Mint Green Tea Fusion from Satemwa Tea Estate

Just when I thought I was about to have a typical, not-so-exciting sample from Satemwa Tea Estate, I poured out the contents of the Mint Green Tea Fusion packet. Then I saw mint leaves that were plucked like tea leaves, with two fine mint leaves and a small mint bud. Then I smelled the leaves. Then I grabbed my note pad, because a sample that I did not originally expect to review proved to be much more interesting than I assumed it to be. Shame on me for assuming that any product from Satemwa is anything less than interesting (my head is hanging in shame).

So here I am, with the review of the day focusing on the Mint Green Tea Fusion (621) from Satemwa Tea Estate. Satemwa Tea Estate is located in and around Thyolo, Malawi. To read more about Satemwa, please visit my introductory page to this wonderful estate at The Tea Journeyman Shop. Don’t forget to check out the two white teas that I offer from Satemwa Tea Estate at The Tea Journeyman Shop, including the Bvumbwe Peony and the Satemwa Antlers. Not surprisingly, these are two of the best selling products at The Tea Journeyman Shop.

This product is not flavored with mint. It is simply a blend of the Zomba Steamed TSFOP Green tea and mint leaves. I do not think the mint leaves are peppermint or spearmint. I would guess grapefruit mint, but I will have to check with my contact at Satemwa Tea Estate.

The sample packet has been opened, and the fact that this is not a common mint tea blend is immediately obvious. Let the journey begin…

Satemwa Mint Green Tea Fusion Dry Leaves
Satemwa Mint Green Tea Fusion Dry Leaves

The dry tea leaves have a uniform dark greenish brown appearance, while the dry mint leaves have a fresh, bright forest green color. The tea leaves are large fragments, and are lightly rolled. About 60% of the mint leaves are whole and unbroken, many of which are still attached to stems that show a two fine leaf and slightly opened mint bud pluck. The remaining 40% of mint leaves are medium to large fragments. The green tea leaves are steamed, and have a very light, fluffy, crispy texture. There are a few bare tea stems, and a few small tea buds in the mix. Strangely, the mint leaves are the star of the dry leaves show. The smell has scents of dried grapefruit mint, oregano, dried grass, very light brown sugar, light citrus (grapefruit). Interestingly, there is a spicy, herbal scent that hints of damiana leaf. This almost smells like a blend that will taste as good sprinkled on your favorite baked dish as it will when steeped in a teapot.

I prepared this sample as I would normally. I placed the ten gram sample of dry leaves in a 21 ounce (620 ml) cast iron teapot. Purified water was heated to 175°F (75°F). The leaves were infused for 2:00 minutes. At home, use three grams of dry leaves for every six to eight ounces (180 to 240 ml) of water to be used. Expect two to three quality infusions out of the same serving of leaves. I recommend not exceeding the 2:00 minutes of steep time.

Satemwa Mint Green Tea Fusion Infusion
Satemwa Mint Green Tea Fusion Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a bright, golden-yellow color and a touch of jade green, clear and transparent. The aroma has scents of grapefruit mint, seaweed, oregano, salted butter, and a hint of nectarine. The body is light-medium, with a clean, lively texture, and a refreshing energy. The taste has notes of grapefruit mint, mild seaweed, light oregano, salted butter, and citrus.The aftertaste leans to the grapefruit mint and spice notes, and a refreshing minty essence is left on the breath.

As I finish this review, I am enjoying the third infusion of these leaves. The third infusion is developing a mineral taste at the back of the tongue that hands through the aftertaste. Blending with the grapefruit mint notes, which are still present, makes for a very pleasant aftertaste. After three infusions, I am mightily impressed by this product. I wish I had more.

Satemwa Mint Green Tea Fusion Infused Leaves
Satemwa Mint Green Tea Fusion Infused Leaves

The infused tea leaves have a fresh, light forest green color, while the mint leaves have a uniform dark forest green color. Interesting how the tea leaves and mint leaves seemed to trade colors during the infusions. The tea leaves are all large fragments, with some bare stems in the mix, and a few fairly young buds. The largest leaf fragment measures about 1.75 inches (<45 mm). The mint leaves are small, but mostly whole and unbroken, with two small leaves and freshly opened buds attached to the stem. There are some large mint leaf fragments also. The smell has scents of grapefruit mint, citrus, oregano, lemongrass, and mild seaweed. The smell is simply incredible. Below is a not great photo of one of the grapefruit mint plucks. The leaves are folded in, but whole.

