Monday, May 22, 2017

Kora Tea And Crafts: Black Beauty and Autumn Leaves, A Tea Review

Ben and I are about to delve into something very stupid, we are going to start playing Standard. Last week we went on a grand tour of all the various Magic The Gathering themed shops in the area and unsurprisingly Standard is the main thing everyone plays, with a bit of Legacy and Commander scattered about. As much as I love my seemingly endless games of casuals against Ben, I do need to get out of the house once in a while (this is hard since I am a recluse) so we have decided to dabble in Standard. We figure we can make a couple of playable (not competitive because no way am I dropping $300 on a deck I can only play for a limited time) decks for a decent price. He will be playing red-green delirium and I will be playing white-black mummies, eventually sneaking back to mono black with either a mountain of zombies or going control (I just want to play with mummies for a bit because I adore mummies.) I am hoping that sticking with a single color will help me rotate cards in and out as sets rotate, we shall see! Chances are I chicken out and just hide under a table though.

I have written many times of my love of Nepalese tea, how it always tastes so clean and pure to me, it is one of those regions where the tea itself really captures the environment and I feel like I am being refreshed by the beautiful mountain air. So I was very pleased to try two teas offered by Kora Tea And Crafts, a black and a green, both from Ilam but from different estates. Starting off with the Autumn Leaves, an oxidized green tea from La Mandala Estate, the leaves look like the first touch of Autumn after a hot summer, still green but with that curl of red and brown along the edges. The aroma is immensely light, like dried leaves with a slight underlying crispness. Steeping the leaves brings out some notes other than dried leaves, bell pepper, spicebush, and a bit of a menthol finish make up the bulk of the mostly delicate aroma. The finish has a bit of a buttery and floral note, but it is faint.

The first time I brewed this tea I used a lower temperature like I usually do for greens, but it was so light that I decided to push it with more heat bringing the temperature to 195° and I am glad I did because this tea can handle the heat. The mouthfeel is immensely crisp, like biting into a cucumber crisp, and that is a fair comparison since there are notes of cucumber, lettuce, spring water, peony blossoms, and a bit of eggplant. It is very refreshing, especially on a hot day where its gentle cooling sensation in my belly was quite welcome. Later steeps bring in a more smooth mouthfeel, bordering on buttery, with longer lasting floral notes that linger well into the aftertaste.

Black Beauty is black tea from Jasbire Estate and of course, I was very excited about it because I adore Nepalese black teas! The aroma is more than a little mouthwatering, with notes of chocolate bread, yams, roasted pecans, peanuts, and a bit of a malty finish. It is very rich and sweet, so exactly what I like in my black tea! Steeping the tea just makes it richer, stronger notes of yams and chocolate bread blend with an underlying floral note that gives it a lovely decadent sweetness, I might have had my nose in the gaiwan sniffing the leaves longer than strictly necessary.

So, you can tell I liked this tea a lot because my sample of it is already gone, something about black teas that are smooth, sweet, and rich...they never stick around very long. It starts with gentle floral notes of peony and a bit of osmanthus but drizzled in dark chocolate with a helping dose of yams and starchy bread. Later steeps bring in a bit of woodiness and malt with stronger dark chocolate notes but lighter flower ones, it is a touch less sweet towards the finish as well, focusing on the richer notes. I am sad I have already drunk all of this tea and predict I will get more, and at $25 for 100g I probably won't run out for a while...maybe...

This tea was sent for review purposes by the company.

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