Teuksun 2014 Green Tea from Hankook Tea and Honam Tea Estates

Today’s review will focus on the Teuksun Green Tea from Hankook Tea, sourced from the Honam Tea Estates. The Honam Tea Estates are located on the southern tip of South Korea’s mainland. To view this tea at the Hankook Tea website, please click here.

The leaves used to produce the Teuksun Green Tea are harvested around the first days of summer (Ibha), typically in the first week of May. This harvest consists of both first flush and second flush leaves, which is intended to create a unique blend of delicate and robust tastes. Hankook Tea describes the grade as sejak.

The Honam Tea Estates consist of three separate plantations, being the Haenam, Youngam, and Jangsung. The Jangsung Tea Plantation produces much of the powdered green teas, and is a certified organic plantation. The Youngam Tea Plantation is overall the most productive of the three plantations, and is a symbol of the beauty of South Korean tea gardens. The Haenam Tea Plantation is located near the southern coast, and has an ideal blend of climatic conditions conducive to growing high quality tea bushes. Search Google for the images of these plantations, and get ready to be dumbfounded by the beauty. If I were a rich man, I would be on a plane heading to South Korea right now. Alas, I am not, so I am stuck in bitter cold, but at least sunny (at the moment), western Pennsylvania.

My instincts have been drawing me to green teas lately, mostly of the Japanese and Korean type, so I was excited to find this one last green tea sample from Hankook Tea. I am hoping to get a taste of the 2015 harvests once they are ready.

The sample packet has been opened, and instantly I feel the amazingly sweet fragrance that I have come to expect from the Hankook green teas. Let the journey begin…

Teuksun Green Tea Dry Leaves
Teuksun Green Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have a uniform fresh forest green color. The leaves are all small to medium sized fragments. There are no bare stems or buds in the mix. The leaves are lightly machine rolled, and have a dry, slightly rigid texture. The pluck cannot be determined by the dry leaves. The smell has scents of brown sugar, sweet grass, hay, and a light touch of dry gardenia flowers.

Three grams of dry leaves were placed in a five ounce (150 ml) porcelain infusion cup. Spring water was heated to 185°F (85°C). The leaves were infused for 3:00 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 175°F (80°C). Steep the leaves for 2:00 minutes. Expect three quality infusions out of the same serving of leaves.

Teuksun Green Tea Liquor
Teuksun Green Tea Liquor

The first infusion produced a liquor with a rich, greenish-yellow color. There is a slight haze, making the liquor translucent, but not perfectly transparent. The aroma has scents of fresh grass, brown sugar, steamed asparagus, butter, and gardenia. The body is medium, with a smooth, buttery texture, and a pleasant umami quality. There is a medium level of astringency. The taste has notes of fresh grass, butter, steamed asparagus, sweet corn, brown sugar, and gardenia. The aftertaste carries the grassy notes and a touch of brown sugar, evolving into a satisfying floral essence.

Teuksun Green Tea Infused Leaves
Teuksun Green Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a uniform fresh forest green color. The leaves are all small to medium sized fragments. There are no bare stems or buds in the mix. The pluck cannot be determined. The leaves have a very soft, smooth texture. The smell has scents of fresh grass, gardenia, and steamed asparagus.

The Teuksun Green Tea from Hankook Tea provided me with the exact green tea experience that I was looking for today. It was satisfying, invigorating, uplifting, and truly fulfilling. Although the dry and infused leaves give little to observe other than fantastic smells and fresh colors, the experience of the liquor is phenomenal from start to finish. The liquor color is beautiful, the aroma is fresh and rich, the texture is deeply satisfying, and the overall taste is exactly as advertised, complex and robust. The second infusion is still very tasteful and fulfilling, and I am confident that the third infusion will be easy to enjoy, however lighter in overall character. My Friday has been fairly calm and pleasant so far, and this Teuksun Green Tea has definitely lifted my mood to a level that I wish I could replicate more often.

Thank you to the management of Hankook Tea for providing this sample of Teuksun Green Tea. Happy weekend everyone! Cheers!

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Nepal Monsoon Flush 2014 Pearl Oolong Tea from What-Cha and Greenland Organic Farm

Today’s review will focus on the Nepal Monsoon Flush 2014 Pearl Oolong Tea from What-Cha, and sourced from the Greenland Organic Farm in Taplejung, eastern Nepal. To view this tea on the What-Cha website, please click here. Below is a Google map showing the location of Taplejung District.

