Company Spotlight: Rakkasan Tea Company in Dallas, Texas

It is my sincere pleasure to introduce you to Rakkasan Tea Company, a retail and wholesale tea vendor based in Dallas, Texas, founded in 2017.

RTC Logo

Rakkasan Tea Company is not your typical retail tea vendor. The founders and team have a specific mission for their business. That mission is to help spur awareness, peace, and opportunities for economic growth in tea producing areas that have had relatively recent political and societal conflicts or war, including Vietnam, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, and Nepal.

The vision for this mission began with the founder, Brandon Friedman, a veteran of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, who served as an infantry officer in the 101st Airborne Division. After honorably serving his country, Brandon took an interest in specialty tea. Since then, Brandon has teamed up with another veteran and Green Beret, Terrence Kamauf, and his wife Crystal Kamauf, to lead the Rakkasan Tea Company mission. These people have experienced the destruction of conflict, and now work to help reverse the long-lasting effects of war, both at home and abroad.

The origin of the term “Rakkasan” is Japanese, which translates into “parachutist”. This term is used as a nickname for a particular unit of the 101 Airborne Division. Love the name. Love the connection and significance.

The teas offered by Rakkasan Tea Company are also extraordinary, or as Rakkasan succinctly puts it, “Uncommon Tea From Uncommon Places”. Not your ordinary flavored and blended commodity teas, their products are pure, unflavored, unadulterated, high quality teas from farms who aspire to create the perfect tea experience. If you are reading this blog, you have probably experienced tea from Sri Lanka, but few of you have probably had the pleasure of drinking a tea from the Amba Estate. This estate does not produce your typical Ceylon black tea. Amba Estate teas redefine high quality Sri Lankan tea. If you haven’t tried them yet, start with the Amba Ceylon Black. Your new obsession will begin there. Don’t worry, Rakkasan offers bulk discounts!

Rakkasan Tea Company does offer special pricing for other retail and restaurant businesses. If you are interested in working with Rakkasan, and making a difference for veterans here in the U.S. and communities abroad in war-torn areas, please contact Rakkasan to discuss pricing. Their contact information can be found on the website.

You can also follow Rakkasan Tea Company on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Instagram.

In the near future, I will have the pleasure of reviewing the Rukeri Black Tea from Rwanda, the H’Mong Kings Green Tea from Vietnam, and the Six Borders Black Tea from Vietnam. I hope to have the review of the Rukeri Black Tea posted within a few hours.

Thank you for taking your time to learn about the Rakkasan Tea Company, and be sure to check out and experience the interesting teas on their website. Many thanks to Brandon and his team at Rakkasan for providing the above tea samples! Cheers to you, Brandon and the RTC team, and to your mission!

Advertisements

Kumari Gold Organic Black Tea From Nepal Tea

Today’s review will focus on the Kumari Gold Organic Black Tea from Nepal Tea. You can purchase 50 grams of this tea for USD $12.99 plus shipping from the Nepal Tea website.

I covered the positive impact that Nepal Tea, and Kanchanjangha Tea Estate, has had on their tea growing community in my previous reviews of their other products. Simply type “Nepal” into the search box and check out the other reviews.

Let’s get to the review…

20180328_090607
Kumari Gold Organic Black Tea – Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have a uniform dark charcoal gray color, while the buds have a pale yellow-gold color. A light fuzz can be seen on the golden buds. The blend consists mostly of what appears to be whole, unbroken leaves and buds, with the remainder being large leaf and bud fragments. The plucking standard shows one leaf and bud. There is also a large number of detached, but whole, leaves and buds. The leaves and buds are fully oxidized, and twisted. The appearance is very high quality, and attractive. The aroma is also very attractive, with fresh scents of malt, caramel, toasted oats, baked bread, and raisins.

Three grams of dry leaves were placed in a 7 ounce (210 mL) bizen ware kyusu teapot, and infused with 200°F (93°C) water for 3:00 minutes.

