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Alex Zorach

RateTea Editor

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Member since Sep. 1st, 2009. Reviewed 1274 teas.

Reviews of Teas & Herbal Teas from India

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Picture of Tonganagaon Full Leaf

Tonganagaon Full Leaf from Harney and Sons

Style: Assam – Region: Assam, India

81 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 4/5
Mar. 16th, 2017

A fruitier, tangier Assam that was an interesting change of pace. Not quite as hearty or satisfying as some, but enjoyable.

The dry leaf of this has a rich aroma that reminds me of my mom and grandma making black currant and raspberry jam in late summer. There are also malty notes, but the cooked fruit / jam aroma...

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Picture of Irish Breakfast

Irish Breakfast from Harney and Sons

Style: Irish Breakfast – Region: Assam, India

79 / 100 Aroma: 7/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 5/5
Mar. 13th, 2017

One of the best Irish Breakfast blends I've tried.

The dry leaf is richly aromatic, smelling sweet, initially surprisingly fruit and then very malty.

Produces a rich, dark cup that is exactly what I'd expect from this type of tea. Strong but balanced. I found this had a slightly more fresh aroma and cooling qua...

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Picture of Assam Tea

Assam Tea from 24 Mantra Organic

Style: Assam – Region: Assam, India

73 / 100 Aroma: 7/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 4/5
Jan. 29th, 2017

A solid-quality CTC Assam that would make a good breakfast tea.

My roommate purchased this at a local Indian store. The date on the package shows it was packed last May, and we just opened the package the other day, so I know I was trying this tea while still very fresh. My rooomate enjoys this with almond milk an...

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Picture of Assam Tippy Golden

Assam Tippy Golden from Murchie's Tea & Coffee Ltd

Style: Assam – Region: Assam, India

83 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 5/5
Dec. 9th, 2016

Wow, this tea was quite satisfying, especially for cold days.

The dried leaf smells good, the aroma is mild but complex, mostly fruity and malty, with hints of spice, dried herbs or portpourri.

The leaves explode in aroma when they are steeped in water and there's a honey-like aroma that is a hallmark of higher g...

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Risheehat 1st Flush Darjeeling from Harney and Sons

Style: Darjeeling First Flush – Region: Darjeeling, India

87 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 4/5
Sep. 28th, 2016

I loved this one.

No picture of this because unfortunately it was removed from Harney's catalogue before I posted my review.

The dry leaf of this smells wonderful, and unexpected. It smells more like an autumnal flush tea, with more malty notes and a sort of soft, rich, caramel smell. There are floral and caram...

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Picture of Darjeeling Tea - Specialty Classics

Darjeeling Tea - Specialty Classics from Basilur

Style: Darjeeling Black Tea – Region: Darjeeling, India

70 / 100 Aroma: 7/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 3/5
Sep. 14th, 2016

This was served to me at a wedding and I was able to take a few different tea bags to try them later. I was surprised at the quality of this one.

The tea bag is not extraordinarily aromatic, but the brewed cup has a very nice, strong black tea smell. It reminds me a lot of sticking my nose into a bin of fresh, loo...

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Picture of Kairbetta Frost

Kairbetta Frost from Harney and Sons

Style: Black Tea – Region: Nilgiri, India

80 / 100 Aroma: 7/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 4/5
May. 16th, 2016

This tea is the most like a Darjeeling that I've ever had from outside Darjeeling and neighboring areas (like Nepal, Sikkim, etc.). It barely resembled other Nilgiri teas, so I'd recommend it more for people who like Darjeeling than people who like Nilgiri black teas.

Dry leaf looks wiry and robust, inconsistent le...

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Picture of Organic Assam (Loose)

Organic Assam (Loose) from Harney and Sons

Style: Assam – Region: Assam, India

87 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 5/5
Feb. 25th, 2016

This was my favorite broken-leaf Assam that I've ever tried. Surprisingly sweet and nuanced for a broken-leaf tea, and an excellent price, especially given that it's organic certified.

Dry leaf has a pleasant fruity and malty smell, typical for an Assam but smelling sweeter. Although it's a finely broken tea, the s...

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Picture of Jungpana Black Tea

Jungpana Black Tea from Udyan Tea

Style: Darjeeling Autumnal Flush – Region: Darjeeling, India

80 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 4/5
Feb. 16th, 2016

This tea is subtly different from other Darjeelings. The leaf is big and looks more like a Wuyi oolong than anything from Darjeeling. The aroma is rich and deep, notes of caramel and malt, a hint of the characteristic fruity/floral/vegetal notes, more typical for an autumnal flush Darjeeling.

