Review: Rare Tea Republic Temi SFTGFOP1 First Flush

Black Tea, Orange Pekoe Tea, Rare Tea Republic, Single Estate Tea Add comments
Geoff’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"This first flush is proof that a little hardship didn't stop these hearty leaves."
Geoff’s Teaview: 9.3/10
Other Teaviews: Jamie gave it 7/10
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Oh, Sikkim, how I love thee...let me count the ways. This extremely small, landlocked, Vegas-like former kingdom in Northeastern India holds some significance for me. I tried two teas from the state's only tea garden - Temi - and both were quite good. Well, good is an understatement. Their second flush (2010) was absolutely perfect. It differed from other Himalayan-borne teas in its natural fruit notes that reminded me of grapefruit. I couldn't sing its praises enough. The first flush of that year was also quite good, but still too Darjeeling-like to hold its own character. I wondered if 2011 would offer up something new.

The leaves certainly seemed like a Darjeeling - twisty, green-to-brown, and rife with spice. But I was also elated to note a fruity hint on continued whiff. That was exactly what I was looking for. I sniffed it again to make sure it wasn't my mind playing tricks on me. Sure enough, there it was. Hopefully, that also held true for the brew.

Rare Tea Republic recommended 1.5 tsps. steeped in 1 cup of 195F water for three-to-four minutes. I erred on the lighter side with 1 tbsn. in 12oz. of 199F water, infused for the minimum three. Seemed the right way to go with a fainter pekoe.

The liquor brewed to a deep carrot orange with a subtle aroma of caramel, malt and...artichoke hearts? At least that's what I thought I smelled; it was very faint. As for flavor, the first thing that hit my tongue was spice and muscatel - very Darjeeling first flush-ish. That was followed up by an even transition to a mysterious zestiness that trailed off into a feeling of fruit. What fruit? Couldn't say. I got a bit of the pineapple the RTR's profile spoke of, but it was jumbled with something drier - tangelos, perhaps.

For a tiny region that was ravaged by earthquakes recently, I'm surprised that any tangible product was exported at all. I was heartbroken to think that maybe no 2011 Temi teas would've made it out. This first flush is proof that a little hardship didn't stop these hearty leaves. Bring on the second flush!

— To purchase Rare Tea Republic Temi SFTGFOP1 First Flush, 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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