20180328_092510
Kumari Gold Organic Black Tea – Tea Liquid

The liquid has a beautiful, deep amber red color, clear and transparent. As the liquid cools, a light oily residue seems to appear on the surface. The aroma is quite potent, with scents of malt, caramel, baked bread, raisins, and a touch of roses. The body is full, with a layered, smooth texture. There is no astringency, and just a touch of bitterness. Some might describe the character of this tea as “biscuity”. The taste has notes of malt, caramel, raisins, light roses, and a touch of baked bread. The raisin sweetness and light rose notes carry into the aftertaste, and the lingering sweetness left on the breath is impressive.

This portion of leaves gave five impressive infusions. If I had more time, I am certain I could have pulled another two to three quality infusions from them.

20180328_143051
Kumari Gold Organic Black Tea – Infused Leaves

The infused leaves and buds have a uniform copper brown color. The blend consists mostly of unbroken, whole, leaves and buds detached from one another. There are also some that are attached to a stem, showing a one leaf and bud pluck. The leaves appear to be quite young and tender, and are long and narrow in shape. They are very soft and smooth, yet hearty to the touch, meaning they are not easily falling apart or being torn. The leaves and buds are fully oxidized. The aroma of the infused leaves, even after five infusions, is very potent, with impressive scents of caramel, raisins, and roses.

The Kumari Gold Organic Black Tea is the exact type of tea that reviewers love to experience. Hours can easily be spent observing this tea. The appearance of the dry leaves, the beautiful color of the liquid, the aroma and taste, and the observation of the infused leaves, were all a pleasure to behold. The time and care put into creating this product can be seen at every stage of analysis. The sweet, fruity, and slightly floral aroma and taste of the tea is remarkable, and how it carries into the aftertaste is also noteworthy. This may be the most impressive tea I have had from this box of samples from Nepal Tea. This is a tea that I would proudly add to my personal collection.

Many thanks to the management of Nepal Tea and Kanchanjangha Tea Estate for providing this sample of Kumari Gold Organic Black Tea. Cheers!

Kanchanjangha Verde Organic Green Tea From Nepal Tea and Kanchanjangha Tea Estate

Today, I will be reviewing the Kanchanjangha Verde Organic Green Tea from Nepal Tea, and sourced directly from Kanchanjangha Tea Estate, located in the foothills of Mount Kanchenjunga in Ranitar, eastern Nepal. See the map below showing the location of Ranitar.

You can purchase 1.7 ounces (50 grams) of this tea for USD $9.99 from the Nepal Tea website.

I have covered Nepal Tea and Kanchanjangha Tea Estate in some detail in previous reviews of their products. Just enter “Nepal” in the search box and you will see a list of previous reviews.

Let’s get to the review…

20180301_093233
Kanchanjangha Verde Organic Green Tea – Dry Leaves

The dry leaves range in color from pale light forest green to dark forest green. The leaves appear to be mostly medium to large sized fragments, with a few small but possibly unbroken leaves in the mix. There are also some bud fragments, and a bare stem or two in the mix. The leaves are machine rolled, and appear to have minimal oxidation levels. The aroma has scents of toasted grains, dark chocolate, dry autumn leaves, and a touch of dried cherry.

Eight grams of dry leaves were placed in an 18 ounce (530 mL) cast-iron tetsubin teapot, and infused with 175°F (80°C) water for 2:00 minutes.

20180301_093914
Kanchanjangha Verde Organic Green Tea – Infusion

The tea liquid had a gold-yellow color, clear and transparent. The aroma had scents of cut grass, sea mist, a touch of roses, and grains. The body is full, with a lively, bright texture. There was no bitterness, and a mild astringency. The taste has notes of cut grass, mineral (salt or sea mist), grains, and a touch of roses. The aftertaste carries the vegetal and light rose notes.

