Late last year I received a package with two amazing teas from India. There were given to me by Naveen Murugesan -who kindly contacted me on his trip to Barcelona- and whose brother in law owns the factory in Nilgiri. Unfortunately we didn’t have the chance to meet in person but we were in touch by email until I had the package with me.
The tea brand is Korakundah, a name given after the plantation where these teas are grown and produced. According to the Australian Tea Masters, Korakundah plantation in India is the highest altitude tea factory in the world at approximately 7000 feet and they belong to the United Nilgiri Tea estates Co Ltd (UNITEA).
The two teas that I received are an organic white tea, a rarity from Nilgiri, and a classic black tea typical of this region.
Thank you Naveen for being so kind and contacting me during your stay in Barcelona. It has been a pleasure to taste these teas and to be able to enjoy many cups just for myself. I hope you enjoyed your visit and I look forward to tasting more of these delicious teas in the future.
For more information about Korakundah teas please visit:
This month I received tea samples from Grey’s Teas, a brand that I had heard of but that I hadn’t have the chance to try so far. So, I was fortunate enough to be contacted by Richard Grey, his founder, to taste and review some of their teas. I chose samples that were new for me so I could also take the opportunity to discover the brand through teas I am not familiar with.
Tai Ping Hou Kui
I find it light bodied, quite vegetal but also nutty and with toasted notes that remind me slightly to hojicha. Spinachy, a bit citrusy as well almost like lemon. Aftertaste quite toasted like tobacco and wood. Judging from its appearance, I never imagined these distinctive roasted notes coming out of this green tea.
Kenya White Lelsa Silver Tip
Wet leaves have citrusy aroma like passion fruit or tamarind. The flavour is like hay with a dark chocolate long aftertaste. The color of the liquor is yellowish, not so pale to be a white tea. Quite an interesting discovery!
Formosa GABA Oolong
Wet leaves smell like dried plum. It is very fruity and heavy in the mouth, round and velvety. Low astringency, notes of pineapple and a toasted end. And, on top of that, you get all the benefits of GABA in one cup! This formosa Oolong was my overall favourite.
Thank you Grey’s Teas for the samples, it has been a pleasure to taste them all!
Last February I went to Berlin for few days to meet with some friends during the Berlinale Film Festival. As my friends already knew the city I didn’t make any plans but there was just one thing I was really looking forward on doing: visiting Paper and Tea, a tea shop that I love.
Since we “knew” each other through social media, a week before my trip I sent them a email saying that I was going to Berlin and I wanted to say hi, but unfortunately I didn’t get any reply. Nevertheless I told my friend Marlies, who also loves tea, that we should go anyway and check out the store as we’ll be able to get some nice teas to bring back home and also just to have a look around.
We went to the Concept Store, a gorgeous shop located in the neighbourhood of Charlottenburg where we wandered around sniffing all the teas on display, admiring the collection of teaware while we sipped a black Keemun they had kindly offered us.
We had finally made up our minds choosing some teas and they told us that we could have a small tasting. I wanted to try the Maia’s Pick and we had the opportunity to try the Sakura Garden as well. We had a lovely tasting and made the final decision on the teas we wanted.
At the till I mentioned to the guy from the shop that I had a tea blog and that a week before I wrote to them saying that I was coming and that I wanted to say hi and finally meet them in person. He was very surprised and sorry that I didn’t get any reply from them as they are always happy to welcome bloggers and offer proper tasting, a nice tour through the store and many things more. But the truth of the matter is that he had done so already. He gave us a great tasting and he was very nice! His name is René and we stayed even longer chatting away. He also gave me more tea samples to taste (coming below) and a couple of the signature tote bags with the P&T message: “You drink coffee I drink tea my dear” for me and my friend. He was very kind, welcoming and interesting to talk to and we even exchanged emails and cards. So I am glad I introduced myself after all!
Here are the samples I got: a White Pu Er Bai Ya from Yunnan China, a green Jade Bud (organic bio) from Hubei China and a Sencha, Sakura Garden from Mie Japan.
I also got for myself a delicious Osmanthus Oolong “Change-e Forever” that I love to have in the morning when I want to daydream: roasted and flowery at the same time, well balanced and perfect. And the “Maia’s Pick” that combines the grassy taste and colour of a sencha with the sweetness of a Chinese green. Absolutely delicious!
This store really exceeded my expectations in every sense. Not only do they have a gorgeous, minimalistic space to celebrate tea but also high quality tea from almost every corner of the world, plus they know how to make people fall in love with their selection.
Thank you Paper and Tea and René for having us!
In this opportunity we head off to Northern Bangladesh, to the region of Teatulia.
Teatulia is a company that specialises in organic tea from their own single USDA-certified organic garden in northern Bangladesh, offering a range of teas as well as herbal infusions.
I have had the pleasure to taste and review three of their award-winning organic teas from the North American Tea Championship: a white, an oolong and a black tea and now to share my notes with you.