Upon pouring the wate...

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Picture of Gopaldhara Red Thunder Black Tea

Gopaldhara Red Thunder Black Tea from Udyan Tea

Style: Darjeeling Autumnal Flush – Region: Darjeeling, India

77 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 4/5
Jan. 25th, 2016

I liked this tea, but I would not describe it as "thunder"; it's too mellow. Following the rumbling sound analogy, it would be more like "a natural-gas-powered bus goes by", but I guess that doesn't sound quite as sexy.

Dry leaf has a strong aroma, mostly nutty, suggesting sweetness. The aroma suggests warmth.

...

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Picture of Seeyok Autumnal Black Tea

Seeyok Autumnal Black Tea from Udyan Tea

Style: Darjeeling Autumnal Flush – Region: Darjeeling, India

83 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 5/5
Jan. 25th, 2016

This was a dark, rich, smooth, and naturally sweet tea with a mysterious pungent aroma, which changed its character a lot resteeping.

Dry leaf is a fairly uniform brown, and has a strong and intriguing aroma, malty and suggesting sweetness, but very fresh and light.

As I pour the water, immediately a strong fruit...

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Picture of Snowview Tippy Black Tea

Snowview Tippy Black Tea from Udyan Tea

Style: Darjeeling Second Flush – Region: Darjeeling, India

77 / 100 Aroma: 7/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 5/5
Jan. 13th, 2016

Every now and then I encounter a Darjeeling that only seems to shine when paired with the right foods, and this was one. The first couple times I drank it, it was easy to overlook, but when I paired it with a spicy coconut curry soup I made, it seemed to take on a completely different character.

Dry leaf is brown a...

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Picture of Giddapahar AV2 Clonal Black Tea

Giddapahar AV2 Clonal Black Tea from Udyan Tea

Style: Darjeeling Second Flush – Region: Darjeeling, India

70 / 100 Aroma: 7/10 Flavor: 3/5 Value: 4/5
Jan. 7th, 2016

This was a singular tea that was highly unlike any other teas I've tried. Minimalist in aesthetic, I can see this one appealing to people who like delicate white teas, and it tasted more like a white tea than other black teas. It's not my favorite sort of tea, but I found it intriguing with every sip, and drinking it...

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Picture of Castleton China Black Tea

Castleton China Black Tea from Udyan Tea

Style: Darjeeling Autumnal Flush – Region: Darjeeling, India

97 / 100 Aroma: 10/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 5/5
Jan. 3rd, 2016

Wow. Udyan tea recently sent me some samples, and they are of impressive quality. This is the first sample I'm reviewing, and only the second tea I've ever tried from Castleton estate. It got my attention immediately as a top-quality tea.

The dry leaf of this tea is explosively aromatic and the aroma is extraordin...

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Picture of TA04: Season's Pick Assam GFOP

TA04: Season's Pick Assam GFOP from Upton Tea Imports

Style: Black Tea – Region: Assam, India

73 / 100 Aroma: 7/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 3/5
Nov. 29th, 2015

I thought this a typical, middle-of-the-road Assam of good quality. but not mind-blowing. Good for people who value smoothness in a full-bodied tea.

Dry leaf has a mild fruity aroma. Brewed cup is very smooth, but rich and full-bodied. Aroma is predominately fruity, but also malty, with the fruitiness resembling ...

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Picture of Okayti Silver Needle Darjeeling White Tea Second Flush

Okayti Silver Needle Darjeeling White Tea Second Flush from Golden Tips

Style: Silver Needle – Region: Darjeeling, India

93 / 100 Aroma: 9/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 5/5
Nov. 16th, 2015

I thought this an exceptional tea, probably the best white tea I've ever sampled.

Another lost review that I somehow missed posting.

The leaf of this tea is wonderfully fragrance, with an aroma completely distinct from both Chinese silver needle teas, and the very different variants of them I've tried from Africa...

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Picture of Organic Darjeeling Estate

Organic Darjeeling Estate from Mighty Leaf Tea

Style: Darjeeling Black Tea – Region: Darjeeling, India

83 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 4/5
Oct. 8th, 2015

This was my favorite Darjeeling from a tea bag yet.

The dry leaf of this tea, in the bag, smells amazing, even though it appears rather finely broken. There are sweet fruity notes, a hint of spice (caraway?) and some other qualities that I find distinctive but hard to describe.