20180301_123535
Kanchanjangha Verde Organic Green Tea – Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a fresh, forest green color, with a few leaves having reddish spots from unintended oxidation. The mix consists of mostly medium to large leaf and bud fragments. There are one or two bare stems, and a few unbroken leaves that are quite young and small. The leaves have a soft, smooth, tender texture. The aroma carries the scents of grass, sea mist or salt mineral, and lighter touches of wet grains and roses.

The Kanchanjangha Verde Organic Green Tea from Nepal Tea and Kanchangjangha Tea Estate is very nice every day drinking green tea. It has a nice amount of taste and body for a green tea, not being overwhelmingly grassy and vegetal, and not being too weak to enjoy. It has a nice touch of floral character to it, but definitely is dominated by the grassy character that is expected of a green tea. This tea also has an interesting mineral (salt or sea mist) note in the aroma and taste. This tea will not disappoint when reaching for a pleasant, classic green tea.

Thank you to the management at Nepal Tea and Kanchanjangha Tea Estate for providing this sample of Kanchanjangha Verde Organic Green Tea. Cheers!

White Prakash Organic White Tea From Nepal Tea

Today, I will be focusing my attention to the White Prakash Organic White Tea from Nepal Tea, sourced from the Kanchanjangha Tea Estate in Nepal. You can purchase 50 grams of this tea for $12.99 USD from the Nepal Tea website.

I have provided many details of Kanchanjangha Tea Estate and Nepal Tea in my previous reviews of the Kanchanjangha Noir Black Tea and the Silver Yeti White Tea. Check out those reviews to learn more about the estate, and the good works being done in that community.

Let’s get to the review…

20180222_105624
White Prakash Organic White Tea – Dry Leaves

The dry leaves vary in color widely, from pale, light green to red-brown to nearly black. There is a generous portion of fuzzy, silver-white buds in the mix. The leaves appear to consist of unbroken leaves and buds still attached to the stem, as well as some detached whole leaves and buds, and some large sized leaf and bud fragments. The pluck appears to be mostly one leaf and a fairly mature bud, or a single mature bud with no leaf. The leaves are lightly rolled, and are rather light and fluffy. The leaves have gone through the standard white tea processing method of being naturally withered, then dried, with no roasting or firing of any kind. The aroma has fresh scents of vanilla, raw pastry dough, cream, and a touch of dried wild flowers. The aroma has a luxurious character.

Eight grams of dry leaves were placed in an eighteen ounce (530 ml) cast-iron tetsubin teapot, and infused with 185°F (85°C) water for 3:00 minutes. an additional minute was added to the time on the second infusion.

20180222_110548
White Prakash Organic White Tea – Liquid

The liquid has a bright, gold-yellow color. The aroma has scents of spring flowers, vanilla, and lighter touches of hay and cream or butter. The body is medium, with a smooth, layered texture, and a calming, revitalizing energy. There is no bitterness or astringency whatsoever. The taste has notes of spring flowers, vanilla, and touches of sweet hay and butter. The aftertaste carries a light floral and vanilla character. This light floral and sweet aftertaste has a very nice linger time on the breath.

20180222_131035
White Prakash Organic White Tea – Infused Leaves

The infused leaves vary in color from pale forest green dark forest green to copper-brown. The copper brown areas of the leaves reflect the natural oxidation that occurs in the leaves during withering. The leaves are fairly young and tender, with the larger leaves measuring just over one inch (25 mm) in length. There is a generous amount of fairly mature buds, mostly unbroken and whole, but some large fragments. There are no bare stems. The leaves are about half unbroken and whole, and half medium to large fragments. Again, the pluck shows a one leaf and bud pluck, or bud only pluck, and some leaves are detached from stems. After two infusions, the leaves are rather delicate, and very smooth to the touch. The aroma has scents of spring flowers and vanilla.

