By Patrick Mulholland
If you’re anything like me, supermarket tea has been a staple part of your liquid diet from a young age, whether it be the store’s own brand, PG Tips, Yorkshire Tea or so on.
As I got older, I moved to more interesting types of tea (Earl Grey, Assam, Ceylon), and dabbled with instant coffee throughout university. Skipping forward a few years, my career in hospitality was underway! As such, I was exposed to the more nuanced side of hot drinks.
What I never expected in my journey was to find myself going full circle back to tea… In particular, speciality tea!
After stumbling across a few YouTube channels, notably Mei Leaf, tea had my full attention and I was keen to delve deeper.
The first tea that blew me away, and is still one of my favourites as I’m discovering more, is Little Tong Mu. This unsmoked Lapsang is cultivated in the Famed town of Tong Mu in the Fujian Province of China. This tea is grown high in the mountains at around 1300m above sea level, and this particular batch was harvested in April 2020.
Brewing consists of 4.5g of loose leaf per 100ml of water at 90 degrees. A rinse with hot water to shake loose any smaller leaves or tea dust that may end up in my cup, then 10 seconds for the first infusion, adding 5 seconds to each infusion after that.
The smell of the leaf is that of Fresh Wet Oak and Flowering Magnolia, followed by a lingering combination of Zesty Fruits and Sugary Shortbread Biscuits. Pouring the tea into a cup reveals a beautifully rich Amber liqueur, whilst the wet leaf opens up to show Burnt Umber & Sienna coloured leaves.
Tasting the tea for the first time, I was instantly hit with Plum Jam, Lychee and Rose, with an aftertaste close to a sweetness of Muscatel Wine. Combined with a Medium Body, smooth like velvet or silk, it leaves a long lasting, soothing feel in the mouth, inspiring calmness and clarity.
So I invite you to try this outstanding tea that will alight your senses and warm your soul.