Leaf Type: White Tea
Where to Buy: Tea People
This fine White Darjeeling tea is from the organically certified Makaibari tea estate located in the town of Kurseong. In the local language ‘Kurseong’ means the land of the white orchid. This tea is made from the delicate unopened leaves and yields the palest liquor with a light chestnut flavour.
Learn more about the white teas that are offered here. This particular variety does not look to be on the website any longer.
Makaibari Bai Mu Dan from Tea People is my first voyage into the lineup of what Tea People has to offer their customers. Lately, I’ve been in a flavored tea rut, not enjoying straight teas like I should. So I thought this would be a great start in forcing myself to try new straight teas.
First of all, I have to say the packaging, website, and the presentation of this tea and tea company are very well done. After doing a bit of research, this is a company I’m going to take another look at the next time I’m buying tea. Their packaging really catches my attention.
So let’s chat about the tea itself. What I first noticed was that the dry leaf really didn’t call my attention or have any defining notes. I was surprised by this but went about steeping the tea per the instructions provided by Tea People.
From what I can gather from the description, this tea is supposed to have a rather light chestnut flavor. That is a note that really does come thru, but that isn’t the attribute that I pick up from this tea. Mostly what I find myself picking up is this lovely whole mouth feel of astringent notes that really captivates the senses. Sure the lovely nutty flavors are quite nice, but that astringency says “Hello! Check me out!”.
So my final thoughts? I can’t say that I love this tea as much as I would love a floral white tea, but this Makaibari Bai Mu Dan was a real treat. I’m really enjoying this cuppa!
Where to Buy:
I was unable to locate this specific tea on their website so instead of adding the product description here I thought I would write a little bit about the company and their Single Estate offerings.
Tea People was founded by Neeraj and Vishaka, a husband wife duo along with their Scottish friend Gillian. Neeraj and Vishaka hail from the beautiful tea growing region of Darjeeling in India and have been living in the UK since 2005. In 2009 they came across a school in their hometown of Darjeeling that was in urgent need of some repairs and assistance. The school, known as MSK School, Sonadaserved the children of tea garden workers and other impoverished villagers in the area.
As the duo attributed their own success to the education they had received and firmly believed in the role of education in providing equal opportunities and in alleviating poverty, they decided to help. They teamed up with Gillian who at that time was running her own charity. The three of them together raised the required funds and provided the much needed assistance.
As for their Single Estate Teas…”Single estate” refers to any tea that comes from only one tea estate or garden, as opposed to being a blend from various estates. Single Estate Tea is unblended. These teas tend to have unique characteristics particular to that estate for that season. Like fine wines, they will vary somewhat from year to year. Single estate tea can be identified by the name of the estate, such as “Makaibari” or “Bannockburn,” that will appear in the name of the tea. People who have tried our single estate teas describe it as a revealing taste experience – similar to savouring a top of the range chateau bottled wine.
This is a no-nonsense type black tea. Considered one of their finest Darjeeling offerings I would tend to agree. It’s also one of their Single Estate Black Teas which was explained above. This Makaibari First Flush Vintage tea I was honored to try while it was still available.
The flavor of this specific tea was slightly woodsy, a bit florally-fresh, and even a little sweet. I didn’t notice as much in the 1st infusion – but follow-up infusions seem to have a nod of jasmine flavor in the end sip on to the after-taste. This is a pleasant tea that would be great to have on hand anytime you are in the mood for a straight-up Darjeeling Black tea or sharing with friends.
Leaf Type: Black (Darjeeling)
Where to Buy: Tea People
In Darjeeling, winter is the time for all tea plants to rest. Come spring, little leaf buds begin to appear and open amidst a flurry of activity. From these leaves is created a delicate tea meant for super connoisseurs of tea by the well known organically certified Makaibari tea estate located in the foothills of the Himalayas where the tea is grown at an altitude of around 4500ft.
The light liquor has the characteristic Darjeeling floral bouquet along with an incredible depth and complexity. Fantastic for afternoons when you need a little pick-me-up.
