Makaibari Estate Autumn Flush Organic Darjeeling Black Tea From Golden Tips Tea

Makaibari_DarjeelingTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Golden Tips Tea

Tea Description:

Our maiden ​autumnal offering from the bio-organic and fair-trade Makaibari plantations. Floral, zesty and and stimulating, the tea is a classic pre-winter Darjeeling. The coruscating liquor shimmers your tea experience and brings in scintillating fruity aromas. Characteristic of a typical combination of black-brown and light green leaves, the flavor is an alluring melody of accentuated briskness and sharp astringent notes which make for a unique delightful cuppa. An excellent tea for all Autumn tea lovers.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I like to know everything I can about my tea. Where it was grown? When was it picked and processed? What did it do in its free time? All important questions.

So when I see the exact estate/region and date of picking, it just makes me feel better knowing. I think that influences my tea purchases greatly. So, on the sample package of Makaibari’s Autumn Flush Darjeeling, seeing basic details is a comfort. Golden Tips even goes so far as to put the exact day when the tea was plucked. (November 28th, 2014 to be exact.)

Opening the package, I see the usually tricolor leaves; dark brown, sliver-tipped, and the occasional green. The leaves give off little to no aroma, very light bread and fruity notes.

I steeped my tea loose in my elephant teapot, letting the tea evolve on it’s own in the pot. The first couple steeps were light and had prominent bread and malt qualities. The more I got down into the pot, the more fruity and acidic the tea became. It was a very good experience, even down to the last sips. The astringency never got too much to handle, and the muscatel notes were very nice and noticeable thought the body of the liquor. An excellent and simple Darjeeling, great for when I want a black tea, but still crave something on the lighter side of the genre!

Makaibari First Flush Vintage – Single Estate Black Tea from Tea People

DSCF1255Tea Type:
Black Tea

Where to Buy:
Tea People

Product Description:

I was unable to locate this specific tea on their website so instead of adding the product description here I thought I would write a little bit about the company and their Single Estate offerings.

Tea People was founded by Neeraj and Vishaka, a husband wife duo along with their Scottish friend Gillian. Neeraj and Vishaka hail from the beautiful tea growing region of Darjeeling in India and have been living in the UK since 2005. In 2009 they came across a school in their hometown of Darjeeling that was in urgent need of some repairs and assistance. The school, known as MSK School, Sonadaserved the children of tea garden workers and other impoverished villagers in the area.

As the duo attributed their own success to the education they had received and firmly believed in the role of education in providing equal opportunities and in alleviating poverty, they decided to help. They teamed up with Gillian who at that time was running her own charity. The three of them together raised the required funds and provided the much needed assistance.

As for their Single Estate Teas…”Single estate” refers to any tea that comes from only one tea estate or garden, as opposed to being a blend from various estates. Single Estate Tea is unblended. These teas tend to have unique characteristics particular to that estate for that season. Like fine wines, they will vary somewhat from year to year. Single estate tea can be identified by the name of the estate, such as “Makaibari” or “Bannockburn,” that will appear in the name of the tea.  People who have tried our single estate teas describe it as a revealing taste experience – similar to savouring a top of the range chateau bottled wine.

Tasters Review:
This is a no-nonsense type black tea.  Considered one of their finest Darjeeling offerings I would tend to agree.  It’s also one of their Single Estate Black Teas which was explained above.  This Makaibari First Flush Vintage tea I was honored to try while it was still available.

The flavor of this specific tea was slightly woodsy, a bit florally-fresh, and even a little sweet.  I didn’t notice as much in the 1st infusion – but follow-up infusions seem to have a nod of jasmine flavor in the end sip on to the after-taste.  This is a pleasant tea that would be great to have on hand anytime you are in the mood for a straight-up Darjeeling Black tea or sharing with friends.

