Friday, January 30, 2015

What-Cha, Georgia Natela's Gold Standard Black Tea

What-Cha Description:
A most unusual hand processed tea with soft tannins and slight malt with hints of toffee.
Natela of Nagobilevi Village makes only 50kgs a year of this tea by hand, utilising methods she perfected over many years with tea leaves she 'borrowed' from the local State Farm during the Soviet era.

Sample provided by What-Cha Tea Redefined

My Review:
Georgia, Georgia... Yeah, the name just causes Ray Charles voice to sing in my brain. I know, not the same Georgia but I don't care. Just go with me on this one and don't mess with my mood as we journey back to Russia for today's cup.

Reading the company description above, I love that the artist behind this tea perfected her craft on 'borrowed' leaves. It rings familiar of a time when the servants of the rich in colonial America 'borrowed' the steeped leaves for their own home use. I am sure both carried some risk.

As I open the resealable sample bag, the leaf of this has a sweet, fruity, tobacco type aroma that catches my interest . A very nice start.

The leaf is dark chocolate in color with a few golden strands. The leaf is long with some tightly wound and others loosely plump. It has a moderate curl.

I used the press today, for no real reason other than I had just washed it. Filtered water was heated to 203 F. The steep was a little less than 4 minutes. That is longer than I would normally go with a first time black tea. The label said this is sweet and soft, so I went with near the maximum recommended time.

The result is a dark caramel cup. The wet leaf expanded quite a bit revealing some whole leaf and what seems to be large torn pieces. The leaf looks green tinted below the cinnamon colored surface. The cup has a clean sweet fruity scent that reminds me of Darjeeling, but maybe that's just me.

The taste begins light with a slight maltiness. Then the tannins kick up a pleasant storm across the tongue. It is like one of those late summer storms after a drought. It is so welcome and refreshing. Just like a summer storm it passes quickly. It leaves behind a slight toffee taste, that I might have missed if I hadn't known to wait for it. Then the sip ends with a lingering fruitiness.

The bite does not come off as bitter and leaves little in the way of dryness, though some cheek tingle remains like distant rumbles of thunder. Faint reminders of the earlier storm.

The second cup has a stronger malt aroma mixed with fruit. The taste is just as delicious as the first. Sweet, smooth, with a less dramatic storm this time.  The fruity aftertaste remains as does the pleasant tannin tingle on the cheeks.

If you can't tell, this was a very solid black tea that I found quite satisfying.

As the cup finishes I hear Ray once again, "Just an old, sweet song, keeps Georgia on my mind."

You can find What-Cha, Georgia Natela's Gold Standard Black Tea here.

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