Assam Latumoni Bohagi Oolong is a very fine completely handmade First Flush Assam Oolong from Latumoni, a very small family-run tea garden located in Tingkhong, Upper Assam. The careful hand processing in small individual batches results in stunning looking leaves. This tea is then processed as an oolong with medium oxidation as well as roasting to create a balanced tea. It was harvested in late Spring 2020 from plants grown naturally and without use of chemical fertilisers or pesticides. Only 23kg of this tea was made!
The small tea garden only measures approximately 2 acres. It was planted by Sailen and his late father. Originally the leaves from this small plantation like those of many others were bought by the larger factories of Assam to increase their capacity. However with large corporate gardens having full control over the purchasing of the leaves from small scale farmers and little competition this has lead to a significant decrease in the price offered to the farmers. This essentially has created a situation where the small scale farmers were exploited by the large corporate estates. Sailen decided to change the way he was running the plantation, to switch to organic growing methods and to start producing his own artisanal teas.
We work together with a specialist wholesaler in Assam who only works with small scale farmers like Sailen. They do not just resell the farmers’ teas but also provide support and financial help to small scale farmers to enable them to produce great quality tea – such as investing into machinery and providing them with knowhow. This guarantees small scale farmers like Sailen a fair price for their tea and provides investment into their farm to support their family’s future. This is in complete contrast with teas from many large Assam estates where most of the price paid for the tea ends up with the estate and little trickles down to the farmers.
Generally Second Flush Assam harvests are the most prized as they have richer and more full-bodied profiles that are popular with fans of Assam-style strong black teas. However this lot is from the spring harvest, and as the leaves are finer and have a more nuanced profile, evidently are better suited for this experimental style of oolong. The leaves of this tea are carefully handpicked from demarcated sections of the plantation over a 3-5 day picking period. This means that each batch of this tea tastes different to the next (this is batch #001). After picking the leaves are hand-rolled in small batches to avoid breakage and to preserve unique flavour profiles of each picking. This tea is only partially oxidised to preserve it as an oolong-style and it has been roasted to create a tea that is a little more similar to a Chinese medium oxidation lightly roasted oolong.
The dry leaves of Assam Latumoni Bohagi Oolong are large and have a mixed colour. When brewed it is possible to see that they are very neat, consisting or smaller leaves and buds. The mixed colour of the leaves also become more evident, pointing to the medium oxidation. The flavours are complex, with a mineral profile and a balanced character. The liquor gives off an inviting lightly floral and baked aroma. The taste is light, with mineral, floral and baked wheat notes. The mineral aftertaste has a light fruity citrus edge. This is definitely not a standard Assam tea!
We suggest brewing at 90°C for 3-4 minutes according to your taste. It can be brewed a couple of times depending on your taste preferences.