Glendale Estate, Nilgiri, First Flush 2017 from Yatra Tea Company. . . . . .

If this tea were a man, it’d be at the bar picking up ladies left and right — because it is smoooooooooooooooooooooth. It has a dark, slightly spicy, very earthy flavor that melts on the tongue.

This is a great example of a classic Indian black tea. If someone were like, “hook a sister up with a Darjeeling*,” I’d toss this into their lap. “Give this a whirl. See how India treats you,” I’d reply.

* (No one says things to me like this. I would be SO RECEPTIVE to someone making a nice, specific tea request. Usually I get someone waffling around, asking if, um, I have any tea, that’s like, uh, black? Can they have a cup of, uh, black? I have about 50 types of black tea. I need more specificity.)

Do you know the history of tea in India? LET ME TELL YOU A STORY.

Once upon a time, the British realized they liked tea. But they didn’t want to pay Asia for tea. So they took over India and made the locals grow it for them instead. And they still grow tea in India today.

Interestingly, Indian black tea tends to be lighter, and slightly spicier, than its Asian counterpart. It’s like the spices from Indian cooking somehow correlate with the soil. That’s not science, I know, but it sort of FEELS like it, which is almost the same thing.

Next time you’re a little lonely, let a nice Darjeeling slide into your cup. You might just find love!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  Yatra Tea Company
Description

Residing at an elevation of between 4,000 and 6,000 ft., Glendale was established in 1835. Located in close proximity to the scenic city of Conoor in South India, Glendale is among the most recognized Nilgiri tea plantations and follows all global production standards.

Glendale, the anglicized version of “Gleann Dail” (Gaelic), roughly translates to a fertile valley and comprises of 3 gardens which combined make up 525 hectares of planted area.  Typical mountainous conditions allow for the production of distinctive “high grown” teas. The estate has a flourishing ecosystem, and while technology is pervasive, it exists without disrupting the essential characteristics that makes Glendale teas so sought after.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Himalayan Golden Tips/Rakkasan Tea Co.

This black tea comes from tea farms in Nepal. The region they harvest is similar and close to Darjeeling but production is much lower than the famous Darjeeling due to previous wars and the fact that their tea industry is undeveloped. These days production comes from six districts: Ilam, Dhankuta, Kaski, Terhathum, Sindhulpalchok, and Panchthar. Golden Tips from Rakkasan come from the IIam district from small farms. While not true for all farms, this tea is hand-plucked resulting in the big tea leaves you see below. The color is due to the the oxidation after 10-14 hours of wilting.
As far as taste goes it is somewhat reminiscent of a Darjeeling. It sweet and yet refreshing on the palate. There are also subtle woodsy notes of mahogany. This tea does not need milk or sugar and I would highly recommend not adding either. Even though it is specified as a black tea, like Darjeeling, it has very unique and subtle properties that are hard to detect if things are added to the tea.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Rakkasan Tea Company
Description:

Our Himalayan Golden Tips are hand-plucked and almost entirely made up of whole leaf buds. To make the fresh and stiff tea leaves flexible for shaping, the leaves are wilted between 10-14 hours depending upon climactic conditions. After gentle shaping, the leaves are fully oxidized, which turns the leaf buds a golden brown. This tea has creamy and cocoa notes that linger long on the palate—especially without milk or sugar.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Black Cherries in Sweet Cream from A Quarter To Tea. . . .

This Darjeeling, cherry, and cream tea is profoundly decadent. This blend tastes like a dessert that’s melty and gooey. The cream is so creamy that I feel like a farm where it came straight off the cow. Like, a fancy French cow.

A Quarter To Tea has a good grasp on cherries. I never liked cherries until their Chocolate Cherry Oolong showed up in one of my sample packs. It was a game-changer. So much so that my hopes were high for this one — and it succeeded.

