Monday, August 25, 2014

What-Cha, Kenya Flowery Orange Pekoe Black Tea

Sample Pouch
What-Cha Description:
An earthy black tea with fruity hints which is a big step above the usual black teas to come out of Kenya.

Sample provided by What-Cha

My Review:
This morning I find myself trying to put some order into my almost overwhelming tea collection. I have also made up a few packages to send to friends. I still have a couple yet to assemble. One thing I am noticing is I am no closer to order. Yesterday, I searched most of the day for one of my favorite comfort teas. It was late afternoon before I found it. Eeek! I need a break. Let's drink some tea!

This one is from Africa. A lot of tea comes from Africa but generally it is pulverized into poor quality tea bag dust and sent to your local grocery store. Opening the resealable pouch I catch hints of malt and tobacco leaf.

Large Pieces Of Dry Leaf
Scooping out a third of the sample (about 3g) it is immediately clear this is not your typical CTC (Crush Tear Curl) Kenya black tea found in most grocery store tea bags. The leaf appears much larger than any orthodox produced tea I've seen. It does not say on the label, or the website, but I suspect this may be all or mostly hand picked and processed.

I used my press and water heated to the recommended 95 C (203 F) and steeped it for 2 1/2 minutes. The guidelines say 2-3 minutes.

The result is a nicely orange liquor that sparkles as I pour it.

The Full Cup Before The Incident 
As I move the cup across the room to my computer, I bump a picture on the desk. It falls and hits the cup splashing tea everywhere. Soaked the mouse pad and the desk. Fortunately, no harm done and I managed to regain my composure quickly.

So after the clean up on aisle 3, the tea has cooled to drinking temperature - which is probably cooler than most of you like it but I don't care for extremely hot tea. My first sip is... really nice. This is extremely smooth. Honestly I was expecting a lot of throat grabbing bite. Nope. None. No bitterness. If it is astringent, I am immune. I am also not noticing any problem with stomach burn on an empty stomach. I am sensitive enough to it that I am going to have a light snack just in case. Yeah, any excuse to eat a cookie :)

What I am getting is a really smooth malty sip with a fruitiness mid sip. This dissolves into as close as this gets to bite, which is really more of a woodsy taste. What-Cha calls it an earthy finish.

The Wet Leaf 
The wet leaf is chocolate brown and contains large pieces of broken leaf.

I generally don't resteep most black teas. Usually the results are disappointing. The first cup was so good, I thought I would chance it. I steeped for 3 1/2 minutes. As I was pouring I caught a scent like earthy pond water.

I made it to my desk without incident this time.

While the cup was hotter than I normally like it, I took a sip and thought it was kind of mushroom and pond water. However, as the cup cooled the smooth malt returned at the front of the sip, then finished with earthy woodsy taste blended with the mushroom. The really hot cup was not my style but I quite enjoyed this second cup, once it cooled. It remains very smooth.

 I am once again impressed by the offerings of What-Cha. This is a very delicious black tea. 

You can find Kenya Flowery Orange Pekoe Black Tea here.

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