The White Prakash Organic White Tea is a beautiful example of this style of tea. The presence of leaves and buds, rather than the silver needle (silver tips) styles of white tea, gives this style of white tea a more rounded, fuller taste than the fairly mild and delicate character of the silver needle style. I really enjoyed the dominant scents and flavors of spring flowers and vanilla in the liquid. The aroma of the dry leaves was also incredible, with a unique scent of raw pastry dough, which gave it a nicely balanced sweetness, and complimented the vanilla scent very effectively. Although the leaves felt rather delicate after two infusions, there was much aroma and taste in the second infusion. I am confident that they could easily give a good quality third infusion, and perhaps a decent fourth infusion. The number of infusions always has a direct relationship with perceiving  how worthy of the price tag a tea is. This tea is worth the price tag.

Thanks again to the management at Nepal Tea and Kanchanjangha Tea Estate for providing this sample of White Prakash Organic White Tea. Cheers!

Shangri-La Organic Oolong Tea From Nepal Tea

Circling back around to the samples from Nepal Tea, the packet of Shangri-La Oolong Tea caught my attention. A few years have passed since I last reviewed an oolong from Nepal, so it’s time to get reacquainted.

You can get acquainted with the Shangri-La Oolong Tea for USD $11.99. At the time, this is only available in pyramid teabags. The loose leaf form should be back in stock soon. Who says you can’t tear open that pyramid bag and drop the leaves in your preferred brewing vessel?

I have covered quite a bit of information on Nepal Tea in my previous reviews of the Organic Silver Yeti White Tea and the Kanchanjangha Noir Black Tea. Check out those reviews for information on Nepal Tea and Kanchanjangha Tea Estate, and the good they do for their local tea growing communities in Nepal.

Let’s get to the review…

20180131_095104
Shangri-La Organic Oolong Tea – Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have a uniform pale charcoal grey color, with a few small golden tips in the mix, and no obvious bare stems. The leaves also have a uniform shape and size, appearing to consist mostly of detached whole leaves and large fragments. I am having trouble deciding if I think these leaves are twisted, rolled, or a combination of both. Not that this observation takes away from the overall high quality of the appearance. Generally speaking, the teas from Nepal that I have come across are usually machine rolled, and look similar to Darjeeling teas. But this tea definitely has a unique appearance. The leaves and buds still attached to stems show a superfine plucking standard of one leaf and bud. The color of the leaves indicates a heavier oxidation level, but not full oxidation. The aroma has scents of dark chocolate, malt, dry wood, and dry cherries.

Eight grams of dry leaves were placed in an 18 ounce (530 mL) cast-iron tetsubin teapot, and infused with 190°F (88°C) water for 3:00 minutes.

20180131_095655
Shangri-La Organic Oolong Tea – Liquid

The liquid has a beautiful, rich gold-red-orange color. The aroma has scents of malt, grapes, and lighter scents of black pepper, licorice, and pine wood. The body is full, with a fluffy, biscuit-like texture. There is a light briskness, a very light and smooth bitterness, and very little astringency. The taste reflects the aroma very closely, with notes of malt, grapes, black pepper, and lighter notes of licorice and pine wood. The aftertaste is lightly sweet and spicy, and a peppery feeling is left on the tongue.

20180131_113916
Shangri-La Organic Oolong Tea – Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a uniform copper brown color. Again, some of the leaves look twisted, while others look machine rolled. The leaves are mostly detached whole leaves and large fragments. There are a few detached bud fragments, and a few pickings showing a superfine one leaf and bud plucking standard. There are no totally bare stems. The leaves have a soft, smooth, leathery texture, but also have a rather durable feel, like they can stand up to several rounds of infusion. This photo was taken after the second use of the leaves. The leaves are long and fairly narrow, evidence of the use of Chinese clonal tea bushes, also found commonly growing in Darjeeling. The scent has notes of malt, grapes. and a touch of licorice.

