Monday, August 18, 2014

What-Cha, Nepal 1st Flush 2014 Clonal Delight Black Tea

Nepal 1st Flush Black
What-Cha Description:
A well rounded smooth black tea with apricot tones, makes a great afternoon and evening tea.

We are proud to source all our Nepal teas direct from Greenland Organic Farm, who are very much at the forefront of a burgeoning Nepali tea industry dedicated to producing high quality artisanal teas. Greenland Organic Farm are completely pesticide and chemical free farm dedicated to producing tea in an ethical and fair manner. Greenland Organic Farm is located in East Nepal in the shadows of Mt. Kancghenjunga at an altitude of 3,000m.

Sample provided by What-Cha.

My Review:
My session with this tea was interrupted today by the contractor who will be building a porch onto our home. The pounding should start in a couple days. My dogs will not be happy. Things were further delayed by the mail carrier delivering more tea! So, yeah, good day so far. I hope it won't impact this review. Most of what I want to say was already in my head before getting sidetracked.

Dry Leaf
I am slightly familiar with Nepal black tea, having tasted a few in the past with favorable outcomes. This one is a 1st flush. Could I tell the difference between a 1st and 2nd? Hmmm. Well, we may find out down the road as I believe I have a 2nd flush to do a comparison. But that is a project for later.

Opening the resealable pouch, I notice a light malty, bread aroma with a fruity touch that reminds me of grape or possibly plum. It is a good fresh clean scent. The leaf pieces are small yet typical sized for most orthodox black teas I have seen from Nepal, India, Ceylon, and Kenya. It is dark brown with lots of cinnamon highlights.

Orange Liquor
I used approximately 3 g of leaf in my press with 10 oz of water heated to 203 F, per the instructions on the label. The steep time was 3 minutes.

The result is a dark honey orange liquor bordering on shades of ruby as it cools. It seems slightly cloudy while hot, but not so much once it starts to cool.

The aroma of the wet leaf is malt and, I am not sure how to adequately describe it, sort of like baking meat. At least that is how it hit me. It is the kind of umami aroma that leaves you ready for lunch. :)

You can see from the wet leaf picture how much the leaf plumps up after steeping. I found the color change in the leaf interesting. The wet leaf has a lot of olive green tones in it. Generally, I see leaf starting out dark green and turning brown when steeped.

Wet Leaf
The taste has characteristics of teas found both to the North in China and South in India. It has a malty taste, even more so as it cools, that reminds me of Yunnan black tea. It is a mellow tea with just a touch of edge for interest that reminds me of a good Assam but the body is much lighter. The edge, or bite, has a fruitiness that is similar to apricot. This tea seems smoother and lighter than any Darjeeling tea I've tasted though Nepali teas are characteristically considered similar to Darjeeling. Another difference, is that although I thought the dry leaf had a grapey scent, the brew shows no evidence of a Muscat grape taste.

Reading back that last paragraph, I am not sure I have really captured the essence of this tea. I have enjoyed every Nepali tea I have tried so far. I can add this one to the list. In fact, I once again had no desire to add sweetener to the cup, although I feel comfortable saying it would take it with ease if you are so inclined. If you have never tried a Nepal black, I highly recommend them and this one is another winner from What-Cha.

You can find Nepal 1st Flush Clonal Delight Black Tea here. At the time of this writing the Nepal teas are 20% off.

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