November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). In the spirit of the month, instead of writing 50,000 words in 30 days, I’m going to write a short review every day, up to a maximum of 300 words. Think of it is NaNoReMo (National Novel Review Month). This month I’ll do short reviews of books, varieties of tea, and even individual short stories as the mood strikes. So read on!
Today’s tea is Manaslu Spring Tippy Black Tea, and it’s part of the stash of samples that Nepali Tea Traders sent me earlier this year. As with the other teas I received from them, the sample packet was generous:
If the label didn’t say that this was black tea, I wouldn’t have believed it. Considering that the instructions say to brew it at 185°F, which is roughly 85°C, this tea is pretty similar to Darjeeling in that it technically is a black tea, but shares many characteristics with less oxidized blends.
That’s obvious when you get a close look at the leaf, which, as the name Manaslu Spring Tippy Black Tea suggests, is rich with golden, fuzzy tips. It looks incredibly fresh and unprocessed.
In other words, it looks an awful lot like a white tea. And it smells like one too! It has that fresh, haylike sweetness reminiscent of other white teas, especially the white teas from Nepali Tea Traders that I’ve already tried.
Since the dry leaf was so fluffy, I didn’t steep 1 teaspoon of tea in 8 oz of water as suggested — a measurement of “1 teaspoon” is imprecise. Instead, I measured out 2 grams of tea and steeped it in 12 oz of water at the suggested temperature for 3 minutes.
The resulting brew darkened quickly from pale straw to light golden amber. The spent tea leaves smelled mild and vegetal.
The first sip was similarly light: it tasted mild, with a soft mouthfeel and no astringency. The aftertaste was slightly sweet and juicy, with a hint of honey lingering on the back of the tongue.
This was a surprisingly gentle black tea, but it definitely reminds me of other teas in Nepali Tea Traders’ catalogue.