Bolivian Rio Negro (organic) BOP (BBo2)

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Black Tea
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Edit tea info Last updated by Angrboda
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From Nothing But Tea

Very little tea is made in Bolivia and it is virtually unknown on the European market. Nothing But Tea, however has secured some excellent green and black orthodox teas from plantings made by a German farmer in 1914. Chaimate Bolivian Special Teas produce a range of organic single estate speciality orthodox teas from a small tea growing community situated in remote valleys on the high slopes of the snow capped Andes where the cool mountain air mixes with warm moist air from the Amazon imbuing the tea with a rich and distinctive character.

Chaimate is a producer owned company committed to the welfare of the local people and the promotion of gender equality in the workplace. From the sale of its teas it gives 100% financial support to a children’s day center providing meals and education while their parents work at tea cultivation.

All the Chaimate teas are naturally produced without chemical fertilizers or pesticides of any kind and are IMO Control certified fully organic (compliant to both USDA/NOP and EU Regulation 2092/91).

The family owned tea gardens in Mapiri cover in total some 600 acres and such is the local pride that Mapiri declared itself in 2006 as the Tea Municipality of Bolivia.

The tiny Chaimate tea factory – it produces only 50 tonnes of tea per year – is a model of food hygiene. All the tea produced is manufactured specially to order thus ensuring maximum freshness, a feature fast becoming a favorite of their growing number of USA speciality tea customers.

This is a BOP tea which makes an idal breakfast cuppa and will tolerate milk and sugar.

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2 Tasting Notes

1319 tasting notes

Here is another interesting black from the great big sampler box. I’ve got a bolivian green in my cupboard, and the company’s description of that one says that it’s similar to japanese greens. After having had a little foray into japanese greens, I found I agree with that. So if bolivian greens are similar to japanese greens, does that mean that a bolivian black would be similar to a japanese black if Japan made blacks? Oh, we shall never know.

Anyway, the leaves had a spicy note to the aroma which reminds me a bit of something in between Assam and Ceylon. I’m definitely getting a more indian-y/Ceylon-y feel from it than chinese-y. When it has steeped, the aroma suddenly acquires a brand new note. It still sits between Assam and Ceylon, but it’s got that note that I’m wondering if it might be something that would turn out to be characteristically bolivian. It’s difficult to pin it down, but it sort of reminds me of apples and pears, especially pears, that are just on the verge of fermenting. It’s not a clear note, it’s just an association.

This is very astringent! I think I over-brewed it a little bit. Apart from the astringency, it doesn’t have all that much flavour. I am still getting the funny fermented pear association from it without it actually tasting all that much of pear, fermented or otherwise.

Astringency and fermented pear associations. That’s it, really.

I would have liked it better if I hadn’t overbrewed it a bit, but I don’t think this is something that would have held my attention for very long. Totally drinkable, but not really all that memorable.

Maybe, if my hypothesis is correct, it’s just as well that Japan only produce greens.


But apparently they don’t produce only greens! Serendipitea has a Japanese black called Chiran Black (the only black tea from Japan that I’ve seen). I have no idea if it is any good but one day I’m going to have to try it! (Hopefully it would be better than Bolivian blacks?)




I always learned that they only produce greens, but then the product description does say it’s unique. Maybe they’re getting more interested in blacks for export. Maybe other types too. I’d like to see what Japan could do with a green type oolong…


I know! Very weird! I vaguely recall seeing one other one somewhere else (though who knows, it might have been the same tea, just a different vendor). But it is evidence that there must be some daring tea rebels in Japan, willing to buck Japanese tea growing tradition. Maybe they’re really risk takers and you’ll find that Japanese oolong one day!

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80 tasting notes

I used a heaped teaspoon and brewed this for three minutes – boiling water.

This is a very fine, granular tea, like an Assam or similar. I – sort of – agree whith Angrboda’s mention of a smell of pear to the dry tea. I get a quite faint hint of the smell of a pear that’s been bruised or damaged, so that the flesh has turned brown and soft.

I have to say that I found the brew rather one-dimensional. I got a good basic tea note in the nose and the mouth – and that was about it. I thought this note just a little on the harsh side – perhaps it would do better with milk or cream, neither of which I use. There might have been the tiniest hint of dark chocolate or coffee, but right on the outside edge of my sense of taste, I’m really not sure about it. I didn’t get any pear in mouth or nose.

This actually takes me back a bit. It reminded me strongly of the loose tea my family bought when I was a youngster, probably before tea-bags were widespread. What it was I no longer remember, but it would certainly have been just ‘tea’ and bought by brand name – PG Tips or Typhoo or some such – a blend, obviously.

Nostalgia aside, this was an ‘okay’ tea but nothing at all special. Something to go with the bacon and eggs at breakfast.

Edited to add – It was actually a bit more chocolatey when I was down to the last inch or so in the mug and it had gone cold; however, the harshness of the basic tea note was more noticeable, as well, cutting through the chocolate.

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