Review: Arbor Teas Makaibari Estate Darjeeling 1st Flush Black Tea

Arbor Teas, Black Tea, Darjeeling Tea, Fair Trade Tea, Orange Pekoe Tea, Organic Tea Add comments
Geoff’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"The flavor was all first flush excellence. I detected no astringency, not even on the light side. Bitterness also didn't rear its face-implosive head. Nutmeg, jasmine, and a drop of molasses came to mind as I sipped this. "
Geoff’s Teaview: 9.5/10
Other Teaviews: Melanie gave it 6.9/10, Chelsy gave it 7.2/10, Sophie gave it 9/10, Katie gave it 7.9/10, Bryan gave it 6/10
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The Makaibari tea estate has one claim to fame over all other such gardens in the Darjeeling District. It was the first of its kind; established in 1859. Said estate also touts being the first fully organic operation in the region, probably on the whole. It even has its own website. This, perhaps, make them a perfect parallel for Arbor Teas - a husband and wife operation with a focus toward organic and Fair Trade Certified teas. I had heard of Arbor while on a quest for a certain type of honeybush. Makaibari, however, had never come across my desktop. But my relatively recent love of Darjeelings, and a curiosity toward this particular vendor, allowed for a two-bird-one-stone knotch-off. Excellent.

This first flush offering has all the strengths associated with its picking season; spicy scent, and a green-to-brown leaf color palette. I was actually starting to forget what a good Darjeeling smelled like. Not for lack of supplies, rather - during the summer - I lean towards greens, whites and herbals. Indian teas took a back seat for some illogical reason. The jalapeno/floral/muscatel trifectide aroma reminded me that my time may have been ill-spent.

There weren't any specific brewing instructions on the vendor site, but Arbor did provide general brewing tips in their FAQ. Unfortunately, there weren't any geared for specific types of black tea. Not that I could find, anyway. I went with a sure-fire approach of bringing water to an almost-boil - 8oz worth - for a steep of two minutes. The tea profile did call for a measurement of 1 generous teaspoon worth of leaves. I stopped just shy of a tablespoon, then patiently waited.

The Abor Teas site mentioned that the liquor took on a "bright, lemony infusion". That is a perfect description. Along with a noticeable lean toward amber, it resembled a lemon-like herbal tisane. The mouthpiece aroma contradicted this, of course, betraying a bit of malt and spice with a grape kick. The flavor was all first flush excellence. I detected no astringency, not even on the light side. Bitterness also didn't rear its face-implosive head. Nutmeg, jasmine, and a drop of molasses came to mind as I sipped this.

Makaibari's homepage states - on their mission statement - that their primary goal is to promote harmony between nature and man. I'd say they're coming pretty darn close if they keep doing what they're doing. I'm still leaning on the fence on the biodynamic stuff, but every tea I've tried that has such a badge has been excellent. I count this first flush as one of 'em.

— To purchase Arbor Teas Makaibari Estate Darjeeling 1st Flush Black Tea, or for more specific information on ingredients or the story behind this particular tea, click here to go directly to the manufacturer's web site.

Teaviews Member: Geoff Geoff
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