Makaibari First Flush Vintage Black Tea from Tea People

makaibari_1st_flushTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black (Darjeeling)

Where to Buy:  Tea People

Tea Description:

In Darjeeling, winter is the time for all tea plants to rest. Come spring, little leaf buds begin to appear and open amidst a flurry of activity. From these leaves is created a delicate tea meant for super connoisseurs of tea by the well known organically certified Makaibari tea estate located in the foothills of the Himalayas where the tea is grown at an altitude of around 4500ft.

The light liquor has the characteristic Darjeeling floral bouquet along with an incredible depth and complexity. Fantastic for afternoons when you need a little pick-me-up.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I want to start by apologizing to our loyal readership for going a few days with no posts!  Due to an unfortunate circumstance, I found myself without a tea kettle.  I accidentally broke the glass carafe (or jar) of my Breville One-Touch and I was kind of … well, not even “kind of,” I was very devastated by the loss.  I was depressed.  I felt like I lost one of my best friends.  And that may sound sad, but, hey, when you love tea the way I do, you know how important these tools become to you.  Anyway … I’m still without the glass jar momentarily and am still sad about my loss but there is good news on that horizon which I will share with you in a future post.

For now, I’m using a stove top kettle and brewing some Darjeeling Tea from Tea People.  Specifically, I’m drinking this Makaibari First Flush Vintage Black Tea.

And it is a lovely Darjeeling!

The aroma of the dry leaf is very earthy with notes of wood.  It reminds me a bit of the smell of a forest just after a rain:  wet wood and earth with notes of peaty moss.  Once brewed, I notice more of a floral note emerging, and less of the woodsy/earthy tones.

The flavor is pleasantly crisp and smooth.  Darjeeling teas tend to typically be a lighter tasting and feeling tea than other black teas, and this is true with this Darjeeling as well.  It has a light, uplifting flavor and texture.  It glides over the palate, offering flavors of notes of earth and flower, with a sweet fruit note that is present throughout the sip.

The sip begins with a woodsy sort of flavor and a subtle undertone of fruit.  The fruit notes emerge more toward mid-sip, offering a sweeter flavor.  As the sip nears the finish, the sweet fruit notes meld with a floral note and hints of earth are in the background.  The finish here is not quite as astringent as some Darjeeling teas that I’ve experienced, in fact, it’s a very mild astringency.  The aftertaste is lightly sweet.

It’s a beautifully complex cup of tea, and it’s definitely lifting my spirits!

Makaibari Darjoolong Tea from Tea People

daroolongTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong (Darjeeling)

Where to Buy:  Tea People

Tea Description:

A superb creation of Makaibari, this bio-dynamically grown tea walks the world between green and black. The amber liquor produced is not like any other oolong ever made. Naturally sweet tasting and with characteristic flowery undertones it also exhibits lemony, vegetal and earthy qualities. It is perfect for any time of the day and is highly recommended by our tasters at Tea People.

Makaibari tea estate is one of the first organically certified tea gardens of Darjeeling. It is located in the foothills of the Himalayas in the town of Kurseong where the tea is grown at an altitude of around 4500ft.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I’ve been looking forward to trying this Makaibari Darjoolong Tea from Tea People!  Why?  Well, first, I’ve tried and reviewed quite a few different teas from Tea People at this point and I’ve been impressed with what I’ve tried.  Second, I’ve tried a few Darjeeling Oolong teas (but not nearly enough!) and I’ve enjoyed those!  So, I was certain I’d enjoy this tea.

What I find so intriguing about Darjeeling Oolong teas is that they seem to encapsulate what I love most about both teas.  I adore Oolong tea – I love that sweet taste and the thick, luscious texture of an Oolong tea.  And yep … this Darjoolong has that.  I also adore Darjeeling teas – especially a Darjeeling with a delightful muscatel note.  Yep … this Darjoolong has that too.

