Tea: Kumaon Black Tea

A Black Tea from Frontier - O Organic

Picture of Kumaon Black Tea
Style:Black Tea
Region:Kumaon, India
# Ratings:2 View All
Product page:Kumaon Black Tea

Review of Kumaon Black Tea

8 of 104 of 54 of 579 of 100
ExcellentGoodGood Value

I've been curious about teas from the Kumaon region of India for some time, but had yet to get my hands on one until now. What a surprise when the local food co-op got this in stock in their display of Frontier's bulk teas and spices!

The leaf is very fine, and strongly aromatic. The still-rather-intact leaf is tiny, and looks to be made from a small-leaf cultivar, smaller even than most Darjeelings. The smell is spicy and floral, almost a little perfumey, reminiscent almost of potpourri.

The brewed cup is also strongly aromatic, and also dark, with a thick body and rich flavor. The aroma is multifaceted and not subtle: it's very spicy, and has notes of cedar or juniper wood, also strongy floral and fruity notes. The aroma is also oddly reminiscent of raw Pu-erh. The flavor is strongly savory, and also very sweet, almost unsettlingly so, as if I had added honey. There is not much bitterness. The finish, however, is quite astringent.

As for how I felt after drinking this, it seems highly caffeinated, almost overly so. It seems to combine some of the qualities I dislike about Darjeeling tea (the jitteriness I feel after drinking it) with some of those I dislike about raw Pu-erh (its harshness on the palate.)

I also found this tea easy to brew too strongly; the leaf stretches VERY far, and if you just glance at it and throw in what looks like a normal amount, it'll come out a lot stronger than a typical tea. The potent aroma and high caffeine content also make this tea one that can get a bit overwhelming. So I'd warn you to go gentle on it.

It resteeps exceptionally well though. I was surprised to find the floral notes to be stronger in the second steep. I wish there were a way to enjoy this tea's aromatic complexity without some of its more objectionable qualities. This tea might work better with gong-fu-style brewing than most Indian teas. It has some characteristics of Pu-erh and other Chinese teas that work well with that brewing style.

In the end? This tea was interesting to try, but it wasn't among my favorites. I wasn't crazy about how I felt so wired after drinking it, and the aromatic notes, although interesting, were a bit muddled and didn't necessarily blend well. And the price of $50 a pound is one where, for that price, there are a lot of cheaper teas that I would prefer to this one.

I'd recommend picking this one up and giving it a try, in a small quantity, if you have the opportunity. But it's not my cup of tea.

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