Review: KTeas Bolivian Whole Leaf Black Tea

Black Tea, Bolivian Tea, KTeas, Organic Tea Add comments
Sophie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"Somewhat of a hybrid, the malty, roasted root vegetable tones are close to a good Assam but the tannic fruit notes remind me of a Darjeeling. Well worth exploring!"
Sophie’s Teaview: 8.1/10
Other Teaviews: Geoff gave it 8.4/10, Vanessa gave it 8.5/10, Melanie gave it 8/10, Rebecca gave it 8.5/10
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kteaslogoThis organic, hand harvested tea was grown at 5000 feet above sea level in the Andes, where the cool climate meets the moist, warm air from the Amazon. I've been particularly intrigued to try this offering since high elevations usually lead to very flavourful leaves, especially in combination with lots of humidity. I've also never had a Bolivian tea before, or any tea produced anywhere else in South America for that matter. The description on KTeas' website compares it to an Assam but without the harsh bite that sometimes accompany this type of tea. The dry leaves are huge, full and loosely folded. They are dark purplish-brown in colour, somewhat like heavily oxidized oolongs. Their aroma is definitely unusual: it reminds me of sweet and sour gum drops.

Following KTeas' suggestions, I steeped 2 loosely measured teaspoon-fulls of leaves in 8 ounce of water heated to 208 degrees Fahrenheit for 4 minutes. The leaves are so large and spidery that I have a hard time fitting them in the infuser, never mind the measuring spoon! The liquid almost immediately bears a rich, coppery mahogany hue. Thankfully the aroma of the steeped cup has undergone quite a transformation and is now deliciously reminiscent of baked goods and roasted sweet potato. However, taste-wise this sweetness doesn't entirely translate to the brew. There are some sweet, fruity tones in the mid-range, in the form of raisin, caramel and malt. But mostly the cup is on the earthier, woodier side of things, with a prominent tannic quality to it. There is also something reminiscent of a rich red wine here, which KTeas aptly describes as “burgundy”. The body is slightly creamy, getting heavier as the tea cools. The finish is brisk and slightly drying, some sweetness persisting in the brief aftertaste. The overall impression is bold and stout – definitely enough to take some dairy or to make for a great breakfast tea.

I tried brewing the leaves a second time for 4 and a half minutes. The sweet potato, toasted bread and caramel notes are more prominent, as the tannic quality of the cup takes more of a back seat this time. Compared to the first infusion, it's smoother and milder mannered. I can't say I preferred one steep over the other, as both had interesting characteristics.

I'm definitely impressed with this Bolivian offering. Somewhat of a hybrid, the malty, roasted root vegetable tones are close to a good Assam but the tannic fruit notes remind me of a Darjeeling. I look forward to trying other teas from this region. It will be exciting to see how the geography of the area affects the end product. Kudos to KTeas for bringing this new terroir to the fore!

— To purchase KTeas Bolivian Whole Leaf 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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One Response to “Review: KTeas Bolivian Whole Leaf Black Tea”

  1. Shaiha Says:

    KTeas comes up with some real winners at times. I have added this to my list to try.

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