Today’s review will focus on the Georgia Nagobilevi Village Black Tea from What-Cha. You may view and purchase the Georgia Nagobilevi Village Black Tea by clicking here.
I have seen teas from Georgia (the country, not the state in the U.S.) on websites based in the U.K.or other parts of Europe, but not in the U.S. Thanks to the generosity of the management at What-Cha, I finally have an opportunity to try several of these interesting teas from Georgia. Nagobilevi Village is located in the Guria region of western Georgia. With the Caucasus Mountains to the north and east, and the Black Sea to the west, Nagobilevi benefits from a subtropical climate, mineral rich soils, and magnetic sands. The climate and soil composition allow for the production of high quality teas with unique aroma and taste profiles. The leaves used to make this tea are sourced from several small tea gardens in Nagobilevi Village. The Guria region is the primary tea growing area of Georgia.
Considering that I will be reviewing multiple products from Georgia in the near future, I will keep some of the other interesting topics regarding Georgia’s tea history for future posts.
The sample packet has been opened, and the abundance of minerals in the soil is evident in the smell. Let the journey begin…
The dry leaves have a uniform black color, with some dark copper color on the stems and veins. The leaves are mostly large fragments, and I would not be surprised to find some whole leaves. There are some medium fragments, and a small amount of crumbs in the mix. There appears to be a small number of buds, and a few bare stems. The largest specimen shows two leaves and a bud attached to the stem. The leaves are hand plucked, hand rolled, and some are quite long, measuring over one inch (25 mm). The smell has scents of raisins, dried peach, mineral, sweet wood, and toffee.
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 to 4:00 minutes. Expect two infusions out of the same serving of leaves, and expect the second infusion to be lighter than the first, but still worth drinking. Add 1:00 minute to the second infusion steep time. A very light, yet refreshing, third infusion can be prepared.
The first infusion produced a liquor with a orange color, and a slight red tint, clear and transparent. The aroma had scents of raisin, apple, lemon, mineral, sweet wood, and light caramel. The body is medium, with a clean, gentle texture. The taste has notes of raisin, apple, mineral rich soil, honey, caramel, and lighter notes of lemon and wild flowers. There is a very light astringency. The aftertaste carries the sweet, fruity notes which linger on the breath.
The infused leaves have a uniform dark copper brown color. There are more unbroken leaves than I expected, some of which are attached to the stem with another unbroken leaf and a fairly mature bud. The remaining leaves are mostly large fragments. There are some bare stems in the mix, and the few buds that can be found are still intact on the stem. The leaves have a very smooth texture, and seem quite hearty and durable. The leaves are long and fairly narrow. The smell has scents of sweet wood, raisins, wild flowers, mineral rich soil, and light honey.
The Georgia Nagobilevi Village Black Tea was surprising in multiple aspects. From the attractive appearance of the dry leaves, to the refreshingly lighter body, to the fruity, mineral aroma and taste of the liquor, this tea had plenty to offer. I found the mineral aroma and taste of this tea very unique from the teas of China and Vietnam which also can have strong mineral qualities, although I cannot necessarily explain how. To make an effort to explain, I guess I would describe the mineral taste of the Chinese, Vietnam, and some southern India teas as wet stones, and the mineral taste of this tea from Georgia as more of clean, rich soil taste. Whatever the most accurate description or explanation may be, it was an intriguing facet of the overall experience of this tea. It should also be noted that the tea farmers seemed to have taken great care if plucking and rolling the leaves, as there was a high number of unbroken leaves. From what I am reading, the Nagobilevi Village Black Tea is not even the best that Georgia has to offer, so I am excited to move on to the other products of Georgia in this packet from What-Cha.
Thanks again to What-Cha for providing the opportunity to try this unique black tea from Nagobilevi Village in western Georgia. Cheers!