When I went to this tea’s site, I discovered that this tea was inspired by Game of Thrones:

“Illyrio smiled as his serving men spooned out bowls of black cherries in sweet cream for them both.” (Dance with Dragons)

In case you forgot Illyrio (I did), he was the one that took care of the Targaryens while they were in hiding. If this is what he was serving people, well, I might hide out there, too. Does he have any space available?


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:   Black
Where to Buy:  A Quarter To Tea
Description

“Illyrio smiled as his serving men spooned out bowls of black cherries in sweet cream for them both.” (Dance with Dragons)

Luscious black cherries with a medium body darjeeling base, paired with heavy notes of cream and vanilla. Decadent enough to make a magister proud.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Darjeeling Castleton Second Flush 2017 from Grey’s Teas. . . . .

Recently I enjoyed a smoky black tea from Grey’s Tea that was a delight but not necessarily my first choice in teas.  But this second selection from Grey’s Teas definitely is.

Darjeeling Castleton Second Flush is an amazing smooth rich black tea that gives you all the tea feels from the very beginning.  From the moment when you open the tea to get ready to steep, you now you have an instant best friend.

Brewed with freshly boiled water and allowed to steep for four minutes, you will have yourself an amazing perfect cuppa tea! Rich smooth waves of delicious rich slightly astringent tea encases each and every sip with the most gorgeously silky finish.

Simple yet so full of flavors that all combine so well.  I’ve found that this tea is one of the more satisfying teas that I have had in a while and I can’t help but sit back and really immerse myself in the cuppa as I sip away.

This tea is a true gem and one that I have greedily sipped down in a few different sessions.  Extremely appreciated to have been able to enjoy this delight and excited to hear what my other Sisters have to say about this tea.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  Grey’s Tea
Description

Darjeeling Castleton Second Flush 2017 is from the Castleton garden established on the foothills between Darjeeling and Siliguri by Dr Charles Graham in 1885. In 1996 it became the first Indian tea garden to be awarded the ISO 9002 certificate of quality. This renown new season Darjeeling Castleton Second flush has a dark umber leaf. It is smooth, rich and has a distinct muscatel character with a long finish. Infuse one teaspoon per cup plus one for the pot with freshly drawn, boiling water for four minutes. Drink without milk. A most rewarding experience!

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Oaks SFTGFOP 1 CL SPL 2nd Flush 2016 Darjeeling Organic from Lochan Tea Limited

I steeped this tea for about 3 min at 212 with almost 2tsp and 1 cup water. I couldn’t find the product on the company’s website, so I just guesstimated the steeping specs. Which is always fun. I prefer to use the recommended specs if possible, in order to give the tea a chance to put its best foot forward (as it were), but I’m also fine with just doing whatever seems to work if there aren’t any recommendations.

The water started turning amber pretty quickly after I put the leaves in to steep. I used a generous amount of leaf due to not knowing the specs; probably a heaping teaspoon would have been sufficient, but of course that’s all up to personal preference. The leaves seemed to be chopped pretty small, but they’re not crushed into dust or anything. The fragrance was a bit malty and flowery while steeping, but also a bit astringent.

After steeping, the tea was a warm golden-brown color, transparent enough to see a stray leaf at the bottom of the cup. It smelled very inviting. Once I tasted it, though, I decided I’d steeped it a bit strong. The astringency was prominent, although fortunately the tea wasn’t bitter at all (despite using boiling water). The flavor wasn’t as malty as I expected, but there were still floral notes especially at the end of the sip. It’s a solid black tea, especially astringent but also somewhat sweet.

With sugar, the astringency is wonderfully mellowed and the floral notes emerge a bit more–I’d definitely recommend this. With milk added, I love it even more. (But what did you expect? I always do.) I’d consider this a great breakfast tea, and steeping it strongly is a good plan if you’re going to add sugar and milk, otherwise I’d recommend steeping it not quite so long (maybe 2 minutes?).


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black/Darjeeling
Where to Buy:  Lochan Tea Limited
Description

This tea is no longer on the website but click below for teas that are.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!