On October 14th of 2013, my journey through the world of tea tasting took me to the Makaibari Estate, in the Darjeeling area of India. This sample was provided by Lochan Tea Limited.
The Makaibari Tea Estates are located in Kurseong, West Bengal, India. The owner of the Makaibari Tea Estates, Rajah Banerjee, is proud of the biodynamic and sustainable practices, and dedication to natural harmony that his estates employ. Read more about Makaibari Tea Estates at their homepage by clicking here.
The sample pack has been opened, and an interesting blend of Darjeeling tea and Chinese green tea scents have filled my office. Let the journey begin…
The dry tea leaves have a bright to dark green color, with some silver tips. The size and shape of the leaves are fairly uniform. The leaves appear to be leaf fragments, with an occasional almost fully intact leaf. Unlike many other Darjeeling teas, this appears to be a “true” green tea, not showing any signs of oxidation during production. The aroma is sweet, like dried fruit and cocoa. There are no vegetal or nutty scents that I can determine.
The standard preparation method was used with this sample. Purified spring water was heated to 175°F (80°C). Seven and a half grams of dry tea leaves were placed in a 20 ounce (600 ml) cast iron tetsubin teapot. The tea leaves were infused for 1 minute and 30 seconds.
The first infusion produced a liquor that had a bright, pale yellow color, clear and transparent. The aroma is light, floral and slightly vegetal. The body of the liquor is light to medium, with a clean, refreshing texture. The taste is floral (orchid), vegetal, and a slight astringency that provides a nice balance of flavors. The aftertaste is light and floral.
The second infusion produced a liquor that was slightly darker than the first infusion, but remains a bright pale yellow color. The aroma remains light, floral, and vegetal. The body of the liquor remains light to medium, very slightly heavier than the first infusion. The taste has taken on stronger floral (orchid) notes, the astringency is slightly more noticeable, and the vegetal notes remain but not as strong. The aftertaste remains floral.
The third infusion produced a liquor that was darker than the first infusion but lighter than the second infusion. The color remains a bright, pale yellow. The aroma is very light, floral and vegetal. The body is light. The taste has lightened from the second infusion, but is certainly acceptable. The floral notes have lightened, the astringency remains mild, and the vegetal taste is more noticeable than in the second infusion. The aftertaste is floral, and lingers in the sinuses.
The infused leaves are light to dark green with an occasional brown leaf. Some other leaves have brown spots. It appears as though some oxidation did occur during processing. There are more fully intact leaves than I initially expected. The leaves are smaller, and the percentage of fragments is higher than the percentage of fully intact leaves. There are a few bare stems, and an occasional bud. The leaves are quite delicate. I would not expect much flavor out of the fourth infusion. The aroma of the leaves is very slightly floral, but mostly a fresh wet leaf smell.
This Darjeeling green tea was a pleasant break from the normal Chinese, Japanese, and Korean green teas. The floral taste was very pleasant, with the vegetal notes and mild astringency providing a nice balance. The texture was very clean, and overall the tea was very refreshing. This tea had a special feel to it that could not be described as a flavor. It gave a sense of relaxation. Some teas have that ability, and when one is found, appreciate it. This Makaibari Green Wonder 2nd Flush tea from Lochan Tea Limited was perfect for this busy Monday morning. Light, refreshing, and relaxing. Thank you, Lochan family, for giving me an opportunity to try this tea.