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…
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.
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.
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!