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MANTRA ESTUDIO

Recent Tasting Notes

81

Just had Assam pure Organic Tea from Halmari Tea Estate tastes Malty indeed can be a substitute for cafe loving people!

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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100

This is the record holder for most expensive tea ever sold on the Indian tea market in Calcutta (Kolkata). I was fortunate enough to visit Makaibari estate last Spring, and this tea cost me $20 for 50g, from the source! In India, that is quite expensive, especially considering there is no middle-man.

Nonetheless, it was worth every penny. I shared this tea with people for many months, around Europe and home. The reaction on their faces confirmed that even a casual tea drinker can recognize when a tea is incredible. I think I have one serving left.

This tea is remarkable. It’s delicate, and powerful. It’s light and crisp, yet full and lingers. It’s everything. It’s manna from heaven in beverage form. It is as beautiful and special as the region and plantation it comes from.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Dechor machille

I heard about this tea, it is awesome

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70

The last of this, and thereby also the last of three different Darjeeling teas I once received as a gift from a friend I met elsewhere on the internet. She lives, or lived at the time as she appears to have disappeared from the internet, in Darjeeling and from what I understood bought her tea more or less directly from the estate. Cool, eh? She sent me this white tea, a first flush and a muscatel. I finished off the latter two long ago.

I had this on the to-be-finished pile, but I was finally inspired to finish off the rest of it now when I watched a program on Viasat History with Victoria Wood travelling around the Commonwealth and visiting the former British colonies and specifically places that were named after Queen Victoria, as she were. Naturally she also came to Darjeeling and was presented with the idea of ‘white tea’, supposedly for the first time. “Everybody knows tea is brown. Two sugars. And milk. Indian tea. From China.” or some such I believe her bemused quote was.

Anyway, she visited an organic tea plantation, the owner of which was called Rajah. I remembered that Makaibari is organic and I thought I remembered having heard that the owner was called Rajah, but they didn’t say anything about estate name or even family names, so I wasn’t sure until they gave her a cup of white Darjeeling tea called Silver Tips Imperial, which had fetched a record-high price making it the most expensive tea in the world at the time. Then I was sure. It was this one.

Cool!

Victoria Wood found that she liked it and that it was quite subtle in flavour. Rajah told her that it had four ‘layers’ or ‘levels’ or some such of flavour, but unfortunately didn’t go further into the subject. Or if he did, they didn’t show it. My tongue isn’t really developed enough to discern whether or not it does and I’m not experienced enough with Darjeelings in general either, but seeing as the Estate has been owned by his family for generations I trust the man to know what he’s talking about.

I can only find a nutty basic flavour with a flowery note on top. Maybe a hint of grass. Rather nice but not overwhelming for anything else than it being so unusual.

I do wish I knew what those four levels Rajah mentioned were. Like having a cheat-sheet to tea.

sophistre

Interesting! I enjoyed reading this one. How cool is it to see that and get to hear about it from the man himself? Pretty neat.

Angrboda

Yeah, I went, “Hey! Waitaminute!” and then, “HEY!!!” and then looked up the estate and went, “I KNEW IT!!!” :D

S

That’s so cool! Thanks for writing this up :)

Angrboda

Why, you’re quite welcome. :D

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70

Wanted: A nice, plain black tea with some good substance to the flavour.
Has: A white Darjeeling with a delicate flavour and a flowery note.

How did this happen? Your guess is as good as mine.

East Side Rob

It seems like all the tea growers are trying to expand their markets and are starting to make teas that aren’t traditionally from their region. The Indians and the Sri Lankans are now making greens, oolongs and whites. China is making senchas to feed the insatiable Japanese markets. And, for the most part, Yunnans and Keemuns are grown in China to export to the European and American markets, where black teas are the beverage of choice. The Chinese themselves would rather drink oolongs or greens. How long before Japan starts dabbling in black tea?

I’ve tried a Darjeeling oolong, which was very good. Didn’t realize Makaibari was now making whites as well. The guy who owns/runs Makaibari, Rajah Banerjee, is an interesting character. And character is the right word. See link below.

http://www.makaibari.com/films.html

Angrboda

I haven’t been there myself. I got it as a gift from a friend who lives in the area along with a first flush and I think a second flush. Or an autumnal. Not sure. Those are both long gone. That must have been hmmm… last year I think. Anyway, from what I understood, she gets almost all the tea she drinks from there and it sounded like she bought it directly at the estate. This one is good, but it doesn’t measure up to the chinese whites.

I had a Darjeeling oolong once which was either from Puttabong or Puttimbing. I found it fairly boring and gave it away to someone who luckily loved it and claimed that it was capable of curing the common cold. :p I think it disappointed me because I was expecting something different. This has only occurred to me recently when someone over at LJ told me that the many Darjeeling blacks are oxidised for such a short time that they could be considered borderline oolong. Certainly explains why the leaves often look so green.

Angrboda

Sorry, that would be Pussimbing! I can never remember that name!

East Side Rob

I heard a similar thing regarding the oxidation of Darjeelings — not that they’re oxidized for such a short time, per se, but that the oxidation process is deliberately very uneven, so that you get black leaves mixed with oolong-like leaves, and even nearly green ones. And that, supposedly, was why Darjeelings have such a melange of flavors, because they’re virtually a blend all by themselves.