Few months ago I was talking to a Wine Sommelier, as I was looking to buy an organic and natural wine, and she made me taste one of her favourites that she described as “wild”. She used the term to say it was “as nature intended” and I loved it as it perfectly described the taste and the feeling of that particular wine. The experience still lingers on my mind and I think the term can be applied to these teas as well. For me their best quality is precisely that they are natural but sophisticated at the same time, raw and refined; a fantastic result of the way they have been grown and produced.
I also appreciate the fact that this brand has a strong social commitment with the local community who works at the garden and the environment. In a world where profit and mass production is the norm, it is refreshing to come across with companies with a sensitive and sustainable approach to business.
Thank you Teatulia for this experience!
Few weeks ago I received a little box covered in a sewn white cotton fabric with a beautiful red wax seal. It had travelled from New Dehli to Barcelona all the way. Inside the box there was just tea, tea leaves awaiting…
This parcel comes from Golden Tips Tea, a company established in 1933 that specialises in pure Single Origin unblended teas from India that they have kindly sent to me and that I now have the pleasure to review.
Below you will find each one of the teas with some of my notes and thoughts. I hope you find them useful and somehow inspiring.
Arya Pearl Darjeeling
Temp 80C / Time 5 min
Elegant, long, almost untouched dry leaves with a beautiful soft olive green colour. The perfect leaf set of one bud and one or two leaves. Altogether they look like dancing leaves.
With a nice bright and pale yellow liquor, this is a very delicate tea with fresh aroma and fruity taste of passion fruit or even elderflower. Unlike other white teas, this one has a very low or none astringency and a very silky texture in the mouth. Nice and subtle tea with a medium sweet fruity aftertaste.
Glendale Jasmine exotica
Temp 80C / Time 3 min
The smell of the dry leaves is striking: it has the enchanting aroma of fresh jasmine.
The leaves are green and brown in different shades with abundant golden tips.
Its pale yellow liquor is mellow in taste with subtle hints of jasmine, almost faded. It has a low astringency and a medium sweet light aftertaste. Nice and pleasant to drink: it is delicate, fresh and flowery. If I had just tried this tea without knowing what type it was, I might have thought it was a white tea.
I have a soft spot for jasmine green teas and I couldn’t resist trying a jasmine tea from Nigiri, India. I must say it is a peculiar experience: the infusion has the character of an Indian tea but the aroma of Jasmine adds a unique layer to it.
Thurbo Darjeeling Oolong
Temp 90C / Time 4 min
Mixture of short brown and green leaves with lots of silver tips. Nice and uniform in size.
Beautiful amber liquor. It is a powerful tea with the characteristic muscatel grape taste with a punch of fruitiness. It also has a long fruity aftertaste. Medium silky body. This was my favourite of all four. It is my first time tasting an oolong from Darjeeling and I loved it, it has something special!
Castleton Moonlight Black Tea
Temp 90C / Time 4 min
The dry leaves are olive green and brown with presence of silver tips: the classic beautiful colour of a fine first flush Darjeeling.
Bright light caramel brown liquor. Very fresh, fruity with the distinctive muscatel taste of Darjeeling black teas. Very low astringency and medium bodied. Short but very pleasant aftertaste. A very complex tea.
Thank you Golden Tips Tea for the tea, it feels like I have travelled. From the packaging to the tea itself it, everything was brilliant. It definitely grows my interest to visit the tea fields in India even more.
This is a tea I recently tried and, I must say, it was love at first taste. It is a green tea from the Province of Yunnan in the far southwest of China. Yunnan borders Burma, Laos and Vietnam and it is renown for producing tea especially fine pu-erhs and black teas for hundreds of years. It also produces rice, flowers, tobacco and mushrooms among other agricultural products.
The letters FOP stand for Flowery Orange Pekoe that means that this tea is formed of long leaves and tips which you will see in silver color.
The dry leaves are dark green, quite uniform and tightly curled with plenty of tips. The aroma is also remarkable, already sweet, fresh and flowery. It reminds me of the smell of steamed plantain leaves that are used in Latin America to wrap some types of food.
For this tea I used a water temperature of 75 C and let it steep for 2 minutes. The colour of the liquor resulted in a nice light amber. The aroma is very floral and vegetal with the characteristic toasted notes of the Chinese green teas. It also smells to me like pipe, very subtle but deep, like the long-lasting trace my neighbor leaves every time he goes out.
It has a nice rounded body, a sweet and honey-like lasting aftertaste and a moderate astringency. Sometimes I also brew it at 70 C for two minutes just to get all the sweetness and the honeydew melon taste.The second infusion is as good as the first one so I will definitely try a third one the next time.
The weather is getting colder every day and I am still craving this tea every morning. It reminds me of gunpowder a little bit -which I also love- but much more flowery and fragrant. I highly recommend this tea, it is versatile, perfect for any time of the day and year. If you try it please let me know your thoughts.
Thank you for reading!