Oolong Tea from Mount Kanchenjunga in Nepal
This evening’s review will focus on the Oolong Tea from Mount Kanchenjunga, which is located on the eastern border of Nepal. These teas from Mount Kanchenjunga seem to have some similarities to one another, regardless of the processing of the leaves and the type of tea that is the end result. All of the teas have a dominant floral rose aroma and taste. Most of the teas also have a light cherry note in the taste, some have sweeter cherry, and others have tart cherry. I expect these characteristics to hold true in this Oolong tea. However, the next product from Mount Kanchenjunga to be reviewed is the premium Mao Feng green tea. I will be interested to see how that compares to the black, white, and oolong varieties that I have reviewed thus far.
The sample packet has been opened, and a very fresh, fragrant rose scent is expanding into my office. Let the journey begin…
The dry leaves vary in color from reddish-orange to reddish-brown to dark brown to purple-black, with some silver tips in the mix. The silver tips are covered in fine silver hairs. The leaves appear to be medium to large fragments, with a possibility of some being whole. The leaf fragments are rolled, and the longer leaves, which I believe are whole, appear to be twisted. There are no bare stems in the mix. The aroma is dominantly floral (roses), and a scent of cherry jam. The dry leaves, both in appearance and aroma, are very attractive.
Nine grams of dry leaves were placed in an eighteen ounce (530 ml) cast-iron teapot. Purified spring water was heated to 195ºF (90ºC). The leaves were infused for two minutes.
The first infusion produced a liquor with a bright golden-orange color, clear and transparent. The aroma is very potent, and dominantly floral (roses), with a cherry jam scent being obvious as I pull away from the cup. The body is medium, with a crisp, fresh texture. The taste is also dominantly floral (roses), with lighter notes of tart cherries, and a very light mineral (wet stones) hint. The aftertaste is floral (roses), with a pleasing floral essence being left on the breath.
The second infusion produced a liquor with a very similar shade of golden-orange color. The aroma remains floral (roses), and lighter on the cherries. The body remains medium. The taste has lightened some, and remains dominant with floral (roses) notes, an even lighter tart cherry note, and consistent mineral (wet stones) hint. The aftertaste remains floral (roses), with a pleasing floral essence. Although somewhat lighter in character, this second infusion maintained more strength than I expected. My expectation for the third infusion is a significantly lighter overall character.
The third infusion produced a liquor with a lighter shade of golden-orange color than the second infusion. The aroma has lightened significantly, but remains dominantly floral (roses). The body has lightened. The taste has lightened, with the floral (roses) note still providing much of the taste. The tart cherry taste is nearly exhausted, and the mineral (wet stones) taste remains consistent. The aftertaste and essence are also lighter.
The infused leaves vary in color from greenish-brown to copper-brown. Most of the leaves are medium to large fragments, but there are a respectable amount of whole leaves in the mix. There are no bare stems whatsoever. The pluck appears to be two leaf and bud. There are some moderately mature tips in the mix, averaging 0.5″ inches (13 mm) in length. The whole leaves average length is about one inch (25.4 mm). The aroma is floral (roses), and what seems to be a light black licorice hint.
Compared to some of the Darjeeling oolong teas that I have tried, this tea seems to be more forgiving in the taste. I have served one specific Darjeeling oolong to about ten people who all told me that they tasted squash or sweet potato, and they did not seem to mean that in a good way, despite their attempts to make it sound like it did not bother them. Although I do not taste squash or sweet potato myself, I certainly take everyones’ opinions into consideration, especially when the opinions all seem to match one another. Three of those people I had try this Oolong Tea from Mount Kanchenjunga. The result, no squash or sweet potato descriptions, just flowers. I prepared both teas under the exact same measurements of leaf, water temperature, and time.
This is a very enjoyable Oolong, fashioned in the Darjeeling oolong tradition. The aroma and taste maintained the dominant rose and cherry characters, similar to the products from Mount Kanchenjunga reviewed previously. The fresh appearance and full aroma of the dry leaves was very impressive. I can honestly say that this is one of my preferred products of this type from the Nepal and Darjeeling areas.
Thank you to Deepak at Niru Trading for providing this sample to me. Cheers!