Review: Art of Tea Classic Black

Art of Tea, Black Tea, Nilgiri Tea, Organic Tea, Yunnan Tea Add comments
Geoff’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"The mouthpiece aroma was - accurately enough - classic black tea. I thought I detected a bit of the chocolaty aspect in the finish."
Geoff’s Teaview: 9.5/10
Other Teaviews: Melanie gave it 10/10, Shaiha gave it 8.8/10, Sophie gave it 9.2/10
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artofteaclassicblackArt of Tea - while a relatively old hat at the budding specialty tea market - is new to me. Based in Los Angeles, they custom blend their teas, which they in turn receive directly from private farms. And to quell the inner hippie in us all, their offerings are organic. Their Classic Black blend consists of organically-grown Nilgiri black tea and Yunnan golden buds (high quality Dian Hong).

First impression? To the nostrils, it was like freebasing German chocolate on a fruit platter. The aroma was exquisite. Nilgiri-grown black teas often get a bum rap for being low quality, mostly because of their CTC cut. In reality, they can be as rich and malty as even the best of Assams. I haven't personally experienced this, but I can believe it from the scent of this alone. Yunnan blacks vary in quality. Rule o' thumb, though? The more gold to the leaves, the better the cup. Yellow-gold reeds were present in this dry batch along with the Nilgiri dark.

Brewing instructions on the site mentioned a desired temp and time, but no measurements to speak of. While vague, it allowed for a bit of "wing it" room. Sometimes that's appreciated. A bit of liberalism can be allowed with certain black teas, especially blends. That said, I leaned to the lighter side, brewing 1 tsp in 8oz of boiled water for three minutes. Just to be safe.

The liquor brewed to a sepia-like brown; thick and dark, you could almost SEE the malt of it. The mouthpiece aroma was - accurately enough - classic black tea. I thought I detected a bit of the chocolaty aspect in the finish. The flavor profile contrasted the burly visual presence. It was light, floral, crisp, and creamy; more in line with a Ceylon than a Nilgiri. I assumed the floral and crisp notes stemmed from the Yunnan contribution. And with the lighter touch on brewing, astringency was undetectable.

Art of Tea touted that this black blend won 1st Prize in the Black Tea Category at the World Tea Expo in Vegas. It's not hard to see why. Usually, subtlety is lacking when blends are made. This had all the strengths and nuances of both types of blacks. While I had this in the late afternoon, I would boast that this is a perfect morning cup o' black.

Vendor Alert! For a wide selection of green, black, white and oolong teas, as well as teaware and tea-related accessories, be sure to visit Art of Tea.

Teaviews Member: Geoff Geoff Reviewer
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