The Sipper Club June 2018 Edition

Himalayan Smoked Oolong

This month The Sipper Club begins its tour through a selection of amazing Himalayan teas. We are beyond excited to share these with you as they have become daily players in our tea HQ! Each morning we can't go past the fragrant leaves that add so much life and warmth to frosty Auckland mornings! First up, Himalayan Smoked Oolong:

This smooth and flavoursome tea comes from Sandakphu in the Ilam region of Nepal. This region is where we are focusing our Himalayan tea journey and you will get to taste the best of what it has to offer!

Sandakphu is the highest habitable point in the district of Ilam, which is located in the far eastern part of Nepal adjoining Sikkim and the Darjeeling hills of India. Sandakphu is a place also claimed by Darjeeling in India because the eastern slope of Sandakphu peak falls in India. It is reputedly recognized as a place for the monks to meditate.

Imagine yourself here in Ilam at 6000-7000ft altitude as you sip on our tea of the month!

Imagine yourself here in Ilam at 6000-7000ft altitude as you sip on our tea of the month!

The production of Himalayan Smoked Oolong is during the summer and autumn seasons.  The tender 2 leaves and a bud is hand plucked early in the morning or later in the afternoon before sunset. These leaves are sent for processing immediately so as to retain the freshness of the leaf. The leaves are then spread on large troughs where alternating cool and warm air is supplied throughout the night depending on weather conditions. The leaves are then rolled hard for 25 minutes and then they are de-enzymed and shaped simultaneously in a shaping or balling machine. Leaves are then cooled and kept overnight to mature. The next day leaves are then dried with oak or pine smoke and then kept overnight again. Finally, this smoked tea is dried in a chain dryer, hand sorted and is ready for the teapot. 

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Drinking this tea from a glass cup allows you to enjoy the bright golden-amber tea liquor.

Brewing guide:

To get the most out of this tea, make sure your water is at approximately 85 degrees. If the water is too hot, it will taste overly astringent and you will miss out on all the smooth, chocolatey-caramel goodness that it has to offer!

Keep your infusion times on the shorter side - no more than 2 minutes for the first infusion and then increase slightly with subsequent infusions. Pour off small sips to test if you are unsure. You will get at least 2 wonderful, flavoursome infusions.

Flavour profile

  • Malt
  • Caramel
  • Chocolate
  • Leather
  • Oak
  • Smooth + good astringency
  • Light smoke

Holy wow. This tea is delicious. When brewed with the right water, the smooth + aromatic malty chocolate notes come through immediately. This is followed by subtle caramel, leather, oak, and finishes with a light smokiness that lingers in the mouth a little. 

When you first smell the dry leaves, the aroma of smoke is very strong - but this does not translate into the tea infusion. The smokey flavour is very light and does not monopolise the drinking experience as you may expect. 

We hope you adore and appreciate this unique and wonderful tea that is not widely available! It will assist in keeping you toasty warm and snug this winter and will hopefully give you moments of calm + inspiration with its glowing amber colour and earthy aromas.

We will continue our Himalayan tea journey next month!

All the best,

BTC

 

 

 

 

Rebecca Le Harle