Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Darjeeling Among Us

What? You haven't tried this tea yet?  Only 15K were produced and we have one of them.  It is going fast and when it is gone it is gone.

We first learned of the  very special tea Treasure Gold, an autumnal Darjeeling from the Oakyti Plantation, from our good friend Frank Benjowski owner of Teehandelshaus Benjowski in Berlin, Germany.  Frank is a passionate teashop owner and connoisseur who has traveled the world in search of special teas for his impressive teashop. 
Frank is particularly known for his knowledge of Nepalese and Indian teas some of which are available exclusively at his shop.  It is from him that we obtained this wonderful tea.
Treasure Gold’s story and why we decided to add it to the tea inventory of Morning Crane Tea, a primarily Korean tea company, is fascinating.  Of special note, you may wonder why only 15 kilo were made this year and why it is not available every year.  This is truly a very rare tea.  Click here for the full story.  You won't regret it.  
Let's simply look at and vicariously taste the tea. 
I am first struck with the amazing bouquet emanating from the container - the rich flavor permeates the air, envelops me and draws me in.  The leaves are rich and varied and obviously all gold.  Only the drying and oxidation has changed them, imbuing each with a delectable provocative flavor.
On closer examination we discover tiny ‘hairs’ covering the leaves.  They must contribute to the savory taste that follows.  Are these the same coveted tiny hairs found on orange pekoe leaves?
For this tasting, I decided to use 4.25g of leaves in an 8oz glass teapot.  Although the pot is a little large, I wanted to show you the leaves in action and the rich color of the liquor. 8oz is as large as I personally go when brewing any tea.

This image is of the first infusion taken about 10-15 seconds after pouring the water; i.e. pour the water grab the camera and take the shot. 

With the first sip, I am struck at the abundant qi-cha that hits me quickly.  The tea is not bitter but rather smooth and tasty with floral hints that coat the mouth and tongue - slightly sweet with subtle spice and notes of citrus.  The taste is deep and long, holding its own after four infusions and it could have gone several more but I was eager to write this post.  In addition, with 8oz for each infusion, I was drinking a lot of tea.  Sorry, being a potter, I’m still not one who is good at describing taste.  Hopefully I can give you a sense of the experience.
This image is after 3 infusions.

After four infusions I decided to image the leaves. 

They have not yet begun to open and, as I said, they seem to have much more to offer.  I’m not familiar with Darjeeling teas.  Will these leaves ever open?

Long after drinking the last cup, I was struck with the still lingering ‘mouth memory’ of this wonderful tea.

Your special price:
$15.00 for 40g when purchased with any other of our premium teas. 
$16.00 for 40g when purchased alone.  Ask for Tea Flight prices on 3 or more different teas. 
Sorry we have a very limited supply so, for now, only one bag per customer.  Contact us.
I should end by saying a word about the cup.  
I selected a beautifully simple celadon cup of a perfect color for this tea.  The cup was made by the wonderful female ceramic artist Kim Yu Sung.  Kim Yu Sung is one of the only female celadon artists to have won the prestigious Gangjin Celadon Award at Gangjin Korea’s annual celadon competition held each year during the Gangjin Celadon Festival.  Receiving this award placed her among the nation’s best celadon artists.  I particularly like celadon for these darker teas - the perfect cup for this delicious tea. 
We will soon have Kim Yu Sung's beautiful tea ware available here at Morning Crane Tea. Click here to learn more about the cup.  Contact us if you would like to learn more about Kim Yu Sung and the other new tea ware artists we are making available this year.