Friday, January 30, 2015

A Teatulia Tea Review Feature, Part One

Today we are taking a trip to Bangladesh, my first time to the best of my knowledge, experiencing tea from this region. I was unaware that tea was grown there (shakes fists at various tea books that neglects to mention this) but I am not at all surprised considering it is in a region very much so devoted to growing the leaf. This brings us to today's multi-part feature on the tea company Teatulia, named for the region in Northern Bangladesh where the tea is grown at the Kazi & Kazi Tea Estate. Teatulia is all about organic tea and Social Responsibility, they have an impressive list of certifications and programs to help both the environment and the people growing their tea. In part one of this little feature I am looking at the 'pure teas' (you know, Black, White, Green, and Oolong) and in part two I will look at some herbal teas and blends, so, let's get crackin'!

White Tea

Starting off with the tea with the least amount of processing and oxidation, good old fuzzy white tea. It is totally random if I will take a tea out of its bag if presented with a teabag, but I was feeling a bit lazy today and decided since teabags were made for convenience, I am going to use that ease of access. So, sniffing the teabag I get notes of wildflowers, fresh hay, a bit of lettuce, and a tiny bit of fruitiness at the finish. This is one of the more delicate white teas I have sniffed, giving it a steeping brings out more of the honey and wildflower notes, it reminds me of a summer field in full bloom.

The tea is surprisingly dark for a silver needle tea, it has the coloring of a shou mei, which excites me something fierce because that tea is fun. Ok, tasting the tea, it is similar to a shou mei, with rich honey and fruit notes with a bit of earthy loam. However there is also similarities to silver needle with delicate floral notes and vegetal (I almost always pick out this specific vegetal note as lettuce) and a touch of sage. I have no qualms saying that I chugged this cup really quickly, and not just because I had just woken up and desperately needed some caffeine.

Green Tea

Next up is the green, I decided to go in oxidation order, it just seemed appropriate. The aroma of the broken green leaves in the teabag is, well, rather green! It is like a blend of fresh spinach, buttered greens (specifically buttered cauliflower) and a little like fresh collards. Brewing the tea I found it surprisingly brisk, almost like a black tea with its briskness, there are also notes of honey and hay along with grass and a touch of spinach.

The taste of this one was similar to the aroma, brisk and green, and a little on the bitter side. Bitter like eating fresh kale, in fact the taste reminds me of kale at the beginning of the sip and then it transitions pretty intensely to mown grass and honey. Sadly this tea did not wow me over much, though I cannot be expected to like every tea I drink, just most of them.

Oolong Tea

Ah oolong, my possible favorite tea, it is hard to tell, it is certainly the tea I drink the most of. The aroma of the curly and rather dark leaves is pretty sweet, a blend of stewed cherries, honey, and distant orchids. There is also a hint of smoke and spice, though they are faint, only little whiffs. The brewed tea now is a powerhouse of raisins and cocoa with a hint of spicebush and smoke.

The taste is brisk for an oolong, reminding me more of a brisk black but instead of malt there are notes of raisins, sweet caramelized sugar, and a rich note of honey. This is definitely one of those times that it is an oolong that tastes like a mix between a green and a black, erring more on the black side. The aftertaste is slightly smoky, though it does not linger for very long.

Black Tea

Last stop on the oxidation train is the black tea, hopefully drinking these teas one right after the other will give me the caffeine boost that I need, if not I am going back to bed. So, the aroma of this tea is brisk with a blend of honey, woodiness, malt, and a touch of berries at the finish. It smells like an iconic black tea, at least to me it does. Brewing up the bag I get notes of malt and honey, it is both rich and sweet.

This tea is rich and brisk, just what I expect from a cup of a tea that smells so iconically like a black tea. There are notes of malt and woodiness with a distinct sweet blend of honey and berries at the finish. The briskness just starts to sneak over to the astringent side but stops before it gets mouth drying, which is a plus in my book. I could see this being a really good breakfast tea, and might be pretty tasty with cream and sugar.

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