I approached the brewing of this Oolong tea the same way I’d brew any Oolong:  in my gaiwan.  I administered a quick rinse (15 seconds in hot water) and then steeped the first infusion for 1 minute.  45 seconds would have worked quite nicely too, I think, because this cup is plenty strong.  I add an additional 15 seconds to each subsequent infusion.  I combine the first two infusions together into one cup, and the third and fourth infusion will combine to create my second cup, and the third cup will combine infusions five and six.  And so it goes…

As I mentioned in the previous paragraph, this first cup is very flavorful.  More flavorful than the “average” first cup of Oolong.  It is strong with mustcatel notes – beautiful, grape-y, wine-like flavors.  It tastes very Darjeeling-esque, but, with a smoother, softer texture.  The top notes are fruity and wine-like, with an earthier middle note with light woodsy notes.  Overall, it’s sweet, but there is a slight savory note that meets my palate at about mid-sip.  There is a light to medium astringency and a sweet aftertaste.

The second cup was a bit smoother than the first, the flavors were not quite as focused as the first cup.  I could certainly still taste the muscatel, and the notes of wood.  I taste a slight “char” to the wood this time with a slight mineral-y note.  The astringency is milder this time.  Still sweet and crisp, and very much like the love child between a second flush Darjeeling and a Dark Oolong.

My third cup was my favorite cup of the three!  That doesn’t happen often.  Usually, the second cup is my favorite, occasionally the first is the favorite, but very seldom (as in, I can’t remember the last time this has happened!) is the third cup my favorite of the tea experience with an Oolong.  Now, I taste more Oolong and less “Darjeeling” notes, and perhaps that’s why I prefer this cup.  Oh, don’t get me wrong, I love the Darjeeling notes of this tea!  But, I’m more a fan of Oolong than of Darjeeling, and I love the way the Oolong notes are shining through in this third cup.

I taste peach notes along with a very subtle muscatel.  There is next to no astringency in this cup, and the flavors are soft and buttery.  Less of the woodsy/earthy notes are tasted, and more of a honeyed sweet peach note.  Imagine a bowl of fresh, tree-ripened peach slices that have been cooked down a bit to intensify their sweet flavor, and then this bowl of peach slices is drizzled with honey.  Yeah – it’s OK to drool right now! – that’s what I’m tasting with this cup.  YUM!

A really lovely tea experience from this “Darjoolong!”  I highly recommend this to fans of Darjeeling teas as well as fans of Oolong.  And definitely take the time to go through a few infusions, it’s well worth that effort!

Makaibari Silver Green Tea from Tea People

makaibari_silver_greenTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Tea People

Tea Description:

From the famed Makaibari tea estate we bring you the highest grade of green tea. Appearing like streaks of silver on a canvas of green, these leaves when brewed produce a gentle golden liquor. The Silver green liquor transports you into a world full of the symphony created by the jingle of the bangles of beautiful tea pickers and the rustle of the green tea leaves as their hands brush against it. This rare green tea is made exclusively for connoisseurs who are enthralled by a sweet tasting green tea without the overpowering grassy and chlorophyllic overtones. It has a dry finish and no lingering aftertaste. 

Makaibari tea estate is one of the first organically certified tea gardens of Darjeeling. It is located in the foothills of the Himalayas in the town of Kurseong where the tea is grown at an altitude of around 4500ft.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I love the green and white teas that come from the Darjeeling region, and this Makaibari Silver Green Tea from Tea People is an excellent example of why I enjoy these teas so much.  This is lovely!

The flavor is vegetative with a taste that is a little grassy and a little bit like steamed vegetables.  There are even some notes of seaweed to this.  One of the more vegetative green teas that I’ve had in a while.  It’s a very invigorating sort of vegetal taste … it is as if it’s nourishing my very soul.

And I love that even though it does have a strong vegetal tone to it, it’s not a bitter or overpowering “green” taste.  It has a really pleasant sweetness to it too.  I like the balance between sweet and savory to this cup.  It has a slightly dry astringency at the tail with a clean aftertaste.

I like this one served hot, but, it’s also quite nice chilled too – try brewing it with some fresh mint and then chilling it – amazing!  A very refreshing beverage.

Don’t forget to check out Tea People’s indiegogo fundraising campaign to help tea garden workers!  This fundraiser is ending soon, so please consider contributing.