The monsoon flush was harvested in August of 2014, and only six kilograms of this type of tea were produced by the Greenland Organic Farm. As you will see from the photo of the dry leaves, or pearls, below, Greenland Organic Farm is certainly paying attention to the appearance of the dry product, and are giving their teas a more “artisanal” visual quality. Pros and cons of focusing on appearance and perhaps forfeiting some quality in the cup aside, these innovative new styles of Nepalese teas do make for interesting reviews.

The sample packet has been opened, and these pearls are much bigger than I expected. Let the journey begin…

Nepal Monsoon Flush 2014 Pearl Oolong Tea Dry Leaves
Nepal Monsoon Flush 2014 Pearl Oolong Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves range in color from bright fresh green to yellowish-brown to dark brown, with a generous portion of mature buds covered in silver downy-like hairs. I expect the pluck to be at least two leaves and a bud, and I expect the pearls to consist of two or three pluckings rolled together. The leaves appear to be whole and unbroken, with perhaps a few large fragments in the mix. The size of the pearls range from that of a pea to a large blueberry. The leaves are very mildly compressed in the pearls, nothing like a semi-ball oolong, giving them a lighter density than one may expect. The appearance is similar to that of a Chinese pearl green tea, but these pearls are larger. The smell has scents of hay, light dried grape, valley flowers, and a touch of vanilla.

Three grams of dry leaves were placed in a five ounce (150 ml) porcelain infusion cup. Purified spring 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 195°F (90°C). Steep the leaves for 2:30 to 3:00 minutes. Expect three to four worthy infusions out of the same serving of leaves, increasing the infusion time by 15 to 30 seconds per infusion.

Nepal Monsoon Flush 2014 Pearl Oolong Tea Liquor
Nepal Monsoon Flush 2014 Pearl Oolong Tea Liquor

The first infusion produced a liquor with a golden-yellow color with a light copper tint, clear and transparent. The aroma has scents of hay, nectarine, valley flowers, and vanilla. The body is medium, with a crisp, lively texture that becomes increasingly smooth as the liquor cools. There is a very mild, almost undetectable, astringency. The taste has notes of nectarine, hay, valley flowers, and vanilla. The aftertaste carries the sweet hay and valley flower notes, and the sweet hay essence lingers on the breath.

Nepal Monsoon Flush 2014 Pearl Oolong Tea Infused Leaves
Nepal Monsoon Flush 2014 Pearl Oolong Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a greenish-brown to copper color. The vast majority of the leaves are whole, unbroken, and attached to the stem, and very few large fragments are in the mix. The plucks range from three leaves and a mature bud to a single leaf and bud. This is the first time I have seen a three leaf and bud pluck from a Nepalese tea. The leaves have a soft, smooth, wet leather feel. Some of the more mature leaves measure between 1.5 and 2.0 inches (38 to 51 mm) in length. These leaves have been the most interesting to observe of any Nepalese teas that I have experienced so far. The smell has scents of grapes, nectarines, and valley flowers. The smell is quite attractive.

Nepal Monsoon Flush 2014 Pearl Oolong Tea Infused Leaves Closeup
Nepal Monsoon Flush 2014 Pearl Oolong Tea Infused Leaves Closeup

The Nepal Monsoon Flush 2014 Pearl Oolong Tea from What-Cha and Greenland Organic Farm has many interesting qualities to observe in the dry and infused leaves. This product is definitely unique in its pluck and rolling methods compared to other Nepalese teas that I have experienced. The liquor itself is a pleasure, with a sweet and floral aroma and taste, and a crisp, refreshing energy. The Nepal Monsoon Flush 2014 Pearl Oolong Tea has much to offer, whether you enjoy the entire experience of analyzing tea, or just enjoy a pleasant smelling and tasting hot beverage.

Thank you to the management of What-Cha for providing this sample of Nepal Monsoon Flush 2014 Pearl Oolong Tea, and thank you to the management at Greenland Organic Farm for taking the time and risk to produce something out of the ordinary. Cheers!

 

Heavy Roasted Tu Quy Oolong Tea from Lam Dong Province in Vietnam

Today I will be reviewing a Heavy Roasted Tu Quy Oolong Tea from the Lam Dong Province of Vietnam. I had previously completed a review of the standard Tu Quy Oolong, which you may read here.