Learn more about this tea here.
I want to start by apologizing to our loyal readership for going a few days with no posts! Due to an unfortunate circumstance, I found myself without a tea kettle. I accidentally broke the glass carafe (or jar) of my Breville One-Touch and I was kind of … well, not even “kind of,” I was very devastated by the loss. I was depressed. I felt like I lost one of my best friends. And that may sound sad, but, hey, when you love tea the way I do, you know how important these tools become to you. Anyway … I’m still without the glass jar momentarily and am still sad about my loss but there is good news on that horizon which I will share with you in a future post.
For now, I’m using a stove top kettle and brewing some Darjeeling Tea from Tea People. Specifically, I’m drinking this Makaibari First Flush Vintage Black Tea.
And it is a lovely Darjeeling!
The aroma of the dry leaf is very earthy with notes of wood. It reminds me a bit of the smell of a forest just after a rain: wet wood and earth with notes of peaty moss. Once brewed, I notice more of a floral note emerging, and less of the woodsy/earthy tones.
The flavor is pleasantly crisp and smooth. Darjeeling teas tend to typically be a lighter tasting and feeling tea than other black teas, and this is true with this Darjeeling as well. It has a light, uplifting flavor and texture. It glides over the palate, offering flavors of notes of earth and flower, with a sweet fruit note that is present throughout the sip.
The sip begins with a woodsy sort of flavor and a subtle undertone of fruit. The fruit notes emerge more toward mid-sip, offering a sweeter flavor. As the sip nears the finish, the sweet fruit notes meld with a floral note and hints of earth are in the background. The finish here is not quite as astringent as some Darjeeling teas that I’ve experienced, in fact, it’s a very mild astringency. The aftertaste is lightly sweet.
It’s a beautifully complex cup of tea, and it’s definitely lifting my spirits!
Leaf Type: Fruit & Herbal Tisane
Where to Buy: Tea People
They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away. May we add our own to that ‘an appy a day keeps you happy all day’. The tea is made with luxury dried apple spiced with natural dried ginger, cardamom, pepper and cloves and sweetened with cinnamon and stevia. Add to that beautiful dried petals of cornflower and you have the tea of your dreams! A perfect drink for cold days to spice up your day, it also tastes heavenly as iced tea on a hot summer day.
Ingredients: Natural dried Apple, Hibiscus, Dried Ginger, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Cloves, Pepper, Stevia, Cornflower petals and Natural flavours
Learn more about this tisane here.
As I was reading through the ingredient list of this Spicy Apple Tisane from Tea People, I found myself wishing that they didn’t include stevia in this. This is my “usual” complaint when it comes to tea or tisane blends with stevia in it, I personally prefer the option to sweeten or not sweeten, and I prefer to choose my sweetener. Stevia isn’t my favorite sweetener, because it’s one of those things that when overdone … it’s just wrong. That said, I have tried several teas/tisanes that have had stevia in the blend and I liked them just fine, so I’m going to keep an open mind until I’ve tasted it!
Hey – this is pretty good! I do think that the stevia is a little too much, and that it would be better without the stevia, but, I really like the taste of the apple and the spices. It’s kind of like an apple cider with masala chai spices!
The hibiscus is on the lighter side here, and really all it seems to do to this particular blend is add a little color and texture to the brewed liquid. I’m not getting that hibiscus tart from this, and that’s a good thing as far as I’m concerned.
The apple flavor is well-defined, as are the spicy notes. The spices are nicely balanced. I taste ginger, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom, and there is just a hint of pepper to this that sort of tickles the back of the tongue in the aftertaste. I like that the spices are not competing with one another in this tisane and it’s spicy but it’s not overdone. I think that even those who are not generally too keen on spicy teas or tisanes could enjoy this because it’s warmly spiced, but not too spicy.
