Mt. Abedares Premium Black Tea
Dry: Fresh cut, drying hay
Wet: Summer squash, mineral, tannins
Leaf: FOP or OP fully oxidized leaf
Brewing method: 4g in 200 degree water in traditional porcelain cupping set , steeped for 1 minute
Cup: Deep, lush russet, golden hued liquor, with amber legs and deep reddish sienna depth. Juicy, clean and refreshing, with tart tannins and biscuitty depth, slightly roasted squash flavor with bright, sweet finish and a tongue-grasping lingering astringency.
Notes: Very similar to some first flush Assams in character. The liquor color is breathtaking and vibrant. I can see this pairing well with eggs and breakfast-like foods. Maintains character when cooled. Once again, I think this is a good tea, but price point and leaf cut and similarity to Assam, might draw a conclusion that this tea is ‘overpriced’ and this might cause it to be overlooked.
Royal Tea of Kenya – Royal Purple Tea
Dry: Clean, sweet, softly vegetal, faintly earthy with elusive oceanic notes
Wet: Earthy, asparagus, grassy aroma
Leaf: Very irregular cut, moderate to fine cut with some fine particulate, extremely dark, almost toasted woody or charcoal looking, upon steeping develops into a dark-green olive cast and the leaves look highly macerated and almost pesto-like.
Brewing method: 4g in 200 degree water in traditional porcelain cupping set, steeped for 2-3 minutes.
Cup: Liquor is a remarkable plum-flesh purple, with hints of rosy, peach, and lavender hues. Very faint liquor aroma, almost like pearled sake. The palate is gripped with a strong flush of astringency, transforming the mouth with a textured, faintly metallic note that bears some resemblance to the taste of green jade. Light to medium body with earthy, bold flavors that blush out and fade into a spicy resonance on the palate. There is a subtle floral note, reminiscent of lilac and a bolder flavor that is deeply eucalyptus. There is an interesting cooling effect to the tea and it is remarkable at clearing the palate of other flavors.
Notes: There is a strong presence of granular-fine powder that holds up even up to the 3rd steeping and is distinctly green. The immediate first perception is a likening to gunpowder teas, earthy-astringent-peppery. There is a strangely energetic effect, electric –tingly and a cooling response not unlike the Chinese Kudding cha. The shorter extractions are more distinct and floral, the longer resemble more the gunpowder. My instinct says that it will be a regional sell, but difficult to work under the asked price point, especially with its random leaf size, quick extraction needs, and astringency. I don’t see too many people brewing this well without instruction or additional care. Its dense nature also means that selling by the ounce will make it seems like an expensive offering at low yield.
Royal Highland Green Tea
Dry: Floral and citrus, with hints of lilac and gardenia
Wet: Sweet, floral, tart and candy-like
Leaf: Long, wiry umber with greenish pumpkin-seed hued leaves and Japanese kukicha-like stems
Brewing method: Best when using short steep times and cooler water temps. Try using 3-4g per 6oz of 190 degree water steeped for 1-2 minutes and expect 3-4 extractions.
Cup: Bright, clear yellow-green liquor with peach hued depths. Complexly flavored and clean with creamy characteristics and a gently building astringency that texturizes the mouth feel. Amazingly floral and candy-like with exotic sweet flavors that hint at lilac and tartness, slight flavors of almond builds in the finish. Very crisp, clean and refreshing.
Notes: The flavor lingers and would be a great tea for meditation, morning yoga, or quiet weekend mornings.
Royal Golden Safari Black Tea
Dry: Spicy, wild oregano, early-spring peaches
Wet: Roasted pumpkin, malty and hints of clean citrus
Leaf: Gorgeous full leaves and buds, covered in blonde pollen, carefully dried and twisted, displaying a careful craft that is extremely rare and is awe inspiring.
Brewing method: 3g in 6oz in 200 degree water steeped for 4 minutes
Cup: A rare and unique wonder, this tea’s flavor displays characteristics that mimic the perfect blend of India’s 2nd flush Darjeelings, with their bright, crisp, muscatel notes, fruitiness and hints of floral and the rich and intense malty, creamy, citrus of the legendary teas of Yunnan, China. The cup is clean, crisp, smooth and citrusy with just enough balance of spice and malt to make a perfectly complex cup. Highly resistant to over-steeping, the tea offers 3-4 extractions, with later brews offering hints of almost saffron-like flavors.
Notes: great as an after dinner surprise or a special cup between friends, this tea is a must try and one of the most amazing teas to come out of Kenya.