A friend brought me two black teas from Tanzania. Wanting to compare them with other black teas, I suggested a tea soiree. Actually, almost any excuse will work for a tea party which involves snacketto’s, conversation, and friends. Think of it as High Tea without the hotel.
We started with Glenburn Estate’s Autumn Oolong, a very light, mellow tea, resembling the subtle flavors and appearance of a white tea. Produced in small batches towards the end of the tea picking season, it makes a seasonal treat.
In between snacketto’s, we moved on to Snow Lotus: Darjeeling, First Flush. It was light, with a flowery aroma and taste. It exhibits a little more flavor, a light color, but still subtle, with a good mouth feel.
We talked about flavored teas, and someone mentioned coconut flavoring in tea. You either like it or you don’t. I like coconut added to tea (or food or anything), and I had some on hand, purchased from The Tea Lady in Olympia, Wa, so we sampled it. The smell of the leaves of Golden Moon Coconut Pouchong reminds me of somewhere tropical.
Coconut Pouchong, from Taiwan, is an Oolong; however, the oxidation level is so low that it borders between a green tea and an Oolong.
It has smell, taste, nice color, and memories. Whatever it is, it’s delightful.
The stars of the tea soiree were two black teas from Tanzania: Tanzania Tea Kilimanjaro, and African Pride Tea. Don’t you just love that name: African Pride Tea. It is my understanding that both teas are grown in Tanzania, and come from either the Lupembe Tea Estates, or the Mponde Tea Estates. Both teas have a similar taste, although the Kilimanjaro is a bit more astringent. The teas are bold, full bodied with a beautiful reddish color, and different as night and day from the three teas already sampled.
They are cut and blended teas, unlike the loose leaf, single origin of the previous teas. Cutting and blending means that the quality isn’t the same, nor is the price. It isn’t unpleasant tea; it’s just different.
As a tea to drink all day, I wouldn’t drink either of these teas. However, as a morning tea, the two Tanzanian teas are perfect with which to start the morning.
And, I am fascinated that Africa is producing tea.
It really is an international commodity.