention to the appearance of the dry product, and are giving their teas a more “artisanal” visual quality. Pros and cons of focusing on appearance and perhaps forfeiting some quality in the cup aside, these innovative new styles of Nepalese teas do make for interesting reviews.
The sample packet has been opened, and these pearls are much bigger than I expected. Let the journey begin…
The dry leaves range in color from bright fresh green to yellowish-brown to dark brown, with a generous portion of mature buds covered in silver downy-like hairs. I expect the pluck to be at least two leaves and a bud, and I expect the pearls to consist of two or three pluckings rolled together. The leaves appear to be whole and unbroken, with perhaps a few large fragments in the mix. The size of the pearls range from that of a pea to a large blueberry. The leaves are very mildly compressed in the pearls, nothing like a semi-ball oolong, giving them a lighter density than one may expect. The appearance is similar to that of a Chinese pearl green tea, but these pearls are larger. The smell has scents of hay, light dried grape, valley flowers, and a touch of vanilla.
Three grams of dry leaves were placed in a five ounce (150 ml) porcelain infusion cup. Purified spring 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 195°F (90°C). Steep the leaves for 2:30 to 3:00 minutes. Expect three to four worthy infusions out of the same serving of leaves, increasing the infusion time by 15 to 30 seconds per infusion.
The first infusion produced a liquor with a golden-yellow color with a light copper tint, clear and transparent. The aroma has scents of hay, nectarine, valley flowers, and vanilla. The body is medium, with a crisp, lively texture that becomes increasingly smooth as the liquor cools. There is a very mild, almost undetectable, astringency. The taste has notes of nectarine, hay, valley flowers, and vanilla. The aftertaste carries the sweet hay and valley flower notes, and the sweet hay essence lingers on the breath.
The infused leaves have a greenish-brown to copper color. The vast majority of the leaves are whole, unbroken, and attached to the stem, and very few large fragments are in the mix. The plucks range from three leaves and a mature bud to a single leaf and bud. This is the first time I have seen a three leaf and bud pluck from a Nepalese tea. The leaves have a soft, smooth, wet leather feel. Some of the more mature leaves measure between 1.5 and 2.0 inches (38 to 51 mm) in length. These leaves have been the most interesting to observe of any Nepalese teas that I have experienced so far. The smell has scents of grapes, nectarines, and valley flowers. The smell is quite attractive.
The Nepal Monsoon Flush 2014 Pearl Oolong Tea from What-Cha and Greenland Organic Farm has many interesting qualities to observe in the dry and infused leaves. This product is definitely unique in its pluck and rolling methods compared to other Nepalese teas that I have experienced. The liquor itself is a pleasure, with a sweet and floral aroma and taste, and a crisp, refreshing energy. The Nepal Monsoon Flush 2014 Pearl Oolong Tea has much to offer, whether you enjoy the entire experience of analyzing tea, or just enjoy a pleasant smelling and tasting hot beverage.
Thank you to the management of What-Cha for providing this sample of Nepal Monsoon Flush 2014 Pearl Oolong Tea, and thank you to the management at Greenland Organic Farm for taking the time and risk to produce something out of the ordinary. Cheers!