This is the perfect tea for a day of rain…
Cultivated in the highlands of the Himalayas at an elevation above 7000ft, the tea plant leaves grow in a pristine natural environment free from roads, pollution and pesticides. The Meghma Oolong Tea Project began as an effort to improve the poor living conditions of the local people in Meghma, Nepal by helping them to re-discover the ancient art of manufacturing Asian Oolong tea. This tea is manufactured by hand as an artisan tea.
The tea, when dry, has loads of glorious buds…very tippy. One thing I’ve noticed about oolongs from the Indian subcontinent is that they generally do not look uniform. What I mean by that is whereas a Chinese Oolong often will look very uniform in terms of colour and shape, Oolongs from India and Nepal seem to have a little bit of variation.
The dry leaf smells sweet and soft, with a bouquet of flowers and a little savouriness. The liquor is much the same: sweet and smooth with notes of stone-fruit and muscatel, and a slight savoury backbone. There is a lingering, subtle, sweet aftertaste accompanied by a little dryness in the throat.
The flavour is not particularly complex, nor one that changes from infusion to infusion (although a slight maltiness creeps in, reminiscent of a Chinese Yunnan Imperial, as the floral notes drop off) so it has potential to become a little boring. The tea also tastes just like a lighter or a slightly different version of what we normally know as Darjeeling black tea (or red, as the Chinese prefer). I wonder if the Oolong processing has really done much to the tea itself or if we are merely tasting the same terrior (e.g. Darjeeling and surrounds) over and over…? Only a real expert could say.
Brewing this tea is remarkably easy and it’s reasonably forgiving if you want to experiment with brewing times.