Tumoi Nandi Hills Oolong is a rather unusual oolong that has a profile that is mineral and stony. Grown around Nandi Hills at an altitude of over 2,000 metres by the Tumoi Teas Cooperative without the use of pesticides; it is processed using traditional orthodox tea production methods. This Tumoi Nandi Hills Oolong is from the summer 2017 harvest.
Unlike our Purple Green tea from Tumoi, this one does not come from the new purple cultivar. Instead, a more conventional tea plant (also used for the Tumoi Nandi Hills Green and Tumoi Nandi Hills Black) is used to produce an oolong with a profile that has a prominent mineral aspect. This oolong definitely has more appeal to fans of mineral and stony, lightly oxidised teas from Darjeeling rather than the more floral and fruity oolongs.
Tumoi Teas Cooperative is a relatively new type of tea farmer cooperative in Kenya that focuses on creating beautiful tea while also supporting local farmers and the local community. While a large proportion of tea plantations in Kenya are owned by multinational corporations, Tumoi Teas is completely run and managed by small-scale tea farmers.
Tumoi specifically focuses on producing high-quality orthodox teas. The rationale behind this is that the Kenyan tea industry is dominated by CTC (cut-tear-curl) teas destined for tea bags. The CTC market is very volatile with large corporations buying up the majority of CTC tea and generally trying to drive the prices down. This results in very little return for the farmers. In contrast, farmers that grow small scale but high quality teas are more in control over pricing and enjoy much fairer returns for their labour.
This Tumoi Nandi Hills Oolong has rather neat leaves of mixed size with a dark colour. The liquor produced has an amber colour, very good clarity and a light mineral aroma. The flavours are predominantly mineral and stony, reminiscent of lightly oxidised Darjeeling teas. While this tea lacks some of the complexity that some oolongs can possess, it nevertheless has a pronounced and clearly defined flavour. This tea also displays a degree of astringency that mainly comes from the tannic and drying notes. The aftertaste is most reminiscent of grape skins, displaying a level of fruitiness but also astringency and dryness.
It is best brewed at 90°C for 2-3 minutes and should be brewed around two times depending on your taste. You can reduce the brewing temperature and time to reduce the tannins. While we think that the black version of this tea makes an excellent choice for breakfast tea; this Tumoi Nandi Hills Oolong by contrast is a great companion in the afternoon, paired with cakes and pastries.