Review: American Tea Room Thiashola FTGFOP1 Organic

American Tea Room, Black Tea, Nilgiri Tea Add comments
Lynn’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"The Thiashola tea estate, established in 1859, is one of the oldest in the region and acquired organic certification in 2003. "
Lynn’s Teaview: 9.5/10
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americanthiasolaThis tea hails from the Nilgiri (Blue Hill) region of southern India, where the lush jungle foothills soar to heights of 8,000 feet. Though geographically only thirty-five miles long by twenty miles wide, nearly 150,000 acres of tea gardens cover its hills and valleys. The first tea plant, a China bush subdivision of our wonderful Camellia sinensis, is said to have been planted in Nilgiri by an Englishman named Mann in 1835. The Thiashola tea estate, established in 1859, is one of the oldest in the region and acquired organic certification in 2003.

By the way, that string of letters after the name stands for "Fine tippy golden flowery orange pekoe one" and is industry terminology used to describe grades of orthodox Indian tea. "Orthodox" means tea which is produced through the traditional seven step process which includes much time consuming rolling, rather than the commercial CTC (cut-tear-curl) method which is faster and cheaper, but does not produce the quality and flavor. Orthodox teas are generally more expensive, but as I always say, you get what you pay for.

The small, black, tightly twisted leaves of my sample had a light, sweet aroma. I infused a rounded teaspoon in a cup of 208F water for four minutes. The cup was a clear, bright, dark copper color with a faintly lemony fragrance. This carried over into the flavor, which inspired a whole string of descriptives: smooth, distinctly lemony, slightly sweet, mouth filling, nicely astringent with lots of pull and no bitterness, and very refreshing. The lemon notes became more pronounced as it cooled; this would be very good well-chilled and served without ice to dilute it. In fact, I think it would be a crime to add anything to this delicate, flavorful tea.

As I prepared to try a second infusion, I inspected the leaves. They had unfurled and gone from black to ruddy brown. Most of them appeared to be broken or torn. Those that were more intact were quite small.

Amazingly, the second cup, steeped for five minutes, was nearly as good as the first. I say amazingly because there are few black teas that produce a second infusion that pleases me. But this was very drinkable, light, smooth, astringent, lemony, with no bitterness or stewed flavor.

All in all, this is a delicious, high quality organic tea, the perfect drink for a lazy afternoon with a book or to converse over with friends. Forget the cream, sugar, or lemon wedges and let the tea speak for itself.

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