Yes, I know. I have been slow on getting reviews out lately. There is a good reason for that. My office recently tried switching to the spring water product from our drinking water provider. I was really excited for the switch from normal purified water to the spring water, as common belief for hundreds (if not thousands) of years states that the mineral content of spring water is better suited for pulling out the best that tea leaves have to offer. Well, perhaps the fresh mountain springs of China and other less tampered with areas of the world provide such magical water, but I can tell you that the spring water from this company was not what I had hoped for. The tea liquors were not as bright, and a dirty-looking, unclean ring would be left in my cup after finishing the liquor. The tastes seemed duller, and the mineral taste seemed too overwhelming to properly detect other tastes. Not to mention that the mineral content was so high that I had to clean the screen filter on my kettle everyday, and my kettle had quite the mineral deposits building up inside. Overall, it was just a disappointing couple of weeks of tea drinking at work. Let’s be serious, if I cannot enjoy my tea here, then my days definitely lack a significant source of happiness. But now we have our purified water back, and my teas have been bright, tasteful, and clean again, and I am looking forward to getting back to reviews.
Anyway, back to the matter at hand. Today I will be reviewing the Georgia Old Gentleman Black Tea from What-Cha. You may view this product at the What-Cha website by clicking here.
The Georgia Old Gentleman Black Tea is a handmade tea, and it is obvious from the appearance of the dry leaves. The tea is procured from the village of Nasakirali, Ozurgeti, Guria Province, Georgia (see Google Map below).
Like other tea growing regions of Georgia, Nasakirali is located on the western side of the country, off the southeast banks of the Black Sea.
The sample packet has been opened, so let the journey begin…
The dry leaves have a uniform dark charcoal grey to black color, with a few very small golden buds in the mix. The leaves are mostly large fragments, with some definite whole leaves in the mix. There are very few bare stems. The stems show a one to two leaf and young bud pluck. The leaves appear to be carefully hand rolled. The longer leaves measure over two inches (51 mm) in length. The appearance of the leaves is impressive, and substantiates the claim that the tea is “handmade”. The smell has scents of molasses, dry sweet wood, dried orange, baked bread, spice, and hay.
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. Expect two to three worthy infusions out of the same serving of leaves. Increase steep time by 45 seconds to 1:00 minute on each subsequent infusion.
The first infusion produced a liquor with a bright, golden-orange color, clear and transparent. The aroma has scents of lemon, orange, baked bread, mint, wild flowers, and light plum. The body is medium-full, with a clean, juicy, refreshing texture. The taste has notes of lemon, mint, hydrangea leaf, baked bread, light plum, wild flowers, and wet stones. The aftertaste is lightly sweet and refreshing, with a minty, cooling effect, almost hinting of eucalyptus.
The infused leaves have a uniform copper-brown color. The leaves are mostly large fragments, with some whole leaves, buds, and a few bare stems in the mix. The stems show a one to two leaf and young bud pluck. The leaves are long and fairly slender, with a soft, smooth texture, but thicker than I expected. The largest leaf measuring just over two inches (51 mm) long and one inch (25 mm) wide. The smell has scents of wild flowers, hydrangea leaf, light malt, light mint, and light orange.
The Georgia Old Gentleman Black Tea has many unique and highly interesting qualities that make it the best of the Georgia black teas, in my opinion. First off, the obvious lemon and mint aromas and tastes in the liquor. Both are very defined and easy to recognize. The mint continues through from beginning to end, and leaves a noticeable mentholated feel after the liquor is swallowed. The cooling effect almost feels like there is a touch of eucalyptus also. The sweetness of the liquor reminds me of hydrangea leaf tea, and the mentholated effect makes this black tea even more similar to hydrangea leaf. The mineral and floral tastes blend perfectly with the light sweetness that I could best describe as plum. Even on the third infusion, though it is much lighter in character, the mentholated feel and fruitiness are still noticeable. The color of the liquor is beautiful. The Georgia Old Gentleman Black Tea is an instant favorite of mine.
Thank you to the management of What-Cha for providing this sample of Georgia Old Gentleman Black Tea. Cheers!