Putharjhora Natural Leaf (organic, fair-trade) 2014
I like white tea. This kind of tea originates in China and there are only four traditional white teas. But recently the white tea experience some kind of "boom" and may be because of this we can see more often the new type of white teas. They usually disappoint me, but not this time.
I admit, that till now I didn´t know Dooars tea region. The garden Putharjhora is located at the root of the Himalayas southeast from Daarjeling at an altitude some 400 meters above sea level. So this is not alpine tea.
This tea was manufactured in the style of white teas according to the seller. The leaves were cerefully picked than transported to the withering grates within an one hour. They were spread in a very thin layer. The leaves were dried only by cool air. The length of drying or withering, which is very important at traditional white teas, is not mentioned. At the end of the drying processe a 120 °C hot air was used for twenty minutes. There is also emphasis on the fact, that the tea garden respects the principles of organic agriculture and fair-trade. The seller also describes a short characteristic of the flavour (light floral tones).
The dry leaf is beautiful. It consists of the shoot and two closest leaves (it is the same as the majority of White peonys). The leaf is very bulky, I haven‘t see any bulkier tea before. The leaf is almost undamaged, which is unusual in the case of unrolled, untwisted, just naturally withered tea. The colour is dull green-yellow and on touch the leaves are tough and leathery. In the dry state there are almost none darker oxidized parts of the leaves and so the tea looks rather like a green tea.
I recommend you to infuse the first infusion at least for one minute. The water penetrates the tough leaves slowly. The tea will be very weak and watery if you use shorter infusion time. For the second infusion fifteen seconds is enough and then you should gradually increase the infusion time as always. The darker oxidized parts of the leaves start to appear during the infusion. These spots are not sharply defined, irregularly positioned and the green colour shines through them. So, I think that the tea was indeed manufactured in the similar way as withering of chinese white tea. The dark spots are few and therefore I presume that the drying/withering was shorter than in the case of chinese white teas.
The flavour of this tea is interesting for its simplicity and directness. There are teas (shu pchu-er for example) which are typical for their rich flavour, that consists of many parts. On the other hand the flavour of this tea contain only a few parts. These parts work together beautifully – nothing is missing and nothing is beyond. I assume, that because of the simplicity of its flavour, the tea will not be fitting to everyone. This is definitely not the tea that has flavour „in which everyone will find something that he likes”. It is also interesting, that there were some metal tones in the flavour but they were not disturbing. The flavour is full and completely different from chinese white teas.
I was pleasantly surprised by this tea. It taught me, that India is not only Daarjeling and that the one czech proverb „simplicity is good” is true also in the case of teas.