It seems like it has been a long time since my last review. To be honest, I am starting to run low on interesting samples to review, and some that I do have would produce reviews that are slightly redundant due to the similar types of teas that these sample packages contain. Also, I have had an opportunity come my way that has taken some of my time from my reviews, and I hope to have more of an announcement forthcoming on that opportunity within a few months.
Anyway, enough excuses and talk, let’s get to the review. Today, I am focusing on the Superior Grade Flowery Pekoe Black Tea from the Craigmore Plantations. The Craigmore Plantations are located in the Nilgiri Hills of Tamil Nadu state, in southern India. This Superior Grade Flowery Pekoe is considered high altitude grown, with the average altitude being about 5,500 feet (1,675 meters) above sea level.
The sample packet has been opened, and this black tea certainly has a very fresh flowery scent. Let the journey begin…
The dry leaves have a perfectly uniform black color. There are very few stems in the mix. The leaves are all medium sized fragments, machine rolled, and shaped more like small lightly rolled pellets, which is consistent with the pekoe grade. The pellets have a rigid, very dry feel, and crack easily into coarse pieces. The smell has scents of fresh wild flowers, malt, white pepper, light sweet wood, and perhaps a very light touch of candied cranberries.
Three grams of dry leaves were placed in a five ounce (150 ml) porcelain infusion cup. Purified water was heated to 205°F (96°C). The leaves were infused for 4:00 minutes.
My suggestion for at home preparation is to use three grams of dry leaves for every six to eight ounces (180 to 240 ml) of water to be used. Heat water to 205°F (96°C). Steep the leaves for 3:00 minutes. The same serving of leaves may be used twice, with the expectation of the second infusion being lighter in character.
The first infusion produced a liquor with a bright reddish-orange color, clear and transparent. The smell has scents of white pepper, wood, wild flowers, light malt, and fresh baked bread. The body is full, with a lively yet smooth texture. The taste is somewhat brisk, and has notes of white pepper, wood, light malt, light wild flowers, and fresh baked bread. There is a strong, but not overpowering, astringency that lightens as the liquid cools. The aftertaste is sweet, woody, with a touch of peppery spice. The sweet aftertaste pleasantly lingers on the breath.
The infused leaves have a fairly uniform copper color, with a few leaves leaning toward a greenish-brown. The leaves are all medium sized fragments. There are very few stems in the mix.The leaves have a smooth and leathery texture, and are not delicate. The smell has scents of fresh baked bread, white pepper, wood, and light wild flowers. The smell gets significantly sweeter as the leaves cool.
Of the four black teas that I have sampled from Craigmore Plantations, the Superior Grade Flowery Pekoe has been the favorite. The lively, smooth, texture and full body gave a boost of energy the moment the liquid hit my tongue. The spicy, woody taste is robust yet not overpowering. This tea will take milk, sugar, or lemon very well, but is certainly palatable on its own. The high altitude terroir can be felt in the flowery notes of the aroma and taste of the liquid, as well as the moderately brisk character. The bright color of the liquid is uplifting and inspiring. The expertise in production can be seen in the uniform appearance of the dry leaves. Overall, this is a very good quality Nilgiri black tea.
Thank you to the management of Craigmore Plantations for providing this sample of Superior Grade Flowery Pekoe Black Tea. Cheers!