As I had mentioned in a post yesterday, I have been experimenting with roasting various teas at home. The Tu Quy oolong sample was one of the teas selected for roasting experimentation. Altogether, this tea spent a toasty 90 minutes in the oven, with the temperature being increased gradually at specific time intervals. After roasting, the leaves were allowed a short time to cool (5 minutes), then placed in an airtight aluminum tea tin.

The previous review of the Tu Quy Oolong Tea resulted in a favorable review, so I am excited to see what characteristics will be affected by a heavy roast. The tea tin has been opened, and a remarkably sweet, inviting smell is immediately evident. Let the journey begin…

Heavy Roasted Tu Quy Oolong Tea Dry Leaves
Heavy Roasted Tu Quy Oolong Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves range in color from dark greenish-brown to very dark brown. The leaves are pressed in the semi-ball shape, with the average size being that of a black bean. The pluck should be three to four whole leaves intact with the stems. There are some leaves that have separated from the stems, but for the most part the leaves should be whole, with the remaining being large fragments. The leaves are very dense, with some being smooth and others rigid. The smell is incredibly sweet, with scents of brown sugar, sweet cream or butter, sweet wood, and vanilla.

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 195°F (90°C). Steep the leaves for 1:30 to 2:30 minutes. Expect four worthy infusions out of the same serving of leaves. Decrease steep time on the second infusion by 0:30 to 0:45 seconds, then increase by :30 seconds on subsequent infusions.

Heavy Roasted Tu Quy Oolong Tea Liquor
Heavy Roasted Tu Quy Oolong Tea Liquor

The first infusion produced a liquor with a bright, golden-yellow color, clear and transparent. The aroma has enticing scents of brown sugar, sweet cream or butter, baked apple, vanilla, and light orchid. The body is medium, with a clean, silky texture that becomes more creamy as the liquor cools. The taste has notes of baked apple, brown sugar, sweet cream or butter, honey, vanilla, and light orchid. The aftertaste carries the baked apple and orchid notes, and an impressive, lingering sweet floral essence is left on the breath.

Heavy Roasted Tu Quy Oolong Tea Infused Leaves
Heavy Roasted Tu Quy Oolong Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a uniform dark greenish-brown color. The leaves are mostly whole with stems intact, with some whole leaves detached from the stem, and some large fragments. The pluck is three to four leaves, with no visible buds. The leaves are long and broad, more closely resembling the TTES#12 (Jin Xuan) cultivar. The leaves have a leathery texture, yet tear quite easily. The smell has scents of sweet wood, brown sugar, forest floor, and light baked apple.

It seems that the heavy roasting of the Tu Quy Oolong brought out some very positive qualities that were not felt in the standard product. The baked apple, more powerful sweet cream, and vanilla qualities were not noted in the review of the standard Tu Quy. The roasted version is definitely sweeter, less vegetal, and has a remarkably clean, silky, and creamy texture. The leaves last an easy four infusions, with the fourth being lighter, but still enjoyable. I can say without any doubt that I prefer the heavily roasted version of the Tu Quy better than the standard. This result will certainly inspire me to continue experimentation with roasting.

Don’t forget to check out The Tea Journeyman Shop and take advantage of the closing sale prices from now until the planned closing date of April 15th.

Krasnodar Large Leaf Black Tea from What-Cha and Dagomys Tea Estate

Today’s review will focus on the Krasnodar Large Leaf Black Tea sourced by What-Cha from the Dagomys Tea Estate in Russia. You may view and purchase this tea on the What-Cha website by clicking here.

I covered the Dagomys Tea Estate in my review of the Krasnador Large Leaf Green Tea, but here is an excerpt from that review:

“The Dagomys Tea Estate, among others in the Krasnador area of southern Russia, is considered the northernmost tea growing estate on Earth. Dagomys is located near Sochi, Russia, and the north-eastern coast of the Black Sea. The loose translation of “Dagomys” in the Adyghe language is a “cool, shady place.” This name originates from the characteristically cool summers caused by the mountain air currents. Dagomys, and the Sochi area in general, are renowned tourist spots for the beautiful landscapes, including mountains and tea gardens, and sea views. The Dagomys Tea Estate is recognized for producing better quality orthodox teas compared to some of the other estates in Krasnador.”

