Organic Avaata Supreme Nilgiri First Flush Green Tea from Golden Tips

avaata-supremeTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Golden Tips

Tea Description:

An exquisite green tea from the coveted organic Avaata Tea Estate in the Nilgiris in southern India. The perfectly manufactured leaves boast of a light green texture combined with opulent long silver tips. The liquor has a very pale green appearance in the cup. The flavour is extremely smooth and fairly sharp typical of non-fermented green teas but without any hint of bitterness. A sensation of fruits and flowers flush your mouth with every sip of this certified organic green tea.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

As I’m sitting here sipping this tea, I find myself mesmerized by how good it is.  I then decided to do a search to see if I’ve ever tried a Nilgiri Green tea.  And as it turns out, I’ve tried two green Nilgiri teas, one of which was more of a smoky tea (reminiscent of a Chinese gunpowder) and one was the base for a Chai.  Neither were like this tea.

The dry leaf looks very much like a white tea, except that these are greener in color than most white teas I’ve encountered.  The dry leaf also has a stronger ‘green’/vegetal scent than most white teas I’ve encountered.  But the shape of the leaves – the appearance of the leaves – reminds me of a very high quality Bai Mu Dan.

So as you can imagine, it was a little more difficult to measure these leaves into the basket of my Kati tumbler.  Rather than attempt to measure the leaves using my bamboo scoop, I eyeballed a measurement in the palm of my hand.  Then I added 12 ounces of water heated to 175°F and let it steep for 2 minutes.

Delightful!  This is a wonderful green tea!  It has a delicate quality to it that reminds me of the aforementioned Bai Mu Dan, but it isn’t quite that delicate.  The flavor is a lot less vegetal than I would have expected after the aroma I experienced with the dry leaf.  In fact, those that tend to shy away from green teas because of that strong vegetal tone would probably find this green to be very much to their liking.

It’s light and crisp and very refreshing.  Sweet with almost a sugar-like flavor.  The texture is light yet creamy.  It has a nice softness to it.  There is no bitterness, but there is some astringency to this that is experienced primarily in the aftertaste, I can feel a dry, puckery sensation on the inside of my cheeks at the very end of the sip and into the aftertaste.

This is very CREAMY tasting.  I like that while it has that creamy taste and texture, it isn’t a super heavy texture and the astringency seems to cleanse the palate somewhat so that my palate doesn’t feel overwhelmed by the creaminess.

Truly, a delightful green tea.  This is one that should be on every tea drinker’s list to try because it’s so different from the green teas you’re probably familiar with.  It’s so lovely!

Gopaldhara Wonder Tea First Flush 2014 from Darjeeling Tea Lovers


Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Darjeeling Tea Lovers

Tea Description:

GOPALDHARA WONDER ‘GOLD’ one of the most popular tea among the Darjeeling Tea Connoisseurs. A very limited stock is manufactured from the YOUNG TEA PLANTATIONS of this garden and this particular lot has been tagged as GOLD due to the supreme quality.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

The dry leaf looks a lot more like a green tea than a black tea.  The aroma is pleasantly floral.  Because the leaves are more “green” than black, I would advise not going higher than 195°F to brew this tea – that’s what I used and I’m quite pleased with the result.  This is my usual ‘go-to’ temperature when it comes to Darjeeling teas, because they don’t seem to be as fully oxidized as other black teas are, even though they are usually categorized as a black tea.  Darjeeling teas tend to be a little more delicate and should be treated differently.

I brewed these beautiful pale green, silvery tipped leaves in my Breville One-Touch.  I used 2 bamboo scoops of leaf and 500ml of water heated to 195°F, and steeped the leaves for 2 ½ minutes.  As I said before, I’m quite pleased with the resulting tea.  Delicious!

Then again, I’ve been blown away by all the teas that I’ve tried from this company.  Let me tell you, Darjeeling Tea Lovers KNOWS Darjeeling tea.  If you’re a devotee of Darjeeling tea, this is a company you should be exploring.  They have some of the very best Darjeeling teas I’ve ever tasted.

And this Gopaldhara Wonder Tea is indeed a wonder!  Wonderful, that is!  Sweet, crisp and refreshing!  The liquid is somewhere between gold and green.  It’s much paler than many Darjeeling teas that I’ve had this year.  And it has a “greener” sort of taste to me.  It tastes lighter and cleaner than a typical “black” Darjeeling.  This doesn’t have that “muscatel” flavor that you might expect from a Darjeeling.  This tea seems more focused on the sweet, delicate notes of flower.  I taste notes of jasmine!  Nice!

There are also delicate vegetal notes.  Not so much vegetable (as in steamed veggies) as it is lightly grassy.  But this is a sweet grassy note, not a bitter one.  The sip starts out sweet and I pick up on the floral notes right away.  Toward mid-sip, some of those lightly sweet, grassy notes start to come into focus.  The sip ends with a floral note that is jasmine-esque, and this flavor lingers into the aftertaste.  There is a light astringency at the start of the cup, and this astringency does develop as I continue to sip, but never becomes a really strong or what I would call astringent tea, instead, it’s a moderate astringency that leaves the palate feeling clean and invigorated.