Satemwa Mint Green Tea Fusion Infused Mint Leaves
Satemwa Mint Green Tea Fusion Infused Mint Leaves

I personally thought this was the most interesting blend of mint and tea that I have ever had. In my opinion, the aroma and taste of the infusion was simply beautiful. The consistency over three infusions was also impressive. This Mint Green Tea Fusion has made my Friday go by very quickly, as I have been intrigued by each sip, and there were many of them after three 21 ounce pots. I do not currently have a mint green tea blend in my personal collection, and I must say I am tempted to ask Satemwa to include a kilogram of this tea with my next inventory purchase for the Tea Journeyman Shop. My question is how would a more casual tea drinker, or one who is used to the more typical peppermint or spearmint mixed with Chinese gunpowder or Chun Mee green teas, feel about this Satemwa version? They are vastly different in every way! If your appreciation of tea expands to not only the aroma and taste in the cup, then you will want to check this product out! It may change the way you view mint tea blends. It has certainly changed mine!

Thanks to the management at Satemwa Tea Estate for providing another phenomenal product! I promise to never underestimate your fusion products again! 🙂 Cheers!

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Earl Grey Green Tea from Satemwa Tea Estate

A more recent addition to the high quality unflavored loose leaf tea products produced by Satemwa Tea Estate near Thyolo, Malawi, are the flavored or herbal tea blends known as the “Fusion” products. I recently received three of the Fusion products, including the Green Earl Grey (723), which is the focus of today’s review.

To learn more about Satemwa Tea Estate, please click here to be taken to the informational page on The Tea Journeyman Shop website. The Satemwa Antlers White Tea and Bvumbwe Peony White Tea are currently offered at the Tea Journeyman Shop, so please check these products out! They are the best selling teas on the website for a reason. You can find a link to The Tea Journeyman Shop website on the menu bar at the top of this page.

The sample packet has been opened, and there is definitely a unique aroma to this Green Earl Grey. Let the journey begin…

Satemwa Earl Grey Green Tea Dry Leaves
Satemwa Earl Grey Green Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves are mostly very dark forest green, with a few being a lighter shade of green. There are also a few blue cornflowers and citrus peel pieces in the mix. The leaves are medium to large fragments, and are lightly rolled. The leaves are light and crispy, so they crack easily but do not crumble. No buds are immediately visible, and there are a few stems in the mix. The aroma is dominated by scents of bergamot and lemon, with perhaps a light touch of vanilla. If enough effort is put in to smelling the dry leaves, the natural aroma of the tea leaves can be felt, giving faint earth and grass scents.

Twelve grams of dry leaves were placed in a twenty-four ounce (700 ml) ceramic teapot. Purified water was heated to 175°F (75°C). The leaves were infused for 2:00 minutes. I suggest using these same parameters for at home preparation. Use three grams of dry leaves for every six to eight ounces (180 to 240 ml) of water to be used. Expect three infusions out of the same serving of leaves. The bergamot and citrus flavoring will diminish significantly after the first infusion, but the natural character of the tea leaves will be more noticeable.

Satemwa Earl Grey Green Tea Dry Infusion
Satemwa Earl Grey Green Tea Dry Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a bright greenish-yellow color, perfectly clear and transparent. The aroma has dominant scents of bergamot and citrus, with lighter scents of vanilla, grass, and earth. The body is light-medium, with a smooth, gentle texture. The taste is also dominated by notes of bergamot and citrus, with lighter notes of grass, earth, and vanilla. The aftertaste is sweet and citrusy.

Satemwa Earl Grey Green Tea Dry Infused Leaves
Satemwa Earl Grey Green Tea Dry Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a uniform fresh forest green color. Leaves are mostly medium to large fragments, but an occasional whole leaf can be found in the mix. There are some stems, most of which display a two leaf and small bud pluck. There are a few small buds in the mix. The leaves have a soft, velvety texture. The aroma is dominated by scents of bergamot, citrus, with lighter scents of vanilla and fresh grass.

The Green Earl Grey from Satemwa Tea Estate is nicely balanced in the cup, with dominant, but not overwhelming scents and tastes of bergamot and citrus. I personally enjoyed the second infusion the best, as more of the natural character of the green tea became evident, while enough of the bergamot/citrus flavoring remained to create a very nice blend. The tea leaves themselves are of good quality, and appear to be the Zomba Steamed TSFOP Green Tea from Satemwa. Although I have not had many Earl Grey style green teas, so my basis for comparison is limited, I certainly do recommend giving the Green Earl Grey from Satemwa Tea Estate a try. Good balance of scents and tastes, good quality tea leaves used, and it comes from an estate that produces some of my favorite teas, those are three good reasons to try this tea.

Thank you to Ross at Finlays Tea for providing this sample! Cheers!

Dark Leaf Pu-erh Tea from Satemwa Tea Estate

Today’s review will focus on the Dark Leaf Pu-erh Tea (518) from Satemwa Tea Estate. This is a ripe (shu) pu’er which comes in a loose leaf form. This is the first pu’er tea that I have tried from anywhere on the African continent, so it should be interesting to see how this compares to the loose leaf shu pu’ers that I have tried from China.

To view more information on the Satemwa Tea Estate, located in Thyolo, Malawi, please click here.

