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Mountain Hand Rolled (Multiple Vintages)

Region: Himachal Pradesh, India
Producer: Mann Garden
Season: 1st Flush 2020 & 2021
Batch: Various
A highly expressive hidden gem. Complex woodland and spring aromas in this special 1st flush from a little-known tea region.
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The Garden

 

At Lalani & Co, we’re always looking for new origins and unusual teas to bring into our collection, which are the most delicious of their region. The Mann garden is in the foothills of the Himalayas, in a region of India called Himachal Pradesh. Starting at Darjeeling, follow the line of the Himalayas to the north-west and you’ll go through Nepal, then back into India, in Himachal Pradesh.  Many tea drinkers have never heard of teas form this region as it doesn’t receive the same attention as Darjeeling or Nepal. The Mann tea garden has been in the same family for six generations. The garden sits at about the same elevation as some of the highest Darjeeling gardens (6,000ft), making fine, high-elevation Indian teas.

Batch OT5 2021 (60kg)

 

Picked early in the 2021 season on the 2nd April at 4,000ft from China hybrid varietals. The freshly picked tea leaves were lightly sun withered (wilted) at first. Sun withering often gives a more layered, three-dimensional flavour compared to indoor or machine drying. The leaves are carefully hand rolled and very lightly oxidised, followed by drying, to give a complex, expressive, light black tea, with excellent leaf shape and flavour structure.

 

This tea is like a delicious symphony of woodland aromas, almost like walking your way through the woods in spring. You can taste the freshness of the air and nature during the early spring when this tea was picked. There are hints of young flowers, unripe fruit, leaves, herbs, and sappy wood, with a touch of minerality in the finish.

 

We like this tea infused with 3g:150ml at 80˚C for 3 mins which gives the most balance of all the flavours. Feel free to try other temperatures if you prefer.

Batch OT1 2020 (80kg)

 

Picked at the start of the 2020 1st flush in late March, from China hybrid varietals. The 2020 was made in a similar way to the 2021: Sun withered, hand rolled, oxidised, and then machine dried. This tea was a wonderful surprise for us when we found that it ages perfectly. Those of you who are familiar with 1st flush Himalayan teas will know how they are best young; however, this tea breaks those rules. As it ages, the tea softens, sweetens, and loosens up. The unripe fruit notes start to ripen, the florals become slightly richer, the minerality reduces, and the woody notes change from tight and sappy to a little more seasoned. It’s almost as if the woodland is maturing.

 

Also, this tea is an example of the debate amoung tea professionals and enthusiasts about what makes a tea either black or oolong. This batch comes labelled as ‘Hand Rolled Oolong’ although it is technically a very light black tea in our opinion, having been heated as the final step in the process. Oolongs are further processed post-heating. Vintages from 2021 onwards will be labelled as ‘Mountatin Hand Rolled’.

Storage and Ageing

 

Store in a cool, dry place away from sunlight. Surprisingly for 1st flush teas, these age wonderfully. I expect the ageing curve to last 5 years and suggest buying some to drink now and some to age.