An excellent afternoon tea – break out this tea when you have special guests over that you’re looking to impress!  Or save it for an afternoon when you have time to reflect – this is one of those teas that I’d call meditative!  The kind of tea that I want to enjoy when I don’t have a 101 different things to do … or the kind of tea I want to enjoy when I do have 101 things to do but I want to forget about them and just enjoy a moment for me!

Shan Black Tea (2014) from Shan Valley

Black_TeaTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Shan Valley

Tea Description:

This is a first flush black tea, and is processed as is local tradition in Myanmar, the tea leaves are a little more uneven and have a balanced flavor. This tea is similar to the Kyaukme Black Tea.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Similar to the Kyaukme Black Tea from Shan Valley that I reviewed previously (as well as their 2013 Shan Black Tea), this black tea leaf has a very fine grind to the leaf that resembles a finely ground coffee bean.  But as I said with the Kyaukme Black Tea, I will say with this tea, don’ t let the fine chop on these leaves dissuade you from trying it.  It really is a splendid tea!

I recall the Kyaukme Black tea having an aroma to the dry leaf that reminded me very much of coffee.  I don’t experience that scent with this tea.  This smells a little more earthy.  There are notes of leather and fruit and even the slightest floral note to this.  This smells much more like black tea than coffee.

To brew this CTC tea, I used my Breville One Touch and measured 1 1/2 bamboo scoops into the basket of the tea maker.  Then I poured 500ml of freshly filtered water into the kettle and set the timer for 2 1/2 minutes and the temperature for 212°F and let the tea maker get to work!

I would recommend that you experiment with this tea (or any other tea that has a fine CTC cut to it) to find what time works best for your palate.  2 1/2 minutes is cutting it pretty close for me, but I really wanted some edge to the cup when I brewed this tea.  I am addicted to caffeine, you see, and I was experiencing a withdrawal headache.

Anyway, if you find that a CTC tea is too bitter for your liking when you’ve brewed it, try reducing the brew time by 30 seconds or 1 minute.  You may find that you love that CTC!  Sure, whole leaf is awesome … but just because the chop is fine on a tea doesn’t mean that it’s anything like that horrible dust and fannings that you’ll find in those tea bags from the grocery store.

The tea brews to a dark brown, almost black color.  It brews so dark that it almost looks like a cup of black coffee.  The aroma is rich and sweet with notes of molasses and hints of earth and leather.  The fragrance here is much softer than that of the dry leaf, and I’m experiencing none of the aforementioned fruit or floral notes in the aroma.

But that’s OK because really, when it comes right down to it, it’s the flavor that counts and the flavor here is so rewarding.  It’s a rich, robust cup of tea that has the vigor to get you going.  This would make a really good breakfast tea and would take the additions of milk and honey quite well if you like to add those to your breakfast cuppa.

This is a very flavorful cup.  It isn’t bitter but I suspect that if I had brewed it for another 30 seconds it would be.  It’s right at that edge that I was looking for to deliver me a cup full of gusto but not so much that I can’t enjoy it.  I AM enjoying this!  Immensely!

It has a deep flavor to it.  As I mentioned before, the aroma of the dry leaf is earthy with notes of leather and I do taste subtle notes of both earth and leather here, but they are much more subtle than the aroma suggests.  Malt!  A malty note that would rival your favorite Assam!  I taste a deep molasses-y sort of flavor, like caramel that has been made from molasses (if there is such a thing.)  I can taste a “burnt sugar” sort of flavor.

Last year’s Black Tea from Shan Valley had a very prominent cacao sort of flavor and I’m not experiencing that quite as much with this tea.  I’m also experiencing less of a roasted sort of flavor.  I still taste these notes, but they are less obvious to me than the malt and burnt-sugar/molasses notes that I mentioned before.  There is a fair amount of astringency, I would classify it as medium astringency.  As I continue to sip, I start to notice a sort of bake-y type of flavor that is reminiscent of freshly baked bread and I’m picking up on notes that are somewhat fruit like, hinting at notes of black currant, grapes, and plums.

I find that this flush is a little bit different from last year’s tea, and that’s why you want to try each flush, to experience all the flavors that each flush offers!  This one is much more rugged than last year’s Shan Black, but both are really wonderful teas and well worth experiencing!

2014 Castleton Maharaja First Flush from Darjeeling Tea Lovers


Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Darjeeling Tea Lovers

Tea Description:

Castleton Maharaja is one tea which we are sure you will not want to miss. After recording THE WORLD MOST EXPENSIVE TEA last season, they are back again with a BIG BANG!!!