The Shangri-La Organic Oolong Tea from Nepal Tea is not your typical oolong tea. Although having more similarities to a Darjeeling second flush tea than some of the more well known oolongs of China, this tea has a very distinct set of qualities. Namely, the mouth feel of this tea is remarkable. From the fluffy, biscuity texture to the peppery feel that lingers on the tongue, these are not qualities that I experience often. The nicely balanced sweet and spicy tastes blend beautifully with the light brisk quality, and smooth bitterness. Combine the interesting physical characteristics of this tea with the fact that it is organically produced, and you have a product that deserves to be experienced by any level of tea enthusiast (including those who prefer the convenience of teabags!)

Thanks again to Nepal Tea and Kanchanjangha Tea Estate for their generosity in offering this sample of Shangri-La Oolong Tea. Cheers!

Kanchanjangha Noir Black Tea From Nepal Tea

Happy New Year, fellow tea lovers! I trust that everyone had a safe and merry holiday season. For those of you in the eastern United States, a good pot of hot tea should help get us through an exceptionally cold start to the 2018 year.

I guess the question as to which tea I am starting the year with was given away in this blog post title. My first review of the 2018 year will be focused on the Kanchanjangha Noir Black Tea courtesy of Nepal Tea, sourced from the Kanchanjangha Tea Estate in Nepal.

In my review of the Silver Yeti White Tea from Nepal Tea and Kanchanjangha Tea Estate (KTE), I provided some general information on KTE. For this post, I want to highlight some of ways that Nepal Tea and KTE are not just providing us tea drinkers with sensational products, but also helping the tea farmers in their local communities have a higher quality of life. Click on each of the project names below to read more about each initiative.

Community enhancement projects include the Cow Bank Project, where you can “donate” a cow to a farmer on the estate. This not only provides the farmer and their family with nourishment through gathering the cow’s milk, but also allows them to make some extra money by selling extra milk to other villagers, and selling dung to KTE for use as fertilizer. Learn more about this project, the contributions made by KTE to get it started, and how you can help move it forward, by clicking the link above.

You can also sponsor a child’s education through the Scholarship Project. Through Nepal Tea and KTE’s “Adopt From Abroad” Program, you can give a young child in the small farming community the opportunity to attend the local English boarding school and community school for one year. This is an opportunity that may be missed for many young children in the Panchthar District without generous support from our tea community. As of today, 2,300 children have already been supported through this initiative, and 93 are currently benefiting from the program. Anyone want to join me in getting a GoFundMe project running?

KTE also has a Free Housing Program, a Farmer’s Co-Op, and is proactive in health and sanitation initiatives, as well as providing enhanced maternity benefits. With this level of support for the local farmers, the tea labor industry may begin to build a more positive reputation. This is a model that should be replicated across all tea growing communities.

Want to support Nepal Tea and Kanchanjangha Tea Estate, and taste an amazing black tea? You can purchase 50 grams (1.7 ounces) of this Kanchanjangha Noir Black Tea for USD $9.99 from the Nepal Tea website.

Let’s get to the review…

20180103_081809
Kanchanjangha Noir Black Tea – Dry Leaves

The dry leaves vary in color from pale light brown to copper red to dark charcoal grey, with a generous amount of silver-gold tips. There are a few bare stems in the mix. The blend consists of medium to large size leaf and bud fragments. I do not expect to find any unbroken leaves in the mix. The leaves are machine rolled. The overall appearance is similar to that of second flush teas from Darjeeling. The aroma has fresh scents of dried rose petals, raw cacao, and dried tart cherries.

Eight grams of dry leaves were placed in an eighteen ounce (530 mL) cast iron tetsubin teapot, and infused with 200°F (93°C) water for 4:00 minutes.

20180103_082900
Kanchanjangha Noir Black Tea – Liquid

The liquid has a bright, orange-red color. The aroma has inviting scents of roses, tart cherries, and raw cacao. The body is medium-full, with a clean, lively texture. There is a touch of bitterness, and the character is lightly brisk. The taste continues the notes of roses, tart cherries, and raw cacao. The aftertaste is lightly sweet with a hint of roses, and leaves a dry effect on the tongue.

