image: Terroir Tea Merchant
Let's dig into the latest teas added to our curated online store. These are two artisan teas from our January monthly box. Now available in our online shop here!
In our Monthly Box we aim for a delicious variety of teas every month. You need teas for all moods, right?
January's box was pretty special. We got our hands on a premium Taiwanese oolong and a really unique black tea from Nepal. Nepal is still an up-and-coming tea region, so their teas are affordable. If you find a reputable vendor, you can get Nepalese teas that are comparable to fine Darjeelings! We get into detail about these two teas below.
First, a look at where these teas came from. We went over to Victoria, a small city on the southern coast of Vancouver Island, in BC and met with the owners of Terroir Tea Merchant. Their tea salon is an industrial-inspired escape on a street of boutique shops and restaurants. Inside Terroir, we sat at the tea bar and watched our tea flight be prepared in a Steampunk tea brewing machine! So cool!
Below you'll find information provided to us by Terroir Tea Merchant on how these two January featured teas are grown, harvested and processed. Plus, learn how to steep Gong Fu and Western styles.
Origin: Alishan, Taiwan
Plant varietal: Qing Xin (Green Heart) varietal
Tea Farm Elevation: 1200 metres above sea level
Harvest method: Hand picked in small batches
Processing: 25% oxidation, light roasting
Flavour Profile: Sweet, floral, roasted nuts and asparagus.
Terroir: This rare spring tea was the first pick from an ecological farm that doesn’t use pesticides or chemical fertilisers. The grower insists on planting and processing tea based on tea grower spirits, thus ensuring the tea contains the real taste of tea called the “taste of nature.”
This high mountain oolong is produced in Alishan, one of the most famous tea growing regions in Taiwan. Alishan is known for having warm temperatures in a subtropical yet mountainous region with a continual mist that causes the plants to grow slowly because of the abundant cloud cover and reduced exposure to sunlight, thus producing tea leaves with intense flavours and aromas. The dense surrounding forest and nutrient rich soil are all part of this unique terroir that produces some of the best oolongs in the world.
The dry leaf aroma is milky and buttery and once infused, the small and delicate leaves open fully and reveal a vegetal note of spinach. The flavour is well balanced with notes of asparagus, sweet floral, and a hint of roasted nuts that lingers on the palate with a gentle and pleasant finish.
3g (1 tsp) of tea per 250 ml of water (1 cup)
First infusion: rinse leaves with 90ºC water for 10 seconds and discard water, then steep for 3 minutes at 90ºC
You can steep the leaves again in the same sitting. Watch as the leaves unfurl. For additional infusions, gradually increase steeping time with each infusion.
Gong Fu Cha
7g (2 tsp) in a small, 100ml Gaiwan (pictured below)
First infusion: rinse leaves with 90ºC water for 10 seconds and discard water, then steep fora short 20-30 seconds at 90ºC.
Second and third infusions: steep for 20-30 seconds at 90ºC
Additional infusions: double infusion time with each additional infusion
Origin: Dhankuta District in Eastern Nepal
Tea Farm Elevation: 1800 metres above sea level
Harvest: Autumnal flush, hand-picked every 5-7 days
Processing: Orthodox SFTGFOP1, hand picked, processed and sorted
Flavour Profile: Dark chocolate, wood, sweet honey and walnut
Terroir: The small, 100 acre Kuwapani plantation sits in the Dhankuta District in Eastern Nepal with the majestic Makalu mountain, the 5th highest peak in the world, towering overhead.
Having originally been the site of an Angora rabbit farm, which was closed down and barren for centuries prior to this, these tea gardens are quite new having been planted in 1998 and only undergoing harvest since 2005. The tea bushes have been planted on steep hillsides to experience cool breezes off of the Himalayas and when combined with the high number of heavy mist days, provide an exceptional environment which reduces the speed of growth and heightens the full complexity of flavours.
At this altitude the gardens experience 21oC highs and 13oC lows during summer, while the winter sees a range between 12oC and 5oC, perfect for the young clonal bushes carefully selected for their exceptionally aromatic leaves which have to be smelled to be believed. The plantation continues to grow in reputation as it undergoes a full organic conversion.
2 – 21/2 tsp of tea per 250 ml (1 cup)
First infusion: 3 mins at 95oC
Second infusion: 3 – 4 mins at 95oC