The sample packet has been opened, and a strong earthy aroma is filling the air. Let the journey begin…

Satemwa Dark Leaf Pu-erh Tea Dry Leaves
Satemwa Dark Leaf Pu-erh Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have a uniform faded black color. The leaves are small to medium sized leaf fragments. The leaves are rolled. There is a considerable amount of bare stems in the mix, some being the size of small match sticks. The leaves have a very dry, slightly rigid texture. The feel of the leaves is not grainy, like some loose shu pu’ers that I have had, which gives these leaves a comparatively clean appearance. The aroma is dominantly earthy, with scents of fresh soil, moss, raw cocoa, and light raw spinach. Do not be confused by the description, this aroma is quite clean and energizing.

The clean appearance of the leaves has inspired me to do two separate infusions, one cup that will have leaves which will receive a ten second rinse, and the leaves in the second cup will not be rinsed at all. This tea appears to be processed in such a way that the rinse is unnecessary.

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 brewing this tea at home is to use three grams of dry leaves for each six to eight ounces (180 to 240 ml) of water to be used. Heat water to 205°F (96°C). Steep the leaves for 2:00 to 3:00 minutes. The same leaves may be reused at least three to four times. Once I compare the rinsed infusion to the non-rinsed infusion, I will suggest whether the rinse is needed or not.

Satemwa Dark Leaf Pu-erh Tea Rinsed Infusion
Satemwa Dark Leaf Pu-erh Tea Rinsed Infusion
Satemwa Dark Leaf Pu-erh Tea Non-Rinsed Infusion
Satemwa Dark Leaf Pu-erh Tea Non-Rinsed Infusion

The infusion (both rinsed and non-rinsed) produced a liquor with an orange-brown color, perfectly clear and transparent. The non-rinsed infusion is just as clear as the rinsed infusion, may be a very slight shade darker, and has very little particulate. The rinsed infusion had even less particulate, but neither cup had much at all. The aroma had dominant scents of moist soil, dried prunes, moss, and wood. The non-rinsed infusion had a very slightly stronger aroma than the rinsed, but both had the same general characteristics. The body is medium-full, with a smooth, clean texture for both infusions. The rinsed infusion did not have any cleaner of a taste or texture than the non-rinsed. The taste had notes of mineral rich soil, moss, light raw cocoa, and light raw root vegetable. The taste is very complex, earthy, and invigorating. The non-rinsed had a slightly stronger taste, but the general characteristics were the same as the rinsed. The aftertaste is sweetly earthy, almost mossy, which is certainly not a description that I remember using before with regard to aftertaste. A mossy essence is left on the breath.

All things considered, I do not believe that a rinse is entirely necessary for this tea. I found very little difference between the rinsed and non-rinsed infusions. However, if you are new to pu’er tea, or generally prefer lighter taste, then I suppose a rinse will not deduct any of the important characteristics of this tea. On the other hand, if earthy pu’er is your preference, then skip the rinse.

Satemwa Dark Leaf Pu-erh Tea Infused Leaves
Satemwa Dark Leaf Pu-erh Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a uniform tar-black, almost glossy color. The leaves are all small to medium sized fragments, and there is a considerable amount of bare stems in the mix. The leaves have a rough feel, suggesting that multiple additional infusions will produce quality liquors. The aroma has the scent of moist, nutrient rich soil. It is an incredibly clean, fresh, and natural aroma. It makes me want to get out of this office and go do some gardening.

What an incredible experience this Dark Leaf Pu-erh Tea turned out to be! To be honest, the heavy earthy soil aroma will certainly put some doubt in the mind of those who do not drink ripe (shu) pu’er tea often. Please, do not judge this tea by the aroma of the dry leaves alone. Once my taste and perception of this tea adapted to the unique character, I could not put the cup down. As I finish this review, I am brewing up the third infusion, and it just keeps getting better. The taste is amazingly clean, uplifting, and natural. To this point, I have not found a loose shu pu’er that I have liked enough to consider keeping in my personal collection, but that ends here! The Dark Leaf Pu-erh from Satemwa Tea Estate deserves much respect! Between the white teas, black teas, and now pu’er teas that are just phenomenal from Satemwa, they are an oolong tea away from producing great tea products of all types. I still have a few green teas from Satemwa to try also.

Thank you to the management of Satemwa Tea Estate for providing this amazing sample! Cheers!

Satemwa TSFBOP1 Black Tea from Satemwa Tea Estate

The subject of today’s review is the Satemwa TSFBOP1 Black Tea from the Satemwa Tea Estate, located near Thyolo, in the Shire Highlands of Malawi. I have covered Satemwa Tea Estate fairly well on The Tea Journeyman Shop page introducing Satemwa. To read more about this beautiful estate that makes some truly incredible and unique teas, please click here.