As a quick reminder, the closing sale at The Tea Journeyman Shop has drawn more attention than I expected. I am getting very low on the Mount Kanchenjunga Green Tea with only about a half pound left. Same with the Monsoon Miracle Ceylon black teas. These products may be removed from the site soon, so grab the last couple ounces while they are here.

The sample packet has been opened, and a sweet and earthy scent is escaping the packet. Let the journey begin…

Krasnador Large Leaf Black Tea Dry Leaves
Krasnador Large Leaf Black Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have a uniform charcoal grey-black color, with reddish-brown stems. The leaves appear to be all medium to large leaf fragments. There are some bare stems in the mix, and no buds. The stems show a two leaf pluck. The leaves are machine rolled, yet are surprisingly light, fluffy, and brittle to the touch. The smell has scents of dried raisins, forest floor, dry autumn leaves, and dry wood.

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.

Krasnador Large Leaf Black Tea Liquor
Krasnador Large Leaf Black Tea Liquor

The first infusion produced a liquor with a bright, golden-orange color with a light red tint, clear and transparent. The aroma has scents of raisins, malt, autumn leaves, and wet stones. The body is medium, with a clean, refreshing, light texture. There is a very mild astringency. The taste has strong notes of raisins, as well as less dominating notes of malt, autumn leaves, wet stone, valley flowers, and forest floor. The aftertaste carries the raisin and wet stone notes, and the tea leaves a dry feel in the mouth.

Krasnador Large Leaf Black Tea Infused Leaves
Krasnador Large Leaf Black Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a uniform dark brown color. The leaves are all medium to large sized fragments. There are some bare stems in the mix, and no noticeable buds. The leaves have a typical soft, smooth texture. The smell has scents of wet forest floor, autumn leaves, wet stones, and raisins.

The Krasnodar Large Leaf Black Tea has an interesting quality that makes the liquor refreshing while sitting in the mouth, and drying once the liquor has been swallowed. The strong note of raisins in the taste blended nicely with the other sweet and earthy notes. There is definitely no need for milk, cream, or other additives, as this tea is quite sweet and pleasing on its own. I would love to experiment on a kombucha recipe with this tea if I had more. While this product is in stock at What-Cha, it is worth trying.

Thanks to the management at What-Cha for providing this sample of Krasnador Large Leaf Black Tea.

Second Flush 2014 Cannon Ball Green Tea from What-Cha and Greenland Organic Farm

Today’s review will focus on the Nepal Second Flush 2014 Cannon Ball Green Tea from What-Cha. What-Cha sources this tea from the Greenland Organic Farm located in eastern Nepal. To view and purchase this tea at the What-Cha website, please click here.

Since I have covered What-Cha and Greenland Organic Farm on several occasions already, I have decided to use this space to remind my readers of the close-out sale going on at The Tea Journeyman Shop. I have cut prices on all teas to the point that they are basically at wholesale. The oolong teas have been moving quickly at these prices, but I do not want anyone to overlook the white teas and the Amba hand-rolled black tea either. The new prices on the Shining Antlers and Shire Highlands White Teas from Satemwa Tea Estate in Malawi, and the Amba Hand-Rolled Black Tea from Amba Estate in Sri Lanka make them worth stocking up on before my supply runs out. The black teas and green tea from Sri Lanka are also very cheap, with the Big Leaf Ceylon Green Tea being an unsung hero of the product lineup. I have had many repeat buyers of the Big Leaf Ceylon Green Tea.

Basically, all of the teas at The Tea Journeyman Shop are so inexpensive that this is a great opportunity to load up on high quality and interesting teas at near wholesale prices. The shipping fee is still a flat $5 to anywhere in the U.S., and I am willing to send to Canada also. Once the teas are sold out, you will have to pay much higher prices getting these teas elsewhere, if you can even find them anywhere else in the U.S. or Canada. Check them out today, and make me do some work for the next two months. The shop closes on April 15th, or once all products are sold out, whichever comes first.

Back to the review at hand. The sample packet has been opened, and the Cannon Ball description is quite accurate. Let the journey begin…

Nepal Second Flush 2014 Cannon Ball Green Tea Dry Leaves
Nepal Second Flush 2014 Cannon Ball Green Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have a uniform dark green color. The leaves are tightly rolled and compressed into oblong balls, about the size of black beans. There are so crumbs in the mix. The balls appear to consist of medium to large leaf fragments, buds, and some thin stems. I would not be surprised to find some smaller whole leaves, but there does not appear to be an intact pluck. I assume at this point a two leaf and bud pluck. The “cannon balls” are very dense, with a coarse, round texture. The smell has scents of grass, hay, light caramel, and dried lemon.