20180103_120025
Kanchanjangha Noir Black Tea – Infused Leaves

The infused leaves vary in color from dark green-brown to dark copper-brown. The blend consists of medium to large size leaf and bud fragments, and a few bare stems. The leaves, after two infusions, have the texture of thin, somewhat dry leather. The oxidation level on the leaves is not 100%, as with many styles of black tea. Again, this product seems to be styled after the second flush Darjeeling tea. The aroma of the infused leaves is fruity and floral, with scents of roses, cherries, and a touch of raw cacao.

In a year that saw second flush teas from Darjeeling become nearly non-existent, this Kanchanjangha Noir Black Tea is a very worthy replacement for those tea drinkers who have a special place in their hearts for Darjeeling tea. The scents and tastes of roses and raw cacao is reminiscent of second flush Darjeeling teas, and the tart cherry notes are just a small tweak from the muscatel notes famously found in the Darjeeling teas. This Nepal black tea has a touch of briskness, however, that I do not find in Darjeeling teas, and I personally enjoyed it. Even in a normal year that finds Darjeeling second flush teas in full production, this Kanchanjangha Noir Black Tea is a nice twist on a popular style of tea. It certainly deserves the same respect and recognition as that given to the popular second flush teas of Darjeeling.

Many thanks to Nepal Tea and Kanchanjangha Tea Estate for providing this sample of Kanchanjangha Noir Black Tea! And also many thanks for the positive social impact that they are making on the communities that help bring us this fantastic product!

Cheers, and the best of health and prosperity to everyone in the 2018 year!

Organic Silver Yeti White Tea From Nepal Tea

A Christmas miracle arrived at my office a few days ago, and few things can lift my excitement to such a level as this. A package from a relatively new tea company named Nepal Tea. As you can probably guess from the company name, Nepal Tea specializes in offering organic teas from Nepal. Today’s review will be focusing on the Silver Yeti White Tea, which can currently be purchased from Nepal Tea for USD $14.99 and includes one ounce of the tea.

It has been a few years since I had a nice assortment of various styles of tea from Nepal, and this sample package definitely offers an interesting assortment. Upon further research, I found out that these teas are actually sourced from one of the tea estates in Nepal that I was offering through my online tea shop. The estate is Kanchanjangha Tea Estate (KTE). KTE was the first organic certified estate in Nepal, and is the only tea estate in Nepal certified as Free Trade.

Nestled in the foothills of Mount Kanchenjunga, with an elevation ranging from 1,300 meters to 1,800 meters (4,200 feet to 5,900 feet) above sea level, Kanchanjangha Tea Estate consists of about 94 hectares of land under tea cultivation. It is located in Ranitar, Panchthar District, Nepal. The map below shows the location of Ranitar.

Kanchanjangha Tea Estate does more than just produce excellent quality Nepal teas. It is also a great partner for the estate workers. I will provide more details on that partnership in my next Nepal Tea product review.

For now, let’s get to the review…

20171221_132529
Silver Yeti White Tea – Dry Leaves (or buds, to be more accurate)

The dry leaves have a uniform pale light green color to the buds, with a fine silver downy-like fuzz covering them, and dark brown to black stems. The buds are long and thin, with no additional shaping given during production. The more mature buds have a younger bud enveloped inside. There are no leaves, and no bare stems in the mix, only buds. The mix consists mostly of unbroken, fully intact buds, with some medium to large bud fragments. The appearance of these buds is definitely similar to those found in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Kenya (to name a few). They are noticeably thinner than the plump Silver Needle teas found in the Fujian province of China, which uses the Fuding Da Bai tea bush (among others), known for producing large, plump buds. Getting back on track, these buds are dried naturally, and simply processed. The aroma has scents of dry rosebuds and dandelions, fresh hay, and light touches of vanilla and honey.

Five grams of dry buds were placed in a six ounce (180 ml) porcelain gaiwan, and infused with 185°F (85°C) water for 3:00 minutes.