As a tea enthusiast makes their way through the vastly different world of teas that come from each country or region, they are destined to be faced with some terminology or grading abbreviations that are new to them. This is one of those times for me. It is the “S” in TSFBOP1 that is throwing me off. In India or Nepal, for example, you will find TGFBOP (Tippy Golden Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe). Satemwa puts silver tips in this grade, which makes me believe that their distinct grading may be Tippy “Silver” Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe. That is my guess. If anyone has the correct breakdown of the abbreviation, please feel free to comment on this post so that I may revise as necessary.

Before we get started, this is a reminder of the 20% off sale going on at http://www.teajourneymanshop.com/. The sale runs through 11:59 PM EST on Sunday, August 24th. Use coupon code TJS20% at checkout.

The sample packet has been opened, and a sweet scent of dried tropical fruit and citrus is being enjoyed already. Let the journey begin…

Satemwa TSFBOP1 Black Tea Dry Leaves
Satemwa TSFBOP1 Black Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have a blend of black and copper brown colors, with a few silver tips and red stem fibers. All leaves and tips are small fragments, consistent with the BOP grading. The leaves are rolled. There are some bare stems, as well as stem fibers, in the mix. The leaves are very dry, and crumble easily. The aroma has scents of raw cocoa, dried tropical fruit, dried citrus, and spice.

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 suggestions for at home brewing is to use three grams per 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.

Satemwa TSFBOP1 Black Tea Infusion
Satemwa TSFBOP1 Black Tea Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a lively reddish-amber color, clear and transparent. The aroma is sweet, with scents of malt, wet forest floor, and citrus. The body is full, with a thick, smooth texture. The taste has notes of malt, citrus, light earth, and light wood. The aftertaste is sweet and brisk, and clean feeling is left in the mouth.

Satemwa TSFBOP1 Black Tea Infused Leaves
Satemwa TSFBOP1 Black Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves are mostly copper to reddish-brown, with a few greenish-brown leaves. The leaves are all small fragments. There are few bare stems, and a few tips in the mix. The leaves have a soft, smooth texture. The aroma has scents of citrus, light tropical fruit, malt, and wet forest floor.

This Satemwa TSFBOP1 Black Tea is worthy of taking more seriously as a possible future product at The Tea Journeyman Shop. This is a full bodied, robust black tea that is as close to perfectly balanced as I have found in full black teas. It is not overwhelming enough to need milk added, such as many Assam black teas, but is definitely heavy enough to take milk well. I believe that this tea could suit the preferences of many people, such as drinkers of English or Irish Breakfast teas, Assam teas, low grown Ceylon black teas, Keemun Hao Ya, and Yunnan Golden teas, among others. Honestly, I wish I would have given this product a more proper analysis when I first received these samples, because it would already be available at http://www.teajourneymanshop.com/! Well, it may soon be available anyway. I will keep you posted.

Thanks to Satemwa Tea Estates for the sample, and it was another excellent experience from one of my preferred estates. Cheers!

Satemwa Needles White Tea from Satemwa Tea Estates

I was in the mood for a good white tea last evening, and thankfully I still have some samples left from Satemwa Tea Estate. Among those samples, I found the Satemwa Needles. My search quickly ended for the subject of last evening’s review.

To learn more about Satemwa Tea Estates, located in the Shire Highlands of Malawi, check out their website here.

The sample packet has been opened, and the look of these needles have me excited. Let the journey begin…

Satemwa Needles White Tea Dry Leaves
Satemwa Needles White Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have a pale green to dark pale green color, with a generous portion of silver tips. The leaves are long, narrow, and some are slightly twisted. There are some bare tips, but most appear to be a fine leaf with the tip. There are fine silver hairs covering all leaves and tips. The aroma has scents of hay, and light sweet wood.

Five grams of dry leaves were placed in a 9.4 ounce (280 ml) Tokoname kyusu teapot. Filtered tap water was heated to 175°F (75°C). The leaves were infused for three minutes, with thirty seconds added to subsequent infusions.

Satemwa Needles White Tea 1st Infusion
Satemwa Needles White Tea 1st Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a bright, light golden-yellow color, clear and transparent. The aroma has scents of sweet hay, light papaya, and light spice (black licorice). The body is light-medium, with a delicate, soft, easy sipping texture. The taste has notes of sweet hay, light papaya, very light honey, and very light black licorice. The aftertaste is delicate, with notes of sweet hay. The essence left on the breath also resembles sweet hay.

Satemwa Needles White Tea 2nd Infusion
Satemwa Needles White Tea 2nd Infusion

The second infusion produced a liquor with a slightly darker golden-yellow color. The aroma is stronger on the papaya and black licorice scents, and lighter on the sweet hay. A citrus marmalade scent is also evolving. The body remains light-medium. The taste has also lightened on sweet hay notes, with the papaya, black licorice, light honey, and a touch of citrus marmalade taking the place of the sweet hay. The aftertaste and essence retain the delicate sweet hay note.

