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

Arbor Teas, Black Tea, Darjeeling Tea, Fair Trade Tea, Organic Tea Add comments
Sophie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"Bright and punchy, this is a high quality first flush with a lot of character. Nicely done!"
Sophie’s Teaview: 9/10
Other Teaviews: Geoff gave it 9.5/10, Melanie gave it 6.9/10, Chelsy gave it 7.2/10, Katie gave it 7.9/10, Bryan gave it 6/10
Your Reviews: 10/10
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This is one of my new favourite tea companies, not only for the high quality of their tea but for their commitment towards providing sustainable products. This tea is a great example of their approach. It's fair-trade certified and comes in a compostable cellulose package. The leaves were biodynamically and organically grown on the Makaibari Estate, the oldest garden in Darjeeling. The leaves' fresh smelling, very grassy muscatel notes seem to attest to their springtime harvest. They combine a mixture of greens and browns and a variety of shapes and sizes.

My first attempt at brewing this tea failed miserably. I spaced out and didn't set a timer. The tea infused for probably 6 to 10 minutes and became quite astringent, with a heavy serving of bitter Brussels sprout-like notes in the finish. Based on past experiences with Arbor Teas and my colleague Geoff's review, I decided this was not an accurate portrait and started over.

Instead of using water that had come to a full boil as I did initially, based on the instructions of the package, I opted to steep a teaspoon of leaves in water heated to 205 degrees Fahrenheit for 2 minutes. These little adjustments paid off! A yummy toasted bread aroma permeates the brew. The reddish tan-coloured cup is now full of juicy muscatel, raisin, nutmeg, malt and toasted bread notes. As it cools, it takes on a brighter, almost lemony character. There is a hint of peppery bite to the finish, just enough to lend a pleasantly brisk tone to the brew. The sweet finish lingers on and on, infused with honey and melon notes. The body is almost syrupy and can easily take the addition of milk and sugar, although I preferred to drink this flavourful tea plain. After 3 minutes, a second infusion of this tea is well worth it, still being pleasantly brisk and lemony, with a slightly dry, sweet, malty finish.

The leaves are very potent and fairly finicky. I didn't pick up on the promised floral dimension of this tea. However the thirst-quenching combination of lemon, muscatel and melon notes more than makes up for its absence. I would recommend this engaging tea as a cup for sipping, as it requires (and deserves) one's full attention. Bright and punchy, this is a high quality first flush with a lot of character. Nicely done!

— 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.

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2 Responses to “Review: Arbor Teas Makaibari Estate Darjeeling 1st Flush Black Tea”

  1. Adina Says:

    I also admire their commitment to sustainability. Somehow the combination of healthy, organic, and sustainable, really hits a chord with me. And, of course, they taste great!

  2. Adina Says:

    see above…

    My Rating: 10/10

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