Brews up a cup that is initially s...

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Picture of Mangalam Full 2014

Mangalam Full 2014 from Harney and Sons

Style: Assam – Region: Assam, India

73 / 100 Aroma: 7/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 3/5
Aug. 24th, 2015

A very pleasant tea that I have enjoyed drinking daily. Ever-so-slightly disappointing, but only after trying some of the Kenyan teas sold by Harney, which were cheaper yet which I still liked better. I think had I not bought this in such a batch of top-notch teas, it might have shined a bit brighter. I still thought...

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Picture of TA30: Tippy Orthodox GBOP Assam

TA30: Tippy Orthodox GBOP Assam from Upton Tea Imports

Style: Assam – Region: Assam, India

77 / 100 Aroma: 7/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 4/5
Mar. 19th, 2015

I had the opportunity to try some top-notch Assams lately, top grades of single estate teas, and this was a much lower grade, broken leaf, and blended, but it was surprisingly good for what it is.

The brewed cup isn't quite as malty as I usually expect for an Assam. It has some pleasant fruity notes in the aroma, a...

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Picture of India's Original Masala Chai

India's Original Masala Chai from Golden Tips

Style: Chai / Spiced Tea – Region: India

83 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 5/5
Mar. 18th, 2015

A traditional chai that is smooth in flavor but is potently spiced, and equally enjoyable with and without milk.

For having such a finely-broken (CTC) base, this tea is surprisingly mellow and smooth. The dry leaf smells very fresh and light, and the dominant aroma is cardamom, and I can also detect clove. This bo...

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Picture of Darjeeling

Darjeeling from Ridgways

Style: Darjeeling Black Tea – Region: Darjeeling, India

57 / 100 Aroma: 6/10 Flavor: 2/5 Value: 3/5
Mar. 13th, 2015

An edgy Darjeeling that was enjoyable, but not the best quality, even for a tea bag.

Brews a beautiful, golden-amber cup that is very clear. Medium- to light-bodied, but with a bold flavor. The aroma is fruity, but more lemony and less like the typical muscatel grape quality I associate with Darjeeling. There's a...

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Picture of Avaata Supreme Nilgiri Green Tea First Flush (Organic)

Avaata Supreme Nilgiri Green Tea First Flush (Organic) from Golden Tips

Style: Green Tea – Region: Nilgiri, India

93 / 100 Aroma: 9/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 5/5
Mar. 11th, 2015

This is one of the best green teas I've tried to come out of India, or anywhere outside China and Japan for that matter. It also tasted the most like a top-notch Chinese green tea, of any tea I've tried yet from India.

The dry leaf of this tea is very loosely packed, consisting of whole, intact leaves which are lar...

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Picture of Arya Ruby Darjeeling Black Tea First Flush

Arya Ruby Darjeeling Black Tea First Flush from Golden Tips

Style: Darjeeling First Flush – Region: Darjeeling, India

67 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 2/5
Feb. 22nd, 2015

One of the most atypical Darjeeling teas, tasting more to me like a white tea than a black, I found this was interesting, but not for me. I was disappointed in it for many of the same reasons I tend not to like silver needle white tea.

I've tried this same tea from a different seller, Happy Earth Tea, the 2014 harv...

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Picture of Giddapahar Muscatel Darjeeling Black Tea Second Flush

Giddapahar Muscatel Darjeeling Black Tea Second Flush from Golden Tips

Style: Darjeeling Second Flush – Region: Darjeeling, India

83 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 4/5
Feb. 17th, 2015

A very pleasant tea, quite dark for a Darjeeling, and with a pleasant astringency.

The dry leaf is dark and smells fruity, suggesting sweetness, and also very malty.

Brews up a dark cup, even for a second-flush Darjeeling. Aroma is strongly fruity. For having the name Muscatel though, this tea isn't among the t...

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Picture of Mankota Exotic Assam Black Tea Second Flush

Mankota Exotic Assam Black Tea Second Flush from Golden Tips

Style: Assam – Region: Assam, India

87 / 100 Aroma: 9/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 4/5
Feb. 17th, 2015

An earthy, complex tea whose true colors only seem to come out if brewed strongly.

The leaf of this is well-formed, but mostly dark (darker than suggested by the picture), and it has a strong and deep aroma, like a classic or typical Assam but with more complexity, more earthy and vegetal.

Produces a cup with a p...

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