Satemwa Needles White Tea 3rd Infusion
Satemwa Needles White Tea 3rd Infusion

The third infusion produced a liquor with an identical color as the second infusion. The aroma remains fruity and sweet, with a light spice. The citrus marmalade and papaya scents are most dominant. The taste is also dominated by notes of papaya and citrus marmalade, with lighter notes of sweet hay, light honey, and black licorice. The third infusion had plenty of aroma and taste. It was nearly as good as the second infusion.

Satemwa Needles White Tea Infused Leaves
Satemwa Needles White Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a light forest green to light brown to brown color. Leaves consist of mostly a one fine leaf and generous bud pluck. The mature buds have a curved spear shape. The leaves and buds have a strong structural feel, and can easily produce another infusion or two of acceptable aroma and flavor. The buds average 0.5″ (13 mm) to 1″ (25.4 mm). The aroma is phenomenal, with scents of papaya, black licorice, and citrus marmalade.

The Satemwa Needles white tea definitely satisfied my desire for a white tea with a soothing aroma and relaxing texture. This tea blended the classic sweet hay aromas and tastes of Chinese silver needle tea with the citrus marmalade and papaya tastes that I have become familiar with in the white teas from Satemwa Tea Estates. This is a very good quality tea, and is a nice alternative to classic Chinese silver needle teas. Producing three strong infusion, with more to give, will assure you that this white tea will keep you company through the evening, or through a few hours sharing with friends.

Thank you again, Satemwa Tea Estates. Cheers!

Zomba Steamed Green Tea from Satemwa Tea Estates

The focus of today’s review is the Zomba Steamed Green Tea from Satemwa Tea Estates, located in the Shire Highlands of Malawi. For more information regarding Satemwa Tea Estates, please visit their website here.

Unfortunately, I got too distracted writing notes to remember to take a photo of the dry leaves, so we will have to do without that part of this review. My only consolation to missing this important photo is the fact that the dry leaves were not very unique in the appearance. Certainly they appeared as good quality and well processed, not to take anything away from these otherwise attractive leaves, but their was nothing notably unique about them compared to some other green teas from other growing regions. Anyway…

Let the journey begin…

The dry leaves have a pale green to dark green color, with a few very dark (almost black) leaves. The leaves are lightly rolled. All leaves appear to be medium to large fragments. There are some bare stems in the mix. The leaves have a very dry, thin, fragile feel. The aroma is very sweet, with scents of light brown sugar, molasses, citrus marmalade, and a very light sweet grass hint.

Nine grams of dry leaves were placed in a 18 ounce (530 ml) cast-iron teapot. Purified spring water was heated to 175°F (75°C). The leaves were infused for one minute thirty seconds.

Zomba Steamed Green Tea 1st Infusion
Zomba Steamed Green Tea 1st Infusion

The first infusion had pale yellow color with a jade tint, clear and transparent. The aroma had scents of light grass, white peach or nectarine, and light wood. The body was light, with a lively, almost citrus (lemon or lime) juice texture. The taste had notes of citrus (lime), fresh grass, light mineral (salt), light wood, and very light brown sugar. The aftertaste is sweetly grassy, with a light floral essence being left on the breath.

Zomba Steamed Green Tea 2nd Infusion
Zomba Steamed Green Tea 2nd Infusion

The second infusion produced a liquor with slightly more jade green than yellow color. The grassy and woody scents dominated the aroma, with the white peach or nectarine scents still present. The body remains light. The taste also was dominated by the grassy and woody notes, with the citrus notes lightening some, and the light salt mineral becoming very light, and the brown sugar almost non-existent. The aftertaste is grassy, with a light floral essence.

Zomba Steamed Green Tea 3rd Infusion
Zomba Steamed Green Tea 3rd Infusion

The third infusion produced a liquor with the lightest of color among the three infusions, having a light pale jade color with light yellow tint. The aroma and taste have lightened some, but produce the same general notes as the second infusion. One note is the light mineral taste seems to be more of a wet stone taste than a salt taste at this point.

Zomba Steamed Green Tea Infused Leaves
Zomba Steamed Green Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a light forest green to dark forest green color, with a few leaves being light copper brown. All leaves are small to medium fragments. There are some bare stems in the mix. The leaves have a silky, delicate feel. The aroma has scents of wood and fresh cut wet grass.

The Zomba Steamed Green Tea from Satemwa Tea Estates had some rather unique features in the cup, with a lime juice like texture, mineral salt in the taste, and a very sweet and fruity aroma to the dry leaves. This is a tea that I wish I had more leaves in the sample, because I get the impression that some playing around with the quantity of leaf and infusion times may produce a much different liquor. Unfortunately, this sample has been exhausted.

Thanks again to Satemwa Tea Estates for giving me the opportunity to sample this product. I still have a few Satemwa products to review, and as always, I am looking forward to each experience. Cheers!

