Here is another interesting product from Plucky Teas and the Amba Estate located in the Uva district of Sri Lanka. As if their original OP1 black tea is not phenomenal all on it’s own in regard to aroma, taste, and appearance, Plucky Teas decided to give the OP1 an aesthetic upgrade by blending some tea flowers in to this batch. I highlight the aesthetic upgrade only because I have a hard time believing that this tea can be upgraded by any margin in regard to aroma and taste. The original OP1 black tea from Plucky Teas definitely holds a top three position in my preferred black tea category.
I am not expecting much difference from the review I did on the OP1 a month or so ago, but any variety of this tea certainly is deserving of some exposure and praise. Let the journey begin…
The dry leaves have a uniform dark brown to black color. The tea flowers are yellow to pale orange in color. The leaves are long and finely twisted, and a good number of leaves appear to be unbroken. The aroma is incredible, with scents of dried papaya, toffee, and honey. This smells more like a candy mix than dry tea leaves.
Five grams of dry leaves were placed in an 8.5 ounce (240 ml) kyusu teapot. Filtered tap water was heated to 205°F (96°C). The leaves were infused for 1 minute thirty seconds on the first infusion, one minute on the second, and one minute fifteen on the third.
The first infusion produced a liquor with a beautiful, bright, lively orange color with a slight reddish tint and a perfect golden ring, clear and transparent. The aroma is mesmerizing, with scents of papaya, toffee, honey, black licorice, mint, and light citrus. The body is medium, with a perfectly rounded and layered feel. The taste has notes of juicy papaya, toffee, mint, light black licorice, and citrus undertones. There is a modest brisk character. The aftertaste is minty, sweet, and slightly spicy, with a menthol effect being left in the mouth. It is difficult to wrap your mind around the number of tastes and effects that can be pulled from this tea.
The second infusion produced a very slightly darker shade of orange with red tint. Again, this liquor has an aesthetic quality that I have not seen in other teas. The aroma retained all of the qualities of the first infusion. The taste has lighter notes of papaya, and stronger citrus notes. It is also slightly more brisk than the first infusion, leaving a slightly dry feel in the mouth, which is balanced by the mentholated effect. The second infusion was somewhat different than the first, but by no means of lesser quality.
The third infusion produced a liquor with a color nearly identical to the first infusion. Still bright and enticing. The taste had a lighter briskness, and the papaya and citrus notes balanced very well. The minty, spicy, and sweet tastes all remain. There is almost no quality lost from the first to third infusions.
I had to take a photo of the fourth infusion. Although this infusion did lighten in aroma and taste ever so slightly, it was still incredibly aromatic and tasteful. I infused these leaves a total of six times before deciding to retire for the night. How many black teas can you get six quality infusions from?! This is one of the few!
The infused leaves had a uniform light brown color with some green spots. There are quite a few unbroken leaves, and the rest are large fragments. There are no stems present, and some buds. The unbroken leaves are long and not very wide. Despite six infusions, the leaves are not as delicate as I would expect them to be. The aroma of the leaves, noted after the first infusion, has scents of black licorice, papaya, and light floral.
I don’t think I need to elaborate much on this tea. The review speaks for itself. This tea is truly one of a kind, artisanal black tea. I suggest buying it by the kilo from Plucky Teas, as I plan to in the near future. However, if you have a more reasonable tea habit than I do, you may also find samples at the Tealet Teas website. Try this tea now!
Thank you, Plucky Teas, for providing these high quality samples! My highest praises for all of your products! Cheers!