Angrboda

I just which I still had some left of the other two she sent me. Now that I’m more practised at paying attention to flavours beyond ‘I like this’ vs ‘I don’t like this’

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70

I have been challenged by a fellow Wrimo to get to 25K before midnight on my NaNoWriMo novel. That means I have currently a little less than three hours to get three thousand more words down. That should be doable IF I can find some discipline to do it and don’t give up and go to bed. Now, I’ve just got to the bit where the actual plot really starts, so it’s turned a bit more difficult. (And why is it all my posts here must have a setting?)

Obviously tea is required for this little project, and I turned to the only proper white one (meaning one of good quality and/or without additives) that I’ve got. I don’t know why, really, it just struck me, when I was looking in the cupboard as a creative type tea. I am also going to put on some creative type music and write, write, write.

For some reason this also inspired me to bring my first yixing pot back into use. It’s been dormant for a while. It just seemed proper somehow. Every time I scald this, I regret that I didn’t have as many pots back when I bought it as I do now so that it’s not seasoned to one particular kind of tea. I’ve got it to the point now where you pour clean boiling water in it to warm it up before brewing and then it has visibly changed colour when you pour it away.

Obviously, I’m not going to get a ‘clean’ taste of this particular tea out of this pot, but I’m not good enough at tasting the differences that it’s generally a problem. Just an aesthetic sort of little complaint. At least it has never been used for anything other than greens and whites, so at least it’s not going to take on a side note of Lapsang Souchong or some such. Obviously, I desperately need a new yixing pot. Or several. grin

I can’t say anything about the proporties really because I don’t know if they’re really the REAL proporties, but it’s sort of a light yellowy colour. The smell has a note of chamomile (which I’m 98% sure has never been made in this pot), and underneath a nicely sweet smell. Thankfully, I’m not getting any chamomile flavour, but the pot has definitely affected the flavour. It tastes more green than white, but with a light astringency and a sweet grassy flavour, I’m not really going to complain about it.

This was really more a review of my pot than it was of my tea, wasn’t it? If you’re curious, you can go and check out what I said about this tea earlier and compare. :)

Jillian

I’ve never tried brewing tea in the oriental style although what I’ve been hearing about it sounds really interesting. Then again I’m not sure I’d have the patience to go through the process. ;)

I’ve seen white Darjeelings and other white Indian teas for sale now and then, but the prices are usually prohibitively expensive, so I’ve wondered if they’re worth digging into my wallet for or if they’re just a fad.

Angrboda

@ Notarevolution: I made it. I hit 25K just literally a couple of minutes before midnight, so I’m now six whole days ahead. :)

@ Jillian: My yixing isn’t really traditional oriental, it’s much too large for that, holding about 2½ cups worth. I just brew in it like I would in a normal pot. I’ve got a real tiny chinese one but I used that one for a really smoky yellow tea so now I can’t use it for anything else. It’s decorative, though, so it’s standing on top of my tv now and looking nice. :)

As for the white Darjeelings, I have no clue about the price of them so I can’t tell you wether or not their value for the money. I got mine as a gift, see, from an LJ friend who lives in India and from what I understand by her tea more or less directly from the estate. I only know what I had to pay in customs. I CAN say though that this one is indeed rather nice. :)

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70

I fought long and hard against this tea. I’d just had the raspberry oolong and I knew that one more pot of tea so quickly after would result in over-active kidneys. But you can’t stop inspiration, can you?

This tea was given to me as a gift along with two other teas from this estate. They’re organically grown and bought (I think) directly from the estate and then sent to me from India. Which of course meant I had to pay blood in taxes and customs and fees and what not (and let’s not even get started on the problem with the courier company and the half package number!!!)

The white leaves are big and gorgeous to look at. If you were to ask me how I make it, how many leaves I use to a pot, I’d have to just say, “Plenty.” My tea scoop was so not made for this size leaves! A scoop could be a decent amount of leave or it could be just a couple lying on the wrong angle of the scoop. No pot is ever the same when it comes to this.

It makes a very nice tea, though. Depending on how much it is steeped it’s got a good strong flavour. It’s not one of those white teas where you sit and search desperately for just a smidge of taste. This has got almost as much as an average green tea.

It coats the tongue quite nicely although it doesn’t really linger. There is some small aftertaste that seems to go on forever, but it’s not very strong.

It’s surprisingly suitable for the season. I would never in a million years have thought that a white tea could be anything but spring-y!

ETA: Do not under any circumstances allow it to oversteep. If you brew like I do, with the leaves loose in the pot, decant or drink quickly because it does get quite bitter.

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75

Brewed for 2 minutes (3 minutes is recommended, but I felt the tannins had won over the taste by that stage). Could this be a Darjeeling I actually like? The aroma is quite leafy, and the taste is indescribable. Very strange, and – I know this word is bandied about a lot with Darjeelings and always sounds like a load of waffle to me – complex! There is so much going on with each mouthful, and I think its one of the reasons I enjoyed it!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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70

The leaves are large and pretty and the first cup is almost colourless. It grows darker as it is allowed to sit and develop. The flavour and the scent of it are very delicate just like a white tea should be, but if brewed too strong or oversteeped it becomes very bitter and nearly undrinkable.

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