Now we know there are a number of common tea types:
Black Tea (English Breakfast, Darjeeling, Assam),
Green Tea (Sencha, Jasmine Green Tea),
Oolong (Formosa Green Jade, White Dragon),
White Tea (Silver Needle, Sow Mee) and
Pu-erh (Pu-erh, Rosie Wong, Toucha),
So following our last article on Chinese black (aka red) tea, let’s check out the wonderful world of Indian black tea.
If you are looking for a good black tea, you certainly should try Indian black tea. India and Sri Lanka produce a large number of black tea varieties. Some of you may know the Champagne of Teas, Darjeeling; and you can’t go pass a fragrant cup of Ceylon black. Yet there are lots more out there – let’s go and experience the Indian tea trail.
Darjeeling: Located on high altitude in the north-eastern part of India near the Himalayas, Darjeeling is characterised by its light golden-honey colour brew. It is a little smoky, malty and perhaps muscatel, and very agreeable. If you enjoy tea with a slice of lemon or straight, this is the tea.
Assam: One of the largest tea producing region in the world, Assam tea is known for its dark coppery brew with strength in taste. It tastes malty, and is often added to blended tea to give the brew a splash of colour. Assam tastes delicious with milk, particularly sweetened condensed milk, which brings out the caramel-like smoothness of this tea.
Nilgiri: Lies amid jungles in southern India, Nilgiri tea has often been used for blending to give the brew a bit more “umph”. Recently there are more specialty tea coming from this region and our Organic Korakundah FOP is a fine example of what a tasty brew Nilgiri tea is by itself. Full of body with a bright amber colour, Korakundah is fast becoming one of our favourite black tea. This tea tastes great with or without milk.
Ceylon: Last but not least, Ceylon tea possess the harmonious balance amongst taste, colour, strength and fragrance. Ceylon tea has a bright brew and typically has a medium flavour. It is often used in “supermarket blends” because of its “nice tea smell”. This should not deter you from trying Ceylon tea by itself. It has a wonderful flavour from the first to last sip which makes tea drinking rather gratifying!
With Indian tea, you would notice sometimes the name is followed by initials – OP, SFTGFOP etc. These are noting the leaf size, so for example OP means Orange Pekoe, signifying a large leaf, while SFTGFOP means Supreme Finest Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe, a very high quality leaf with golden tips (ie young unopened leaves, tips makes the tea sweeter). You can read more about Indian tea grading in our Tea Vocab section.
Indian tea picking is seasonal – different seasonal tea has different characteristics in taste and possibly appearance. Generally speaking First Flush is picked around March to May and it tends to be more astringent; while Second Flush, picked around June tends to be sweeter and more suitable to the Australian palette.
All these amazing black tea is available at our website, visit Teas.com.au now!