Three grams of dry leaves were placed in a five ounce (150 ml) porcelain infusion cup. Purified water was heated to 185°F (85°C). The leaves were infused for 3:00 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 175°F (80°C). Steep the leaves for 2:00 minutes. Expect three quality infusions out of the same serving of leaves.

Nepal Second Flush 2014 Cannon Ball Green Tea Liquor
Nepal Second Flush 2014 Cannon Ball Green Tea Liquor

The first infusion produced a liquor with greenish yellow color, clear and transparent. The aroma has scents of grass, lemon, forest floor, wet stones, and hay. The body is light and refreshing, with a clean, gentle texture. There is a medium level of astringency. The taste has notes of lemon, grass, hay, forest floor, wet stones, orange blossoms, and steamed leafy green vegetables. The aftertaste carries the wet stones, grass, and orange blossom notes, and the blossom essence lingers on the breath.

Nepal Second Flush 2014 Cannon Ball Green Tea Infused Leaves
Nepal Second Flush 2014 Cannon Ball Green Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a forest green color, with some of the leaves showing some light oxidation around the edges. The leaves are all medium to large sized fragments, with a few bud fragments, and a few bare stems in the mix. I did not find any whole leaves or intact plucks. The leaves have a very soft, delicate feel, most likely from the amount of pressure applied during processing to create the cannon ball shape. The smell has scents of grass, forest floor, wet stone, lemon, and light steamed leafy green vegetables.

The Nepal Second Flush 2014 Cannon Ball Green Tea has a unique look and is worthy of respect. With a light, refreshing, clean feel, and plenty of aroma and taste that are consistent through three infusions, this Nepalese green tea will satisfy most green tea drinkers. The lemon and orange blossom tastes, and especially the orange blossom aftertaste and essence, were the most noteworthy characteristics of this green tea.

Thanks again to the management of What-Cha for providing this sample of Nepal Second Flush 2014 Cannon Ball Green Tea. Cheers!

Nepal Second Flush 2014 Golden Tips Black Tea from What-Cha

Today’s review will focus on the Nepal Second Flush 2014 Golden Tips Black Tea, sourced by What-Cha from the Greenland Organic Farm in eastern Nepal. You may view and purchase this tea by visiting the What-Cha website.

I covered the Greenland Organic Farm in a previous post, Nepal First Flush 2014 Silver Oolong Tea. I would like to acknowledge What-Cha for the wide variety of teas from origins that you do not see being offered very often by other tea businesses. There are teas from Iran, Azerbaijan, Azores, Georgia, Russia, and in their Discover Europe Collection, a green tea from Turkey. A little more common, but not quite mainstream, are the teas from Malawi, Vietnam, South Korea, and Nepal. If you are getting a bit bored with the more mainstream Chinese, Japanese, Indian, and Ceylon teas, then What-Cha is a good source for the taste of an unfamiliar tea terroir.

The sample packet has been opened, and a swift punch of malt and cracked toasted grains just hit me in the nose. Is this a black tea or a homebrewing beer kit? Let the journey begin…

Nepal Second Flush 2014 Golden Tips Black Tea Dry Leaves
Nepal Second Flush 2014 Golden Tips Black Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves consist mostly of golden buds, with the remaining leaves being charcoal black. The buds are covered in fine golden hairs. The pluck is a fine leaf and bud. There are a few bare stems in the mix. Many of the buds and leaves are unbroken, and there are some fragments ranging in size from small to large. The buds and leaves appear to be twisted. The leaves have a smooth texture, and crack easily into coarse crumbs. The average length of the unbroken buds is just under one inch (25 mm). The smell is incredible and strong, with scents of malt, toasted grains, sweet hay, dandelion, and a touch of raw honey.

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.

Nepal Second Flush 2014 Golden Tips Black Tea Liquor
Nepal Second Flush 2014 Golden Tips Black Tea Liquor

The first infusion produced a liquor with a rich, golden orange color, clear and transparent. The aroma has scents of malt, toasted grains, honey, dandelion, sweet hay, and nectar. The body is medium-full, with a smooth, raw honey-like tongue coating texture. There is little astringency. The taste has notes of malt, toasted grains, honey, nectar, dandelion, and hay. The aftertaste carries the malt, nectar, and dandelion notes, and a lightly floral, sweet essence is left on the breath.

