Superior Grade Flowery Pekoe Black Tea from Craigmore Plantations

It seems like it has been a long time since my last review. To be honest, I am starting to run low on interesting samples to review, and some that I do have would produce reviews that are slightly redundant due to the similar types of teas that these sample packages contain. Also, I have had an opportunity come my way that has taken some of my time from my reviews, and I hope to have more of an announcement forthcoming on that opportunity within a few months.

Anyway, enough excuses and talk, let’s get to the review. Today, I am focusing on the Superior Grade Flowery Pekoe Black Tea from the Craigmore Plantations. The Craigmore Plantations are located in the Nilgiri Hills of Tamil Nadu state, in southern India. This Superior Grade Flowery Pekoe is considered high altitude grown, with the average altitude being about 5,500 feet (1,675 meters) above sea level.

The sample packet has been opened, and this black tea certainly has a very fresh flowery scent. Let the journey begin…

Craigmore Superior Grade Flowery Pekoe Black Tea Dry Leaves
Craigmore Superior Grade Flowery Pekoe Black Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have a perfectly uniform black color. There are very few stems in the mix. The leaves are all medium sized fragments, machine rolled, and shaped more like small lightly rolled pellets, which is consistent with the pekoe grade. The pellets have a rigid, very dry feel, and crack easily into coarse pieces. The smell has scents of fresh wild flowers, malt, white pepper, light sweet wood, and perhaps a very light touch of candied cranberries.

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. The same serving of leaves may be used twice, with the expectation of the second infusion being lighter in character.

Craigmore Superior Grade Flowery Pekoe Black Tea Infusion
Craigmore Superior Grade Flowery Pekoe Black Tea Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a bright reddish-orange color, clear and transparent. The smell has scents of white pepper, wood, wild flowers, light malt, and fresh baked bread. The body is full, with a lively yet smooth texture. The taste is somewhat brisk, and has notes of white pepper, wood, light malt, light wild flowers, and fresh baked bread. There is a strong, but not overpowering, astringency that lightens as the liquid cools. The aftertaste is sweet, woody, with a touch of peppery spice. The sweet aftertaste pleasantly lingers on the breath.

Craigmore Superior Grade Flowery Pekoe Black Tea Infused Leaves
Craigmore Superior Grade Flowery Pekoe Black Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a fairly uniform copper color, with a few leaves leaning toward a greenish-brown. The leaves are all medium sized fragments. There are very few stems in the mix.The leaves have a smooth and leathery texture, and are not delicate. The smell has scents of fresh baked bread, white pepper, wood, and light wild flowers. The smell gets significantly sweeter as the leaves cool.

Of the four black teas that I have sampled from Craigmore Plantations, the Superior Grade Flowery Pekoe has been the favorite. The lively, smooth, texture and full body gave a boost of energy the moment the liquid hit my tongue. The spicy, woody taste is robust yet not overpowering. This tea will take milk, sugar, or lemon very well, but is certainly palatable on its own. The high altitude terroir can be felt in the flowery notes of the aroma and taste of the liquid, as well as the moderately brisk character. The bright color of the liquid is uplifting and inspiring. The expertise in production can be seen in the uniform appearance of the dry leaves. Overall, this is a very good quality Nilgiri black tea.

Thank you to the management of Craigmore Plantations for providing this sample of Superior Grade Flowery Pekoe Black Tea. Cheers!

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Teaneer Aristocrat Green Tea from Teaneer Teas and Vijayalakshmi Natural Farm

I am getting to the end of my samples from Teaneer Teas and Vijayalakshmi Natural Farm, located in the Nilgiri district of south India. I did save the tea which I found to have the most intriguing name for last, the Teaneer Aristocrat.

The sample packet has been opened, and an interesting aroma is escaping the bag. Let the journey begin…

Teaneer Aristocrate Green Tea Dry Leaves
Teaneer Aristocrate Green Tea Dry Leaves
Teaneer Aristocrate Green Tea Dry Leaves (2)
Teaneer Aristocrat Green Tea Dry Leaves (2)

The dry leaves are brownish-green to dark brown in color, with a generous portion of silver tips. The leaves are long (leggy), and twisted, displaying a two leaf and bud pluck. The leaves are mostly whole with stem attached. There are a few large fragments, and some crumbs, but no bare stems. The aroma has scents of dry hay, barnyard, earth, light cocoa, and very light dark pit fruit. The aroma is quite complex. The dry leaves from Teaneer always appear darker than other green teas, but the true character comes out in the liquor and appearance of the infused leaves.

Three grams of dry leaves were placed in a five ounce (150 ml) ceramic infusion cup. Purified spring water was heated to 175°F (75°C). The leaves were infused for one minute thirty seconds, with fifteen seconds being added to subsequent infusions.

Teaneer Aristocrate Green Tea 1st Infusion
Teaneer Aristocrat Green Tea 1st Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with pale, light yellow color, clear and transparent, with some fine particulate. The aroma has scents of hay, forest floor, mineral, and earth. The body is light-medium, with a delicate and clean texture. The taste has notes of mineral (wet stone), earth (forest floor), light hay, light wood, and light marine air. The aftertaste has a mineral and hay character, while the essence that is left on the breath combines hay with flowers. There is a very clean, refreshed feel left in the mouth.

Teaneer Aristocrate Green Tea 2nd Infusion
Teaneer Aristocrat Green Tea 2nd Infusion

The second infusion produced a liquor with a darker shade of golden-yellow color. The fine particulate continues to be present in the second infusion. The aroma retains the scents of earth, forest floor, mineral, and a hint of marine air. The body and texture retain similar characteristics to the first infusion. The taste is better balanced, and retains the same general notes as the first infusion, again with the marine air note gaining some strength. The aftertaste and essence remain the same as the first infusion.