Bvumbwe BSP White Tea from Satemwa Tea Estates

A quiet night at home this evening with my wife at class and my son in bed early. It is a perfect evening to focus my attention on a lighter, more subtle tea. Perusing my white tea samples, I came across the Bvumbwe BSP white tea (106) sample from Satemwa Tea Estates in Malawi. For more information on Satemwa Tea Estates, please click here.

The sample pack has been opened, and a unique, sweet wood, hay, and flowery aroma is escaping the packet. Let the journey begin…

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Bvumbwe BSP White Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves vary in color from light to dark green, and light to dark brown. The leaves are all medium sized fragments, and do not appear to have a defined or standardized shape. The shape of the leaves appears to have occurred naturally with the sun withering process. The pluck is difficult to determine, as the few stems that do exist in the mix are not whole. The aroma has scents of sweet wood, hay, and dry flowers. The appearance of this white tea is unlike anything I have seen from Asia, and is more similar to the few white teas of Hawaii that I have tried.

Five grams of dry leaves were placed in a 9.4 ounce (280 ml) Tokoname teapot. Filtered tap water was heated to 175ºF (75ºC). The leaves were infused for three minutes on the first infusion, three minutes thirty seconds on the second infusion, and four minutes on the third infusion.

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Bvumbwe BSP White Tea 1st Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a surprisingly dark yellowish gold, almost orange color, clear and transparent. The aroma is floral, sweet (light honey and hay), and a light hint of ripe tropical fruit. The body is medium, with a lively, yet smooth texture. The taste has notes of flowers, wood, sweet hay, light citrus, and very light honey. The aftertaste starts as floral, but develops into a fruity (prunes or raisin) essence.

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Bvumbwe BSP White Tea 2nd Infusion

The second infusion produced a liquor with a similar, but very slightly darker shade of yellowish gold, orange color. The aroma remained floral and sweet. The body remained medium, with a smooth texture. The taste remained floral, with notes of sweet hay, wood, and very light honey. The aftertaste remains floral, with a fruity essence.

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Bvumbwe BSP White Tea 3rd Infusion

The third infusion produced a liquor with a color that is lighter than the first two infusions, but still a dark yellow-gold-orange color. The aroma remains floral, with a more recognizable fruity hint. The body remains medium. The taste remains dominantly floral, with light citrus and honey notes. The aftertaste remains floral, sweet, and very pleasant.

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Bvumbwe BSP White Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves displayed a range of colors from bright to dark green, and light to dark brown. Many of the green leaves had substantial brown spotting on them. The leaves were all medium sized fragments, with an occasional well-developed tip in the mix. The stems displayed a two leaf pluck. The leaves had a thin leathery feel to them, and I believe they could produce another one to two infusions with good aroma and taste. The aroma of the infused leaves was quite floral, with a fruity sweetness, and hints of wood.

I enjoyed the Bvumbwe BSP White Tea very much. It was very unique and distinct from it’s Asian white tea counterparts, and I found the taste and aroma better than the Hawaiian white teas that have a more similar appearance. This white tea was not quite as light and delicate as many others are, yet the taste is very welcoming, lively, and uplifting. This is a perfect white tea to taste next to a Chinese Bai Mu Dan and a silver needle from India or Sri Lanka, for the distinction between the three would be very easy to feel, and all three would be a true pleasure to experience.

Thank you to Satemwa Tea Estates for providing yet another phenomenal tea sample in the Bvumbwe BSP White Tea. Cheers!

Thank you for taking your time to read this review. Please leave a comment and start a discussion.

Satemwa OP1 Black Tea from Satemwa Tea Estates

Continuing through the samples from Satemwa Tea Estates, today I will be reviewing the Satemwa OP1 black tea. For more information on Satemwa Tea Estates, please visit their homepage by clicking here.

Let the journey begin…

Satemwa OP1 Black Tea Dry Leaves
Satemwa OP1 Black Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have a light brown to dark brown color, with a few silver tips in the mix. The leaves are mostly medium to large fragments, with a few leaves appearing to be whole and quite large. Most of the leaves are nicely rolled, but some appear to have not gone through or been missed in the shaping process. The aroma is sweet and malty, with a light dried fruit hint.

Five grams of dry leaves were placed in a 9.4 ounce (280 ml) Tokoname teapot. Purified spring water was heated to 195°F (90°C). The leaves were infused for two minutes (1st infusion), two minutes thirty seconds (2nd infusion), and three minutes (3rd infusion).

Satemwa OP1 Black Tea 1st Infusion
Satemwa OP1 Black Tea 1st Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a lively golden-orange color, clear and transparent. The aroma was sweet (honey) and floral (orange blossoms). The body was medium, with a smooth texture. There was a moderate briskness to the taste. Other taste notes include a light malt, floral (orange blossoms), light citrus, and mineral (wet stone). The aftertaste was lightly sweet and floral.

