Indonesian Tea from Mark T. Wendell

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Mark T. Wendell

Tea Description:

An exquisite tea sourced from Indonesia’s Kertasarie Estate, this is a favorite of those who love a strong and stimulating flavor in their cup. Indonesia’s high altitudes, volcanic soil and tropical climate produce a dark and rich tasting tea that is truly unique.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This is a delicious black tea – one that is strong enough to serve as that all-important first cup of the day, and it also would make a lovely tea to serve with breakfast (or brunch!) or to guests in the afternoon.

This full-bodied tea is bold and slightly malty, but, not as astringent as other teas with these characteristics.  It is remarkably smooth from start to finish.  There are fruity tones within the sip with an undertone of sweetness that melds deliciously with the malty notes, giving it a rich, almost-caramel-y kind of taste.

Overall, the flavor is really delightful – offering much of what you’d expect from a high-quality black tea, but with far less of the astringency and absolutely no bitterness detected.  It would also make a delicious iced tea – try serving with a sprig of fresh mint or perhaps a thin slice of citrus.

This is one of those teas that really “grows on you” – I find that I really enjoyed my first cup, with with each subsequent cup, I found myself enjoying it more than I did before.  I think what I’m liking best is that it is uncommonly smooth and well-rounded.

A thoroughly satisfying and delicious cup of black tea.

Java Kertasarie Estate Black Tea from Simpson & Vail

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Simpson & Vail

Company Description:

The medium-brown leaves brew to a greenish-brown leaf, with a flowery aroma. The amber cup of Java Kertasarie Estate is medium-bodied, brisker tasting than a Ceylon and has a flavorful infusion with a delightful oak cask aftertaste.

Taster’s Review:

There are a few words that come to mind immediately when I taste this tea – bold, brisk, lively – but I don’t think that these words quite do this tea justice.  That’s because I use words quite often that they’ve become quite generic when describing tea.

And this tea is quite unique from other black teas I’ve tasted.  The Java Kertasarie Estate is in Indonesia, and I don’t recall having tried teas from Indonesia before.  Now, you may be thinking – does it REALLY make that much difference where the teas come from?  How much does that really affect the flavor of the tea?

My answer is, quite simply:  It affects the flavor immensely.  The climate, weather conditions, humidity, soil quality, amount of sun, and amount of shade… even the surroundings – like what kind of trees or flowers are growing in the surrounding area – affect the flavor of a tea.  And then, you have more controllable factors as well, such as harvesting and drying techniques which also affect the flavor of the tea.

As the description of this tea from Simpson & Vail (above) suggests, this is definitely brisker than a typical Ceylon tea.  It has a deep woodsy note to it (I’d describe it as oaken, which matches the Simpson & Vail description as well).

The is very vibrant and strong tea that pairs very well with sweets (I decided to indulge in a couple of cuccidata cookies when I drank this tea) – this pairing resulted in a slight honey-esque tone that I could detect, that I didn’t taste as strongly when I drank it without the cookie.  It’s still there… but, it is somewhat disguised behind the stronger essences of oak.  There is also an underlying floral essence and a hint of fruit to this tea as well.  It is delightfully complex and one that I’ve enjoyed tasting immensely.