Review: Joy’s Teaspoon Harambee Black

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Katie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"It's a more accessible, more affordable place to start with Kenyan Orthodox teas than with most others."
Katie’s Teaview: 7.1/10
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This is another hand-processed Kenyan tea from Joy's Teaspoon. Of the three I tried, this is the one I'm least excited about, but it is also the most affordable. The leaves are short black sticks with some flecks of bronze, and I steep them at 208° for four minutes. My deep burgundy liquor smells like wine and malt, more like an Assam than anything else.

There's a definite malty character paired with a mild wine flavour. They're balanced with an odd, unexpected citrus taste. It's full-bodied enough to take milk and sugar, but it's unique enough I don't have the urge to add it. This isn't as smooth as I had hoped, but the bold flavour, also somewhat unexpected, is a pleasant surprise.

The five-minute second steep is less acidic, but it's also less robust. It's still very malty and, though it's less exciting than the first, it's still excellent.

Yet after both of these delicious cups, the one that got me most excited was my third. I took the second half of my second steep, and without adding anything, put it in the fridge overnight. The acidity is totally mellowed by the cold. It's fruity, floral, and surprisingly sweet. Sweet enough I don't regret being too lazy to add sugar. When chilled, this becomes an entirely different experience full of entirely different flavours. It is unbelievably refreshing and delicious.

Iced, this is brilliant. Hot, this is solid. It's a more accessible, more affordable place to start with Kenyan Orthodox teas than with most others. If you're inexperienced with good, artisan African leaves, this is an excellent learning investment. As for the rest of my sample, it's probably going to end up poured over ice.

— To purchase Joy’s Teaspoon Harambee Black, 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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