Sunday, April 26, 2015

TETE, Black Tea

TETE Description:
The tea where the tea-maker has to spend most effort, black tea is the perfect tea for a healthy jump-start to mornings. To make this tea, the tea-maker has to scrupulously wither the leaves overnight, before delicately rolling them and then oxidizing them until the buds are a perfect shade of golden. This tea comes from a remote tea garden of Nepal, where when the first tractor arrived five years ago, the locals thought it was a buffalo and fed it hay. When brewed, the exquisite black tea smells like a rainforest, and leaves an aftertaste of honey.

Sample provided by TETE

My Review:
TETE is a new to me company. Across the top of the front side of the sample bag is the word "Simplify". On the back of the bag it reads "No Artificial Flavors. No Pesticides. No Tea Dust. Just Tea. Really Good Tea." They carry three teas in their webstore - black, green, and white. That's it. The teas are sourced direct from Nepal as it says in the description.

This review is for the Black Tea - Himalayan Full Leaf Premium Tea. We have all seen gimmicky ads on Amazon listing a million health claims for tea. We have all seen websites with so many black tea choices we feel intimidated and overwhelmed. I am finding the simple approach to quality everyday tea refreshing - if it is any good. Let's see.

The resealable aluminum packaging is simple and attractive. Easy to follow instructions are located on the bag of the bag.

Opening the bag I stop and breathe in several times. I have stated before that I really like Nepalese teas. This one is as fragrant as any I have tried. There is a light maltiness and the aroma of fruit and flowers. I am catching grapes and something wonderfully floral. My first thought was lavender, but I find lavender usually overwhelming and this is much more of a blended scent. Whatever it is, it is worth spending some time just inhaling.

The leaf itself is as gorgeous as the scent. Beautiful golden buds and deep brown leaves. It is kind of like looking at a handful of golden thread.

I used a healthy spoonful of maybe 3 1/2 grams in my press. The instructions call for one spoon per cup. I am using a mug so I increased the leaf. Per instructions, I am using full on boiling water (212F) and the steep time is 5 minutes. Both seem too high to me but their website assures me they sourced these teas to be especially forgiving for those of us who get interrupted a lot, or just don't like to fuss over tea.

The result is a very bright and clear cup of ruby and orange tinted liquor.  My picture does not do this justice. I know so far this sounds like a paid advertisement, but it isn't. I honestly have found no fault with any thing I have encountered so far. As a fan on Nepalese tea this is pretty much exactly what I want in my cup.

The wet leaf is very similar in scent to the dry leaf with possibly more malt. It is a deeper aroma. TETE says it smells like a rainforest. If that is how they smell in Nepal, I guess I would never come out of the woods. The wet leaf is a deep cinnamon color. The full leaf is intact and easy to see.

This is a smooth cup. I don't catch any bitterness. The dryness is fairly minimal for a black tea, though I notice some cheek tingle. I am catching a light bite that I like. The taste is a bit malt with nice notes of grape and floral. The aftertaste is sweet, floral, and lingering.

Given the minimalist approach TETE has taken with their labeling and amount of choices in their offerings, I wasn't sure what to expect. Turns out I am very impressed. This is a wonderful black tea. Simple and not fussy for those who don't want to be bothered, and deep and complex enough to please those of us who love to just get lost in a good cup of tea.

TETE says two to three cups can be brewed from the same leaf. Sadly, I don't get to find out today. My wife made a big pan of stuffed manicotti to take to my mom and dad's house momentarily. They will be serving iced Lipton decaf tea. Sigh.  Yeah, I've tried bringing the good stuff. They don't get the attraction. Again, sigh. But stuffed manicotti people!

You can find TETE black tea here.


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