|"This gorgeous long-leaf tea can be summed up in two words: elegant simplicity."|
This tea comes from the easternmost state of India: Arunachal Pradesh, a mountainous terrain which borders the state of Assam to the south. The area ranges from humid and sub-tropical to near-Tundra-like climates, due to its location in the Himalayas. As late as just a few months ago, the governor of the region had urged Assam's bigwig tea manufacturers to help Arunachal Pradesh become a more prominent force in tea production - specifically suggesting a focus on organic teas. As such, I suspect we may see more out of this region in coming years.
Its leaves are a lovely sight to behold: tightly-rolled long leaves, about 95% rich ebony color, with a sprinkling of lighter woody-colored leaves. During the steeping process, the majority of them tend to unfurl into their original lance-shaped state. I was astonished to find one 3-inch long leaf lying in my cup! The light golden color of the liquor gives hints at the tea's ultra-mellow smoothness on the palette. The scent of the dry tea gives off a chocolate truffle aroma which all but dissipates with the brew.
The purveyor's preferred infusion is 5 minutes at 190-208 degrees. I wholeheartedly agree with the higher end of this recommendation, as the tightly-rolled leaves work their magic into the liquor with the higher temperature. My first cupping was at the recommended 5 minutes and about middle of the temperature range given. The second cup I brewed for 4 minutes but a higher full-boil temperature. Both cups were extremely exquisite, and I don't dare change up the formula too much in fear of wasting any of his precious tea. I did not add anything to this tea, nor do I ever plan to, as I fear the slightest drop of milk would spoil its unique flavor, and any sweetener would be ridiculously unnecessary. Dare I say this is one of the finer teas I've come across yet. The fact that it is currently completely sold out at the source at the time of this writing speaks volumes.
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