Unfortunately, my camera malfunctioned after taking the third photo, but I did not realize it until now, so there is no photo of the third infusion. The third infusion produced a liquor with a lighter shade of golden yellow than the second infusion, but still darker than the first infusion. The fine particulate continues to be present even in the third infusion. The aroma has lightened some, and retains the scents of minerals, forest floor, and marine air. The body is light. The taste has lightened some, and retains notes of mineral, forest floor, earth, and marine air. The aftertaste and essence have lightened some.

Teaneer Aristocrate Green Tea Infused Leaves
Teaneer Aristocrat Green Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a very fresh light to average forest green color. There is some black particulate remaining on the leaves.The leaves have mostly a two leaf and bud pluck. There are some more developed buds in the mix, and no bare stems. Most of the leaves are whole with stem intact, and other leaves are large fragments. The leaves are long and narrow, and have a soft, almost faux-leather texture. I believe another worthy infusion could be extracted from these leaves. The aroma has scents of forest floor, hay, and very light cocoa.

Some of these green teas from Teaneer, including this Aristocrat product, are very unique in their appearance, being covered by a dark film-like material that can be seen as fine particulate in the cup, and even some left on the infused leaves. I assume this is a result of the firing procedure employed by Vijayalakshmi Natural Farm. I also assume that it is this firing procedure, and the resulting dark film, that gives the tea the earthy, mineral, forest floor characteristics. Although this may seem to sound unclean, this tea leaves behind a very clean feel in the mouth, and has a very refreshing effect. It takes some adaptation, but by the end of the first infusion, I began liking this tea much more.

Cheers to Teaneer Teas and Vijayalakshmi Natural Farm for providing another unique and interesting sample!

Teaneer Panfired Green Tea from Vijayalakshmi Natural Farms

Getting back to the samples provided by Teaneer Teas and Vijayalakshmi Natural Farms, the Panfired green tea looks most interesting to me today.

Although Teaneer and Vijayalakshmi Natural Farms do not have an official website, or at least one that I can find, they are present on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter as Teaneer. Vijayalakshmi Natural Farms is located in the Nilgiri district of south India.

The sample pack has been opened, and the appearance of these dry leaves has sparked my interest. Let the journey begin…

Teaneer Panfried Green Tea Dry Leaves
Teaneer Panfired Green Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have a dark green color with yellow blotches. There are also some smaller silver tips. The leaves are twisted. Most of the leaves appear to be whole, unbroken leaves with stem attached. The pluck is mostly two and a small bud, but some of the leaves appear to have the third leaf on the stem, as well. Others are large fragments. There are no bare stems or twigs. The aroma has scents of sweet wood, sweet hay, and a light fruity hint. I can say that I have never seen a tea with an appearance similar to this tea. Although I assume that the yellow blotches on the leaves are the result of the panfiring process, I wish I knew more about the in depth chemistry that leads to this occurrence.

Five grams of dry leaves were placed in a 9.4 ounce (280 ml) Tokoname teapot. Purified spring water was heated to 175°F (75°C). The leaves were infused for one minute on the first infusion, thirty seconds on the second infusion, and forty-five seconds on the third infusion.

Teaneer Panfried Green Tea 1st Infusion
Teaneer Panfired Green Tea 1st Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a light, pale jade greenish yellow color, clear and transparent. The aroma has scents of roasted nuts, light wood, and light hay. The body is light, with a round texture. The taste has notes of wood, roasted nuts, grass, and a light floral hint. The aftertaste is grassy and floral.

Teaneer Panfried Green Tea 2nd Infusion
Teaneer Panfired Green Tea 2nd Infusion

The second infusion produced a liquor with a more specific light, pale jade green color, less yellow tint. The aroma retains the scents of roasted nuts, wood, and hay. The body and texture are the same as the first infusion. The taste is also very similar, with the grassy character taking over some of the roasted nut note. The wood and floral notes are the same, as well as the grassy and floral aftertaste.

Teaneer Panfried Green Tea 3rd Infusion
Teaneer Panfired Green Tea 3rd Infusion

The third infusion has an identical color to the second infusion. The aroma, body, and tastes are slightly lighter, but retain the same general descriptions as the second infusion. This third infusion had plenty of aroma and flavor to offer.

Teaneer Panfried Green Tea Infused Leaves
Teaneer Panfired Green Tea Infused Leaves

As usual with the teas from Vijayalakshmi Natural Farms, the infused leaves look and smell very fresh. The color is a uniform bright, lively forest green. The leaves are long and narrow. The pluck is mostly two and a small bud, with some having the third leaf included in the pluck. There are a few longer, more generous buds in the mix, as well. The majority of leaves are whole and unbroken. The remaining leaves are large fragments. The aroma is very fresh, and has scents of wet wood, fresh grass, and flowers.

In the past, I have had a hard time appreciating panfired green teas. They never tasted bad to me, but I just could not find the high level of pleasure that other tea enthusiasts have found in them. What I can say about this Teaneer Panfired green tea is that it is one of the panfired green teas that I did find pleasurable, and there were no aspects that I found unpleasant. In my world of panfired green teas, it holds a respectable place towards the top of the list. The appearance of the dry leaves is very interesting, and the appearance of the infused leaves is beautiful. The care and effort put into the teas from Vijayalakshmi Natural Farms is evident in all of their products, and this Panfired Green Tea certainly fits that mold perfectly.

Thank you to Teaneer and Vijayalakshmi Natural Farms for providing this sample of Panfired green tea. Cheers!