20171221_134258
Silver Yeti White Tea – Liquid

The liquid has a full golden yellow color. The aroma has scents of rosebuds, dandelion, hay, and lighter scents of vanilla and honey. The body is light-medium, with a pillowy, airy texture. That is not a description I use often (or maybe ever), but this liquid feels like it levitates off the tongue, and just hovers in the mouth. Admittedly, I spent a lot more time than usual just observing the mouthfeel of this tea, trying to think of an appropriate description to record. There is no bitterness or astringency. The taste has notes of rosebuds, dandelions, hay, lighter touches of vanilla and honey, and a barely noticeable hint of licorice. The aftertaste carries the notes of sweet hay and vanilla, and leaves a pleasantly light floral essence on the breath.

As a quick sidenote, the third and fourth infusions are easily the most aromatic and flavorful infusions.

20171221_140633
Silver Yeti White Tea – Infused Buds

The majority of the infused buds have a light forest green color, with some being brown-red, with dark brown stems. The majority of the buds are unbroken and fully intact, with a bud only pluck, and some larger buds enveloping younger buds. There are some medium to large bud fragments. There are no leaves or bare stems in the mix. The buds are long and narrow. The aroma, especially as the buds get cooler, is intoxicating with strong scents of honey, vanilla, licorice, rosebuds, and a touch of hay.

The Silver Yeti White Tea from Nepal Tea is a beautiful reminder of the high quality products hailing from the Nepalese foothills of the Himalayas. And these products are not just Darjeeling style black teas, but teas of all styles. This white tea boasts a subtle yet sophisticated character, with a great combination of floral, sweet, spicy, and earthy scents and flavors. The texture of the liquid was a true highlight for me, just observing a texture that I do not recall experiencing before. My best description was pillowy, as the liquid felt soft and gentle on the tongue and roof of the mouth, and more dense in between. These buds have many infusions of pleasure to offer, so considering the cost, be sure to pull every last drop of goodness out of these buds before disposing of them.

Many thanks to Nepal Tea for their generosity in providing this sample of Silver Yeti White Tea. There will be plenty of other reviews, and more information about the good works being done by the good people at Nepal Tea and Kanchanjangha Tea Estate, in the near future. Cheers!

Nepal Monsoon Flush 2014 Pearl Oolong Tea from What-Cha and Greenland Organic Farm

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…

Nepal Monsoon Flush 2014 Pearl Oolong Tea Dry Leaves
Nepal Monsoon Flush 2014 Pearl Oolong Tea Dry Leaves

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.

Nepal Monsoon Flush 2014 Pearl Oolong Tea Liquor
Nepal Monsoon Flush 2014 Pearl Oolong Tea Liquor

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.

Nepal Monsoon Flush 2014 Pearl Oolong Tea Infused Leaves
Nepal Monsoon Flush 2014 Pearl Oolong Tea Infused Leaves

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.

Nepal Monsoon Flush 2014 Pearl Oolong Tea Infused Leaves Closeup
Nepal Monsoon Flush 2014 Pearl Oolong Tea Infused Leaves Closeup

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!

 

Second Flush 2014 Cannon Ball Green Tea from What-Cha and Greenland Organic Farm

Today’s review will focus on the Nepal Second Flush 2014 Cannon Ball Green Tea from What-Cha. What-Cha sources this tea from the Greenland Organic Farm located in eastern Nepal. To view and purchase this tea at the What-Cha website, please click here.

Since I have covered What-Cha and Greenland Organic Farm on several occasions already, I have decided to use this space to remind my readers of the close-out sale going on at The Tea Journeyman Shop. I have cut prices on all teas to the point that they are basically at wholesale. The oolong teas have been moving quickly at these prices, but I do not want anyone to overlook the white teas and the Amba hand-rolled black tea either. The new prices on the Shining Antlers and Shire Highlands White Teas from Satemwa Tea Estate in Malawi, and the Amba Hand-Rolled Black Tea from Amba Estate in Sri Lanka make them worth stocking up on before my supply runs out. The black teas and green tea from Sri Lanka are also very cheap, with the Big Leaf Ceylon Green Tea being an unsung hero of the product lineup. I have had many repeat buyers of the Big Leaf Ceylon Green Tea.