Satemwa OP1 Black Tea 2nd Infusion
Satemwa OP1 Black Tea 2nd Infusion

The second infusion produced a liquor that was significantly lighter than the first infusion, with a golden-yellow color. All aspects of the tea lightened significantly. The aroma is lightly sweet, and the floral scent is more dominant. The body lightened some, and the brisk character has dissipated. The taste is floral and lightly sweet, with the mineral note remaining.

Satemwa OP1 Black Tea 3rd Infusion
Satemwa OP1 Black Tea 3rd Infusion

The third infusion produced a very similar liquor to the second infusion. There was not much of a further decline in aroma or taste.

Satemwa OP1 Black Tea Infused Leaves
Satemwa OP1 Black Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves were either a dark forest green color, or a light copper brown. The leaves were mostly large fragments, with more than a few whole, unbroken, and quite large leaves. A few bare stems and twigs were present in the mix. Stems showed a two leaf and small bud pluck. The aroma had the scent of fresh wet forest floor, and a light floral hint.

The first infusion of the Satemwa OP1 was very enjoyable. The sweet and floral aroma and taste, with the moderate briskness and smooth feel, made the first infusion a true pleasure to sip. The first infusion does not need any additives or help in offering a great drinking experience. The steep decline from the first to second infusion left me a bit underwhelmed with the second and third infusions. However, I had no trouble finishing the second and third infusions. They were simply not nearly as tasteful and aromatic as the first infusion. The appearance of the leaves, both dry and infused, were impressive.

I am looking forward to comparing the Thyolo and Satemwa OP1 teas from Satemwa Tea Estates to the Kangaita OP black tea from Mount Kenya. I hope to get to that comparison tomorrow. Thank you to Satemwa Tea Estates for providing this sample of Satemwa OP1 black tea. Cheers!

Satemwa Antlers White Tea from Satemwa Tea Estates

UPDATE: This product is now available for purchase at The Tea Journeyman Shop! Click here to purchase!

Here’s a tea who’s name has been catching my attention as I flip through my sample list, the Satemwa Antlers white tea. Satemwa Tea Estates has already surprised me with the high quality of the Zomba Pearls white tea, so I am interested to see how this Satemwa Antlers will compare. To read more about Satemwa Tea Estates, please click here.

The sample pack has been opened, and the appearance truly resembles deer antlers. Interesting, there are no leaves, only stems. Let the journey begin…

Satemwa Antlers White Tea Dry Stems
Satemwa Antlers White Tea Dry Stems

The dry stems vary in color from fresh green to brown and dark brown, with some silver tips in the mix. This product consists entirely of stems. There is one tip in the five grams used for this sampling. There are no leaf fragments whatsoever. The stems are between two to three inches (50 to 77 mm). There are short, soft silver hairs covering the stems. The stems show a two or three leaf with bud pluck. The aroma is very delicate, with scents of hay and wood.

Five grams of dry stems were placed in a 9.4 ounce (280 ml) Tokoname teapot. Purified spring water was heated to 185°F (85°C). The stems were infused for two minutes and thirty seconds.

Satemwa Antlers White Tea 1st Infusion
Satemwa Antlers White Tea 1st Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a lively pale yellow color, clear and transparent. The aroma was sweet, with scents of honey and lychee fruit. The body was medium, with a smooth, silky, satisfying feel. The taste was quite complex, with notes of lychee fruit, honey, and sweet wood. The aftertaste is sweet also. Very interesting. Excellent taste and texture.

Satemwa Antlers White Tea 2nd Infusion
Satemwa Antlers White Tea 2nd Infusion

The second infusion produced a liquor with a very slightly lighter shade of pale yellow than the first infusion. The aroma remains very sweet. The body remains medium and smooth. The taste has lightened on the sweet wood, and the lychee fruit note has become more prominent. The honey note remains, as well. I enjoyed this second infusion more than the first.

Satemwa Antlers White Tea 3rd Infusio
Satemwa Antlers White Tea 3rd Infusio

The third infusion produced a liquor with a very similar color to the first infusion. The aroma has lightened, but remains sweet. The taste has lightened overall, but retains the same general description. I am amazed with how good this third infusion tastes.

Satemwa Antlers White Tea Infused Stems
Satemwa Antlers White Tea Infused Stems

The infused stems have a greenish-brown color. Some stems show a two leaves and bud pluck, others show three leaves and bud pluck. One tip was found in the mix. There are no other leaves whatsoever. The aroma is very sweet, with hints of lychee fruit and sweet wood. The aroma of these stems is truly incredible. Certainly among the best aromas I have come across.

Every aspect of the Satemwa Antlers White Tea surprised me in very positive ways. The presence of only stems, with no leaves, was the first surprise. The amazingly sweet aroma and taste were unexpected. The texture was smooth and very satisfying. It was a thick, yet smooth sweetness. It was incredible, and unlike anything that I have tasted in other teas.