Overall, a nice tisane. If I were blending it, I would have omitted the stevia, because I think that there is just a little bit too much of it in this blend. It has a slightly “funky” sweetness to it, and while it doesn’t deter from my enjoyment of the drink, I think I’d enjoy it a lot more if the stevia wasn’t there.
Leaf Type: Oolong (Darjeeling)
Where to Buy: Tea People
A superb creation of Makaibari, this bio-dynamically grown tea walks the world between green and black. The amber liquor produced is not like any other oolong ever made. Naturally sweet tasting and with characteristic flowery undertones it also exhibits lemony, vegetal and earthy qualities. It is perfect for any time of the day and is highly recommended by our tasters at Tea People.
Makaibari tea estate is one of the first organically certified tea gardens of Darjeeling. It is located in the foothills of the Himalayas in the town of Kurseong where the tea is grown at an altitude of around 4500ft.
Learn more about this tea here.
I’ve been looking forward to trying this Makaibari Darjoolong Tea from Tea People! Why? Well, first, I’ve tried and reviewed quite a few different teas from Tea People at this point and I’ve been impressed with what I’ve tried. Second, I’ve tried a few Darjeeling Oolong teas (but not nearly enough!) and I’ve enjoyed those! So, I was certain I’d enjoy this tea.
What I find so intriguing about Darjeeling Oolong teas is that they seem to encapsulate what I love most about both teas. I adore Oolong tea – I love that sweet taste and the thick, luscious texture of an Oolong tea. And yep … this Darjoolong has that. I also adore Darjeeling teas – especially a Darjeeling with a delightful muscatel note. Yep … this Darjoolong has that too.
I approached the brewing of this Oolong tea the same way I’d brew any Oolong: in my gaiwan. I administered a quick rinse (15 seconds in hot water) and then steeped the first infusion for 1 minute. 45 seconds would have worked quite nicely too, I think, because this cup is plenty strong. I add an additional 15 seconds to each subsequent infusion. I combine the first two infusions together into one cup, and the third and fourth infusion will combine to create my second cup, and the third cup will combine infusions five and six. And so it goes…
As I mentioned in the previous paragraph, this first cup is very flavorful. More flavorful than the “average” first cup of Oolong. It is strong with mustcatel notes – beautiful, grape-y, wine-like flavors. It tastes very Darjeeling-esque, but, with a smoother, softer texture. The top notes are fruity and wine-like, with an earthier middle note with light woodsy notes. Overall, it’s sweet, but there is a slight savory note that meets my palate at about mid-sip. There is a light to medium astringency and a sweet aftertaste.
The second cup was a bit smoother than the first, the flavors were not quite as focused as the first cup. I could certainly still taste the muscatel, and the notes of wood. I taste a slight “char” to the wood this time with a slight mineral-y note. The astringency is milder this time. Still sweet and crisp, and very much like the love child between a second flush Darjeeling and a Dark Oolong.
My third cup was my favorite cup of the three! That doesn’t happen often. Usually, the second cup is my favorite, occasionally the first is the favorite, but very seldom (as in, I can’t remember the last time this has happened!) is the third cup my favorite of the tea experience with an Oolong. Now, I taste more Oolong and less “Darjeeling” notes, and perhaps that’s why I prefer this cup. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I love the Darjeeling notes of this tea! But, I’m more a fan of Oolong than of Darjeeling, and I love the way the Oolong notes are shining through in this third cup.
I taste peach notes along with a very subtle muscatel. There is next to no astringency in this cup, and the flavors are soft and buttery. Less of the woodsy/earthy notes are tasted, and more of a honeyed sweet peach note. Imagine a bowl of fresh, tree-ripened peach slices that have been cooked down a bit to intensify their sweet flavor, and then this bowl of peach slices is drizzled with honey. Yeah – it’s OK to drool right now! – that’s what I’m tasting with this cup. YUM!
A really lovely tea experience from this “Darjoolong!” I highly recommend this to fans of Darjeeling teas as well as fans of Oolong. And definitely take the time to go through a few infusions, it’s well worth that effort!