I have been hearing quite a buzz online about this tea, and now it’s clear to me why. This is truly the best unflavored black tea ever. Period.
The photograph is true to the appearance of the leaves when you open the package. Long, large, curled, matte black leaves. The aroma of the dry leaves is that of cocoa and a slight, roasted, nutty smell. Nothing too extraordinary – but don’t let that influence you. The fragrance develops upon brewing, and the liquor smells of rich, almost buttery cocoa with a delicate smoky note. It smells absolutely amazing!
But – that cannot even begin to describe the complex flavors that await you when you take your first sip. There is cocoa – yes. Not so much “chocolate” but a deep, rich cocoa flavor – one that reminds me a bit of the scent of freshly roasted cacao beans. A very deep and pronounced flavor.
But – again – that is just the cusp of it. This tea is so incredibly complex that I have a hard time categorizing it as a “black tea” because I’ve tasted no other black tea quite like it. There is a nutty tone to it that is sweet and sort of caramel-y. A smoky note that is subtle yet profound. As one that is generally put off by overly strong smoky tastes, I can tell you it’s not a strong smoky presence, but it is there, and it is *delightful.* There is a gentle malty note as well, not quite as robust and richly malty as a typical Assam. Rather, it is a sweet malty tone that compliments the cocoa notes so well.
The flavors come together so flawlessly in this cup that it is difficult to precisely pinpoint them – almost to the point of impossibility – so it is a complicated tea to describe. The only word that I can come up with to describe it accurately is: Perfection. Yes. Perfection describes this tea, well, perfectly. It is a full-bodied, bright, flavorful cup of absolute perfection.
The Simple Leaf describes this tea as
And now for something completely different. If you haven’t heard about Arunachal Pradesh or Abali before, prepare to be delighted. When we first received this tea, we just had to stare and wonder at these gorgeous, long, hand-rolled orthodox leaves with prominent tips. Simply smelling the aroma from the leaf had us floored before we had even taken our first sip. When brewed, it produced a wonderful mellow, golden liquor that was pleasantly smooth and refreshing. Tasting this tea brought back visions of a light mist hovering over tea bushes at dawn. Enjoy hot or iced.
Be sure to check out our exclusive Behind The Cup interview with the producer of this tea. It’s a remarkable story about sustainability that you will not want to miss.
This is a tea that I would recommend to everyone who is the least bit interested in tea. If you like tea – try it. If you love tea – try it. If you can’t live without tea – try it. Trust me. Try it.