Nepal Second Flush 2014 Golden Tips Black Tea Infused Leaves
Nepal Second Flush 2014 Golden Tips Black Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a uniform yellowish-brown color. There is a generous portion of whole, unbroken buds and leaves, along with some small to large sized fragments. There are a few bare stems in the mix. The pluck is one fine leaf and a bud. The buds have swollen some, and measure about one inch (25 mm) in length. The buds and leaves have a soft, smooth texture. The smell has scents of malt, toasted grains, dandelion, hay, and nectar.

The Nepal Second Flush 2014 Golden Tips Black Tea is a rich, sweet smelling and tasting black tea that is very satisfying. Far from being overwhelming, this black tea needs no additives whatsoever to be fully enjoyed, but I can imagine that a small splash of coconut or almond milk may turn this tea into quite a treat. The malt character can be recognized at all phases of the experience, and the notes of toasted grains is a perfect compliment. If you are like me and enjoy a malty lager with dinner, this tea may be your new drink of choice at breakfast.

Many thanks to the management at What-Cha for providing this sample of Nepal Second Flush 2014 Golden Tips Black Tea. Cheers!

TGFOP1 Second Flush 2014 Assam Black Tea from Panitola Tea Estate

Today’s review will focus on the TGFOP1 Second Flush 2014 Assam Black Tea from Panitola Tea Estate. This sample was provided by Lochan Tea.

The Panitola Tea Estate is located in the Tinsukia district, in the South Bank of the Assam region in northeast India. Panitola consists of about 700 hectares (1,730 acres) of land under tea cultivation. Panitola produces both CTC grades and orthodox grades of black tea. This tea estate developed a well known and popular clone, the P-126A, which is now used in many Assam tea estates where orthodox teas are produced. The N-436 clone is also grown on the estate. Panitola is constantly researching methods to increase the sustainability of the tea garden by using more organic methods of pest and insect control. However, it is not considered an organic garden quite yet. The Panitola Tea Estate has the HACCP, ETP (Ethical Tea Partnership), and ISO 22000:2005 certifications.

The sample packet has been opened, and a surprisingly floral scent is immediately detected. Let the journey begin…

Panitola TGFOP1 2nd Flush 2014 Black Tea Dry Leaves
Panitola TGFOP1 2nd Flush 2014 Black Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have a uniform charcoal gray to black color, with some golden tips and reddish-brown stems. The leaves are all small to medium sized fragments, including bud fragments, and some bare stems. The leaves are machine rolled, and have a fairly uniform size and shape. The smell has scents of wild flowers, dark chocolate, ripe grapes, light hay, and light toasted seeds.

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.

Panitola TGFOP1 2nd Flush 2014 Black Tea Liquor
Panitola TGFOP1 2nd Flush 2014 Black Tea Liquor

The first infusion produced a liquor with a deep red color, clear and transparent. The aroma has scents of wild flowers, hibiscus, grape, raw cacao, light hay, and light wood. The body is full, with a rich, tongue coating texture. The taste has notes of ripe red grapes, wild flowers, hibiscus, wood, malt, and a touch of citrus. There is a strong, but not overwhelming, astringency, and a pleasantly brisk character. The aftertaste is sweet and somewhat floral, with a respectable lingering essence.

Panitola TGFOP1 2nd Flush 2014 Black Tea Infused Leaves
Panitola TGFOP1 2nd Flush 2014 Black Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a uniform copper-brown color. All leaves are small to medium sized fragments, with some bud fragments and bare stems in the mix. The leaves have a fairly uniform size and shape. The smell has scents of wood, wild flowers, grapes, toasted seeds, and forest floor.

The Panitola TGFOP1 Second Flush 2014 Black Tea was more floral in aroma and taste than I expected. This tea definitely had a tart, citrusy, and floral character, which I described as hibiscus. I did not feel the usual dominant malt qualities that other Assam teas have, and in this particular case, that is not a negative observation. This black tea had a very nice blend of body, texture, and taste, as it was rich but not overpowering. There is no need for milk, cream, or other additives, but this tea could certainly take such additives with positive outcomes.

Thank you to the Lochan family at Lochan Tea for providing this sample of Panitola TGFOP1 Second Flush 2014 Black Tea. Cheers!