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New teas in October Part I: Oolongs & Black Tea

 [ IMAGE Dry leaves of the 2009 Meghma Oolong from Nepal ] Sorry for the lack of posts on our blog lately. I just realized that I haven’t posted anything new for almost 3 months! Fortunately, this doesn’t mean that nothing is happening at Ya-Ya, rather the opposite. Things have been really busy. We had a great time at the 2009 Vegetarian Expo in Christchurch and managed to catch up with a lot of people we haven’t seen since we closed our premises in Lichfield St. We’ve also sourced some exciting new teas recently. In this post, I want to introduce some of the new arrivals.

2009 Organic Meghma Oolong

(pictured at the top of this post)

Those of you who have tried last year’s Meghma Limited Edition Oolong know, that the small Meghma tea estate in Nepal produces quite outstanding teas. Mr. Tamang, the tea master at Meghma, produces teas with a very unique character. While his teas have always reminded me of teas produces around Mt. Wuyi in Fujian Province, China, they blend in the muscatel notes  found in quality Darjeeling teas (not too surprising due to the geographic proximity). Drinking Meghma tea is not only delicious, but you’re supporting a good cause as well. The tea estate was set up to improve the living conditions in the region and all profits flow back into the community.
While I personally prefer Meghma’s Limited Edition Oolong, I am aware that the price tag is a little high for most casual tea drinkers. So we decided to also stock a more affordable grade to make it possible for everyone to taste this wonderful Nepalese oolong.

2009 Organic Meghma Oolong, $14.50 / 100g (If you’d like to buy some, please visit our ordering page)

Heavy roast organic Dancong Oolong

 [ IMAGE A highly roasted Dancong Oolong ] Another new arrival with very different characteristics is the heavily roasted phoenix oolong (more commonly known as dancong) from Guandong Province, China. Most people who had the opportunity to taste our fantastic Ba Xian Dancong are immediately taken by its intensely floral fragrance. But despite the intensity of its fragrance, it’s essentially a tea with a medium body (it’s equally far from full as it is from ethereal). Some people – especially those new to oolong – find its floral notes overwhelming and its body too light. For those – and anybody with an interest in high quality oolong, really -, our new heavy roast organic dancong might prove to be a great choice. While the floral fragrance is still there, it has been complimented with a grounding earthy, toasty flavour due to the heavy roasting it went through (the flavour is similar to some of the more floral Wuyi rock oolongs). This process also boosts the body, making it a very nicely rounded tea. This is definitely not  your ‘normal’ dancong  (especially since non-roasted, floral oolongs are currently en vogue in China), but it is a great addition to our oolong offerings.

Heavy roast organic Dancong, $24.20 / 100g (If you’d like to buy some, please visit our ordering page)

2009 Organic Autumnal Tie Guan Yin

I must admit that I like this year’s fall harvest Tie Guan Yin (‘Iron Goddess of Mercy’) almost better than last year’s. It’s very fresh, light and above all – durable. It’s easy to spend a whole afternoon with this tea, pouring one infusion after another. It’s a little more floral and has a lighter body than our 2008 version. And due to more favourable exchange rates, it’s a bit cheaper as well.

2009 Organic Autumnal Tie Guan Yin, $22.40 / 100g (If you’d like to buy some, please visit our ordering page)

Organic Yunnan Black Needle

 [ IMAGE Yunnan Black Needle Tea ] This last tea for today is a tea I have a difficult time imagining people who would NOT like it. When I first tried this tea, I started as usual with smelling the dry leaves. Upon opening the canister, the leaves exude a rich, comforting and sweet aroma full of forest honey notes. It’s just irresistible and I am always looking forward to open the canister to package some customer order and indulge in this fantastic fragrance! The infusion follows up on the promise of the aroma and you’re rewarded with a full-bodied, slightly smokey and fairly sweet tea that doesn’t cease to amaze. Anyone who appreciates a good Keemun Mao Feng should give the Organic Yunnan Black Needles a try. I promise you won’t regret it!
An added bonus is its low price: costing only $14.10 / 100g it compares very favourably with teas two or three time its price. As a matter of fact, one of our customers, whom I had sent an early sample of this tea, send me an email with the following line: “I really liked the black needles sample – how much is it a 100g? I’m a bit scared to ask!” That’s just how good it is.

Organic Yunnan Black Needle, $14.10 / 100g (If you’d like to buy some, please visit our ordering page)

As the title of this posts suggests, there’s another part to come with more new teas. The next part will cover green and yellow tea, as well as a nicely stored raw pu-erh from 2001. Stay tuned, more very soon.

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