I started to write this post, and before I completed the first sentence something urged me to steep some. Now I am back with my mini gongfu set and happy smile on my face. This tea by no means is the representative of the widely drunk tea by the nation that consumes the largest amount of tea per capita. This is an exceptional hand-crafted black tea and does not represent any meaningful share of Turkish tea market which is unfortunately largely monopolised by the state-owned tea company called Caykur. This monopoly causes the end product to be cheap and standardised and I dare to say that the standard is fairly low.
However, there is hope as more and more people are looking for better quality and healthy products. As a result of this, the market and some small cultivars started to produce white teas (surprisingly some of them fetch as high prices as their ancestors from Fuding) and green tea including matcha. I was lucky enough to make acquaintance with a tea artisan who produces all the colours of teas organically. While my previous posts on Turkish teas (including this yellow tea) were of his produce, this one is different.
I found that this tea has very fruity characteristics which were present both in its aroma and taste. Zero bitterness was achieved which surprised me. This is because all the other Turkish black teas I had in my entire life (with a couple of exceptions due to brewing style) entailed some astringency.
I also sourced green tea and oolong tea (looks exactly the same as this black tea) from the same producer and am looking forward to trying them in the next couple of days! Stay tuned and enjoy your cuppa!
Origin: Rize, Turkey
Harvest time: Autumn2019
Leave colour: Black with some red shades
Liquor colour: Amber
Tea aroma: Fruity
Tea taste: Overall mellow with fruity undertones and sweet aftertaste
Steeping/brewing: You can use around 100°C water temperature and brew for up to one minute in gongfu style or up to three minutes in Western-style. You can brew the leaves many times (until the taste is lost). To each infusion add additional time. Experiment for a result that suits your taste.
Shelf life: Up to36 months (to improve shelf-life store the sealed tea leaves in a dry, ventilated place with low temperatures and away from odour)