Everything about this tea is perfect to make it a wonderful First Flush Tea. The dry leaves are well rolled and fine sorted. The initial appearance is very bright. When brewed for 4 minutes, it gives a beautiful bright yellow cup. The aroma will remind you that THIS IS A CASTLETON TEA, a very peach like sweetness with high flowery notes which tempts to have a sip immediately. The flavour is also very smooth, it starts and finishes very well. There is no sign of ‘harshness’ all you feel is a sweet floral flavour which lingers into your mouth for long. The aftertaste is very energetic and a bouquet of floral tone to it.

This tea has raised the standards of our First Flush Catalogue. Without any doubt, this qualifies for becoming the BENCHMARK TEA this season. A must have for every tea connoisseur.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This is a really delightful tea!  Then again, I’m not surprised.  I’ve yet to be disappointed by any tea that I’ve tried from Darjeeling Tea Lovers!

To steep this tea, I used my Breville One-Touch tea maker.  I measured 2 bamboo scoops of tea into the basket and then poured 500ml of freshly filtered water into the jug of the tea maker.  I set the timer for 2 1/2 minutes and the temperature for 195°F.  Then I let the tea maker do it’s thing, and when I returned a few minutes later, I had a pot of tea ready to enjoy.

The brewed tea is a light yellowish amber color and has a vibrant scent of peaches and flowers.  It’s a very inviting aroma.

And I’m happy to say that the aroma translates to the brewed tea!  This Castleton Maharaja has an amazing peach flavor that melds beautifully with floral notes.  Sometimes a tea’s floral essence can be a tad bit sharp but that isn’t the case with this tea.  It’s so smooth and sweet.  Not sharp or bitter.  There is very little astringency to this cup.  There is a slight dryness to the aftertaste which follows a really lovely sweetness.  The dryness seems to cleanse the palate a little, readying it for the next sip.  This is a tea that keeps you sipping, and it tastes so good that you don’t want to stop!

The sip begins with a sweet note that evokes a thought of a lightly sugared peach.  The peach flavors develop as the sip progresses and continue into the aftertaste.  As I reach mid-sip, I notice notes of flower and a slight woodsy tone in the distance.  The overall sip is very crisp and light and beautifully sweet.  It has that bubbly light flavor that you expect from a Darjeeling tea, but it’s much smoother than you might expect.

I am loving this Castleton Maharaja from Darjeeling Tea Lovers.  It seems like every time I try one of their teas, I’m bowled over with how good it is.  This company is one you should definitely try, especially if you’re one who is as fond of Darjeeling teas as I am.  You won’t be disappointed by anything in their collection!

Darjeeling 1st Flush 2014 Jogmaya White Tea from What-Cha Tea

DarjeelingJogmayaWhiteTea Information:

Leaf Type:  White (Darjeeling)

Where to Buy:  What-Cha Tea

Tea Description:

A brilliant white tea composed of whole leaves with a silky texture, combined with a gentle grass taste and wonderfully light finish with hints of spice.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I have enjoyed many different types of white teas in my years as a tea reviewer.  And while I do enjoy the many different types of white teas that I’ve tasted, I think I’m finally comfortable saying that my favorite white teas are Darjeeling white teas.

And this Darjeeling Jogmaya White Tea from What-Cha Tea is absolutely stunning!  It’s so good!  The dry leaves have a distinct grassy aroma with a soft floral note.  I can smell a light, fruity sweetness in the background.

To brew this tea, I decided to reach for my Kati Brewing System.  I measured 1 1/2 bamboo scoops into the basket of the Kati tumbler (I usually use a little more leaf when it comes to white teas because the leaves are considerably “bulkier”.  I heat freshly filtered water to 170°F and poured the water into the tumbler and let the leaves steep for 3 minutes.  DarjeelingJogmayaWhite1

Sweet and delicious!  As with other white teas, the overall cup is delicate, but I generally find that Darjeeling white teas are a little less subtle in the flavor department than most other teas and that is the case with this Jogmaya White tea.  Perhaps that’s why I enjoy them so much!

Or it could be the amazing spice notes of a Darjeeling white.  This tea has a warm, zesty spice note.  Think white pepper.  Maybe not exactly white pepper, but think of the first time you tasted white pepper and how you noticed the gentler pepper note.  It still tasted of pepper but it was definitely more subdued.  That’s what I taste now, a soft, subtle spice note that is a little warm and zesty.  Perhaps not as abundantly “spiced” as I might experience in say a Yunnan black tea, but there is absolutely some zippy spices that are capturing my taste buds’ attention.

This has a nice body to it, it’s silky and smooth.  Notes of sweet grass and whispers of flower.  I can taste notes of fruit as well.  Melon and a crisp apple note.   As I continue to sip, I start to pick up on a slight grape-y flavor.

This is a very refreshing white Darjeeling.  The sip starts with grassy notes and almost immediately after I experience those notes, I start to pick up on the aforementioned gentle spice notes.  As the sip progresses toward mid-sip, I taste the medley of fruit notes:  melon, apple, and a touch of grape.  As I reach the end of the sip, I taste a slight floral note that melds with the fruit.  The sip ends with a slight dryness and the aftertaste is clean and slightly sweet.

A really enjoyable cup.  What-Cha Tea delivers … again!