Basically, all of the teas at The Tea Journeyman Shop are so inexpensive that this is a great opportunity to load up on high quality and interesting teas at near wholesale prices. The shipping fee is still a flat $5 to anywhere in the U.S., and I am willing to send to Canada also. Once the teas are sold out, you will have to pay much higher prices getting these teas elsewhere, if you can even find them anywhere else in the U.S. or Canada. Check them out today, and make me do some work for the next two months. The shop closes on April 15th, or once all products are sold out, whichever comes first.

Back to the review at hand. The sample packet has been opened, and the Cannon Ball description is quite accurate. Let the journey begin…

Nepal Second Flush 2014 Cannon Ball Green Tea Dry Leaves
Nepal Second Flush 2014 Cannon Ball Green Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have a uniform dark green color. The leaves are tightly rolled and compressed into oblong balls, about the size of black beans. There are so crumbs in the mix. The balls appear to consist of medium to large leaf fragments, buds, and some thin stems. I would not be surprised to find some smaller whole leaves, but there does not appear to be an intact pluck. I assume at this point a two leaf and bud pluck. The “cannon balls” are very dense, with a coarse, round texture. The smell has scents of grass, hay, light caramel, and dried lemon.

Three grams of dry leaves were placed in a five ounce (150 ml) porcelain infusion cup. Purified water was heated to 185°F (85°C). The leaves were infused for 3:00 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 175°F (80°C). Steep the leaves for 2:00 minutes. Expect three quality infusions out of the same serving of leaves.

Nepal Second Flush 2014 Cannon Ball Green Tea Liquor
Nepal Second Flush 2014 Cannon Ball Green Tea Liquor

The first infusion produced a liquor with greenish yellow color, clear and transparent. The aroma has scents of grass, lemon, forest floor, wet stones, and hay. The body is light and refreshing, with a clean, gentle texture. There is a medium level of astringency. The taste has notes of lemon, grass, hay, forest floor, wet stones, orange blossoms, and steamed leafy green vegetables. The aftertaste carries the wet stones, grass, and orange blossom notes, and the blossom essence lingers on the breath.

Nepal Second Flush 2014 Cannon Ball Green Tea Infused Leaves
Nepal Second Flush 2014 Cannon Ball Green Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a forest green color, with some of the leaves showing some light oxidation around the edges. The leaves are all medium to large sized fragments, with a few bud fragments, and a few bare stems in the mix. I did not find any whole leaves or intact plucks. The leaves have a very soft, delicate feel, most likely from the amount of pressure applied during processing to create the cannon ball shape. The smell has scents of grass, forest floor, wet stone, lemon, and light steamed leafy green vegetables.

The Nepal Second Flush 2014 Cannon Ball Green Tea has a unique look and is worthy of respect. With a light, refreshing, clean feel, and plenty of aroma and taste that are consistent through three infusions, this Nepalese green tea will satisfy most green tea drinkers. The lemon and orange blossom tastes, and especially the orange blossom aftertaste and essence, were the most noteworthy characteristics of this green tea.

Thanks again to the management of What-Cha for providing this sample of Nepal Second Flush 2014 Cannon Ball Green Tea. Cheers!

Nepal Second Flush 2014 Golden Tips Black Tea from What-Cha

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…

Nepal Second Flush 2014 Golden Tips Black Tea Dry Leaves
Nepal Second Flush 2014 Golden Tips Black Tea Dry Leaves

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.

Nepal Second Flush 2014 Golden Tips Black Tea Liquor
Nepal Second Flush 2014 Golden Tips Black Tea Liquor

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.

Nepal Second Flush 2014 Golden Tips Black Tea Infused Leaves
Nepal Second Flush 2014 Golden Tips Black Tea Infused Leaves

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!