This product has lived up to the high expectations that I have developed for Satemwa Tea Estates. This was truly a pleasure to experience, and every tea drinker should give this product a try, if they can find it. Cheers!

Side by Side: Poabs Organic FOP Black Tea and Satemwa Thyolo OP1 Black Tea

Today, I have two black teas from two Rainforest Alliance Certified, Fairtrade estates in two different continents. The first product is the FOP black tea from Poabs Organic Estates in Kerala, southwest India. The second product is the Thyolo OP1 black tea from Satemwa Tea Estates (Thyolo Mountain) in the Shire Highlands of Malawi, southeast Africa.

Check out the website for Poabs Organic Estates here. Learn more about the Satemwa Tea Estates here.

Let the journey begin…

Poabs Organic FOP (Left) and Satemwa Thyolo OP1 (Right) Dry Leaves
Poabs Organic FOP (Left) and Satemwa Thyolo OP1 (Right) Dry Leaves
Poabs Organic FOP Dry Leaves
Poabs Organic FOP Dry Leaves

The dry leaves of the Poabs FOP have a uniform dark brown to black color, with little copper color. The leaves are medium sized, rolled fragments. There are some bare stems in the mix. The aroma is sweet, with scents of malt, brown sugar, and spice (pepper).

Satemwa Thyolo OP1 Dry Leaves
Satemwa Thyolo OP1 Dry Leaves

The dry leaves of the Satemwa Thyolo OP1 have a uniform black color, with little copper color in the veins/stems. The leaves are medium to large sized, rolled fragments, with a few leaves possible being whole. There are some longer stems in the mix, a few bare, others with small leaf fragments attached. The pluck appears to be two leaves and a small bud. The aroma is sweet, with scents of dark chocolate and dried fruit. The aroma reminds me of dark chocolate covered cherries.

For both samples, three grams of dry leaves were placed in a 5 ounce (150 ml) ceramic infusion cup. Purified spring water was heated to 205°F (96°C). The leaves were infused for three minutes.

Poabs Organic FOP (Left) and Satemwa Thyolo OP1 (Right) 1st Infusion
Poabs Organic FOP (Left) and Satemwa Thyolo OP1 (Right) 1st Infusion
Poabs Organic FOP 1st Infusion
Poabs Organic FOP 1st Infusion

The first infusion of the Poabs FOP produced a liquor with an orange color and a red tint, clear and transparent. The aroma was spicy (pepper), and lightly floral and malty. The body was medium-full, with a sharp, dry feel. There was a medium-strong astringency. The taste had notes of spice (pepper), mineral, and light floral. The aftertaste was lightly sweet and floral.

Satemwa Thyolo OP1 1st Infusion
Satemwa Thyolo OP1 1st Infusion

The first infusion of the Satemwa Thyolo OP1 produced a liquor with an orange color and a deep red tint, clear and transparent. The aroma was very sweet, with scents of dark chocolate and dried fruit (cherries). The body was full, with a round, silky, feel. There was a mild astringency. The taste was sweet, with strong notes of dark chocolate, fruit (cherries and raisins), with a light mineral hint. The aftertaste was sweet and lightly spicy.

Poabs Organic FOP (Left) and Satemwa Thyolo OP1 (Right) Infused Leaves
Poabs Organic FOP (Left) and Satemwa Thyolo OP1 (Right) Infused Leaves
Poabs Organic FOP Infused Leaves
Poabs Organic FOP Infused Leaves

The infused leaves of the Poabs FOP have a uniform copper color. All leaves are medium sized fragments, with some stems in the mix. The aroma has scents of spice (pepper) and light floral hints.

Satemwa Thyolo OP1 Infused Leaves
Satemwa Thyolo OP1 Infused Leaves

The infused leaves of the Satemwa Thyolo OP1 have a uniform dark brown-copper color. The leaves are mostly medium to large fragments, with a few whole leaves, and some long stems in the mix. The stems show a two leaf and small bud pluck. Some large fragments appear to be more mature leaves. The aroma has scents of cocoa, dark chocolate, and dried fruit (raisins, cherries).

Aside from the color of the leaves and liquors, these two black teas were vastly different in feel, aroma, and taste. The Poabs Organic FOP had a more spicy, floral aroma and taste, with a sharp feel. The Satemwa Thyolo OP1 had a sweet, fruity aroma and taste, with a silky, smooth feel. Comparison like this are a great way to smell and taste the difference that growing conditions have on the final product. It is also interesting to note that Poabs Organic Estates are known for their various types of pepper products, and the tea had a spicy, peppery smell and taste.

Both teas are highly enjoyable in their own rites. This was a great experience in comparing visually similar teas that turned out to be completely different in smell and taste. Thank you to Poabs Organic Estates and Satemwa Tea Estates for providing the samples! Cheers to both of your Rainforest Alliance Certified, Freetrade estates!