Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Inca Tea
We thought long and hard about how to make a black tea as unique yet as strong as the Incan Empire and what we came up with was Tawantin Black Tea.
Learn more about this tea here.
This Tawantin Black Tea marks the last of the four teas from Inca Tea that are currently available. I’m so happy that I had the opportunity to try all four teas.
Dry, the aroma is very subtle, I can smell notes of “black tea” and also hints of corn. The brewed tea has a similarly soft fragrance, it smells very much the same as the dry leaf, although I think I smell less corn and more black tea now, but it’s still a rather subtle scent.
But there’s nothing subtle about the flavor! This is a robust black tea with plenty of GUSTO. This would make a great tea to reach for first thing in the morning because it’s got a real strong, energizing flavor to it.
The description on the Inca Tea website lists the ingredients as
INGREDIENTS: Finest 3 black tea leaves (2 or which are organic) and purple corn. The Inca referred to their empire as Tawantinsuyu, “four parts together.” In Quechua, the term Tawantin is a group of four things (tawa, meaning “four”, with the suffix -ntin which names a group) This blend is a robust combination of 3 quality black tea leaves and purple corn.
An interesting bit of information about the name “Tawantin.” Inca tea does not state what types of black tea is used here, but based on what I’m tasting, I would venture a guess that there is either Assam or Nilgiri (or possibly both?) in this blend because it has a rich, malty note to it. Based on the slight bitter note that I taste toward mid-sip, I would guess that it’s an Assam. The nice round character and slight wine-like notes suggest to me that there is either a Keemun or a Yunnan in the blend (or possibly both), or if not one of these two (or both), perhaps a Kenyan?
Again, that’s all guesses on my part. I’m not sure of the teas used. But it is a full-flavored, rich tasting blend of teas. There is a slight astringency toward the tail and I find that this astringency starts out light and develops to more of a “medium” astringency as I make my way to mid-cup.
The thing that makes this tea different from the rest of the black tea blends that I’ve tried, though, is not the blend of black teas but the addition of purple corn. The purple corn does not present a strong, obtrusive flavor to the cup, but I can taste hints of a grainy flavor to the cup. With the casual sip, my palate has a hard time picking up the notes, so this is a tea you want to slurp a little bit so that you’re aerating the liquid onto the palate. When I do this, I can pick up on those grain flavors and it’s a very satisfying flavor as it melds with the malty notes of the black tea. It becomes almost bread-like … like a hearty loaf of freshly baked bread. Nice!
Since I was unsure of the teas used in this blend, I brewed one pyramid sachet of tea in 8 ounces of 205°F (rather than going for the full boil) and steeped it for 3 minutes. I think next time, I’ll steep it for just 2 1/2 minutes at the same temperature and see if this minimizes the slight bitter note. The bitterness isn’t bad nor is it putting me off on the cup, but, I would rather it wasn’t there so next time I’ll tweak how I brewed it just a little to see if the results are better.
But as it is, I find this to be pleasant cup of tea. I like the richness of the black tea and I like the subtle flavor that the corn brings to the cup. This is unique enough to be fun and interesting to drink but not so unique that it becomes unfamiliar.
I look forward to seeing what else this new company – Inca Tea – will offer in the future. These four teas that I’ve tried thus far have been quite nice!
Anne started her journey with tea as a casual drinker and became more serious about her tea drinking when she realized that she couldn't drink coffee. Shortly thereafter, she started becoming obsessed with the beverage and she started creating small-batch, artisan blends of tea that she sold online as LiberTEAS. After a few years, she realized she wasn't cut out to be the sole proprietor of a business so she closed LiberTEAS and started reviewing teas online. She met Jennifer through another blog that they both reviewed for and they decided to start their own review blog. This review blog!
Throughout her journey as a tea reviewer, she discovered 52Teas and became enamored with the idea of creating a new tea every week. When the founder of 52Teas decided he wanted to move on, he offered the business to Anne but knowing that she wasn't cut out to be a sole proprietor, she instead offered the company to her oldest daughter who employs her as the Mad Tea Artist for 52Teas!
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