Welcome to the October 2018 edition of the Curious Tea subscription! Let’s look at the four exciting new teas we’re sharing with our subscribers this month.
The first light tea this month is a complex woody and vegetal Five Penny green tea from Vietnam that is plucked by local hill tribes from ancient wild tea trees. The second light tea is a particularly refreshing green tea that comes from Bitaco, a tea estate high in the Colombian Andes. For the dark side of the selection we have another tea from Bitaco, this time a full bodied and flavoursome tippy black tea. Finally, the last tea we are featuring this month is a refined lightly oxidised Maharani First Flush tea from Gopaldhara Tea Estate with a complex fruity character.
- Light: Suoi Giang Five Penny and Bitaco Colombian Wiry Green;
- Dark: Bitaco Colombian Tippy Black and Darjeeling Gopaldhara Maharani;
- Mixed: Suoi Giang Five Penny and Bitaco Colombian Tippy Black.
Let’s get into further detail on the products featured in our October tea subscription boxes.
Suoi Giang Five Penny
This Suoi Giang Five Penny green tea is plucked by local hill tribes around Suoi Giang, Yen Bai Province. It is harvested from wild assamica trees that grow in ancient forests at an altitude of 1,300 metres and above. These trees grow on the high forested mountain slopes, completely naturally without any human interference; so under perfect organic conditions. June 2018 harvest.
Suoi Giang Five Penny is a true wild tea, plucked and processed entirely by the Hmong ethnic families. The Hmong ethnic group started immigrating to this area of Vietnam from the 18th century and came from Southern parts of modern day China, including from Yunnan. As they travelled south they brought with them tea processing techniques and knowledge from China. Much of the wild grown tea is sold to China to be processed into pu-erh, but some small amounts are processed locally in Vietnam using traditional orthodox production methods.
The carefully-sorted large wiry leaves of this Suoi Giang Five Penny produce a bright liquor with a yellow colour and a light vegetal aroma. The smooth taste has a woody character, with lightly sweet floral notes. There are vegetal flavours that have a touch of smokiness and tartness. The finish is mouthwatering with a pleasant degree of dryness and a touch of astringency.
We suggest brewing parameters of 70°C for 2-3 minutes according to your taste. This tea can be brewed multiple times.
You can also buy Suoi Giang Five Penny green tea in our online shop.
Bitaco Colombian Wiry Green
Bitaco Colombian Wiry Green tea is a particularly refreshing and revitalising green tea grown high up in the Colombian Andes. It has a classic vegetal green tea profile with some particularly interesting fruity and creamy notes. This batch is from the spring 2018 harvest.
This Bitaco Colombian Wiry Green tea is grown near the town of La Cumbre, situated high up in the western Andes. The altitude of the tea plantation is between 1,800 and 2,050 metres, making the growing conditions perfect for high grade tea. The prevalent weather, consistent rainfall, rich soil and mountainous slopes all combine to make a perfect but unique terroir. The area is also remote and surrounded by unspoilt natural terrain. This tea is certified organic under USDA, EU and Colombian regulations.
Bitaco Colombian Wiry Green tea has a classic profile that is bound to appeal to green tea fans. The fine tippy twisted leaves produce a bright liquor with a light and fresh vegetal aroma. The flavour is smooth, yet with a slight dryness on the aftertaste typical of many green teas. The flavours in this tea start with notes that have a fruity edge, slowly developing a more creamy and vegetal aspect, finally finishing on a slightly drying grassy aftertaste. The fruity notes are light but most interesting, vaguely reminiscent of strawberries or perhaps raspberries.
We suggest brewing parameters of 80°C for 2-3 minutes according to your taste, brewing 2 or more times.
You can also buy Bitaco Colombian Wiry Green tea in our online shop.
Bitaco Colombian Tippy Black
Bitaco Colombian Tippy Black is a strong and flavoursome black tea grown high up in the Colombian Andes. The tippy leaves are finely chopped, resulting in a bold flavour that has a classic black tea profile that is most similar to a fruity assam. This batch is from the spring 2018 harvest.
This Bitaco Colombian Tippy Black tea is grown near the town of La Cumbre, situated high up in the western Andes. The altitude of the tea plantation is between 1,800 and 2,050 metres, making the growing conditions perfect for high grade tea. The prevalent weather, consistent rainfall, rich soil and mountainous slopes all combine to make a perfect but unique terroir. The area is also remote and surrounded by unspoilt natural terrain. This tea is certified organic under USDA, EU and Colombian regulations.
Bitaco Colombian Tippy Black tea has a classic black tea profile that will appeal to drinkers who prefer their tea on the stronger side. There are definite flavour parallels with good assam black teas and high-end English Breakfast blends. The finely chopped tippy leaves produce a dark ruby liquor with a lightly malty and sweetly fruity aroma. The strong yet smooth character has mineral and stony mouth-watering notes that turn to the sweet, malty and fruity side. The aftertaste is long-lasting, slightly tannic and astringent, as expected from a full-bodied strong black tea. The processing of the leaves means that this tea can produce a very strong cup if desired, while still keeping a fine balance between the strength of the tea, the flavours and the tannic astringency. An excellent breakfast tea for that extra strong morning kick!
We suggest brewing parameters of 90°C for 2-3 minutes according to your taste. You can definitely brew this tea at hotter temperature and for longer to produce a much stronger and more tannic brew if desired. You can experiment with adding milk, but we still prefer it without.
You can also buy Bitaco Colombian Tippy Black tea in our online shop.
Darjeeling Gopaldhara Maharani
Darjeeling Gopaldhara Maharani is an exceptional First Flush tea from Gopaldhara Tea Estate in Darjeeling. Made from the best Clonal Wonder tea bushes, it is a lightly oxidised First Flush tea of exceptional quality. Like all our Gopaldhara teas, we source this tea directly from Rishi Saria, the owner and director of Gopaldhara and Rohini Tea Estates. This particular batch of tea is FTGFOP1 ‘Clonal Wonder Tea’ grade from the first flush spring 2018 crop picked in April.
Gopaldhara Tea Estate is nestled in the Mirik Valley, in the Himalayan foothills, and is one of the highest tea estates in Darjeeling with elevations of between 1,700m and 2,100m. It is renowned for producing teas of exceptional quality and very often quite unusual character.
This tea has been named Maharani by Gopaldhara Tea Estate as it represents one of the best First Flush teas produced here. Maharani, a wife of a Maharaja, or a queen ruler in her own right, is an apt name for this ‘Queen of Darjeeling’ tea. Only the best leaves are carefully hand plucked, comprising single or two whole leaves and a bud. Most of the processing of this tea is also done by hand in order to preserve the very fine quality of the leaves.
Darjeeling Gopaldhara Maharani black tea has mixed tippy leaves typical of a high grade First Flush Darjeeling. The liquor has a light, sweet and fruity aroma. The refined character of this tea is supremely smooth. There are bright notes of sweet stone fruits, like plums and peaches. The velvety fruity profile gives way to a long-lasting satisfying aftertaste that is a little stony and drying. It’s an excellent lightly oxidised tea that is perfect for pairing with food.
We suggest brewing parameters of 90°C for 3-4 minutes according to your taste, brewing multiple times.
You can also buy Darjeeling Gopaldhara Maharani black tea in our online shop.
We really do hope that you enjoy the tea selection for October and are looking forward to the next instalment in November!
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Happy tea discoveries!