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Friday, October 1, 2010

Arbor Teas Loose Leaf Oolong Tea 'Organic Makaibari Estate'

Tea Information:
Tea: Organic Makaibari Estate Oolong Tea
Type: Oolong Tea
Packaging: Loose Leaf
Company: Arbor Teas
Purchase: Here
Description: This organic, Fair Trade Certified oolong tea represents a departure from our other oolong offerings. Biodynamically farmed at the Makaibari estate in India's Darjeeling district, this oolong exhibits many of the same qualities as the black teas this region is known for. The medium- to dark-green leaves and sliver buds of this oolong produce a light amber infusion with a punchy astringency that diminishes quickly. It also exhibits slight lemony, vegetal and earthy qualities akin to other Darjeeling teas, while maintaining a classic oolong finish. Established in 1859, Markaibari is the oldest estate in Darjeeling, where a strong commitment to sustainable farming prevails.
Ingredients: organic Indian oolong tea

Steep Information:
Amount: 9.9g
Water: 1200ml at 195°F
Tool: Breville One-Touch Tea Maker BTM800XL
Steep Time: 2 minutes
Served: Hot

Tasting Notes:
Dry Leaf Smell: sweet floral vegetal, a little nutty
Leaves: green and silver thin twisted strands about an inch long each
Steeped Tea Smell: lemon, citrus, black tea scent
Flavor: slightly astringent, crisp black tea, very clean and light
Body: Medium
Aftertaste: sweet citrus floral notes
Liquor: translucent light red-brown

This was a very nice crisp tea for sipping in the afternoon while browsing the internet. It is not a strong tea to kick you awake in the morning, but more one to be sipped and savored. I very much enjoy this tea, I enjoy when a company strives to be organic and fair trade so long as it is not at the cost of the tea. This tea shows that they are able to provide a high quality tea while striving to help tea farmers and the environment. It does however lack anything completely unique to make it a 4/4 leaves tea (a WOW) that i must keep stocked at all times.

Arbor Teas sent me this sample for free in order for me to review it and get the word out about their teas in October as it is Fair Trade Month. It arrived USPS Priority mail, but had to wait a few days at the post office for me to pick it up. The compostable packages are opaque and have listed suggested steeping parameters and a stapled on paper tag with the specific tea information. They include a note about re-packaging your tea into opaque air-tight containers for longer shelf lives.

"Our dedication to protecting the environment pre-dates our love of tea, which is why we’ve taken every step we can think of to reduce the environmental footprint of Arbor Teas.

Never ones to rest on our laurels, we’re always looking for further opportunities to "green-up" our company, giving back to the planet whenever we can. Here’s just a quick summary of the measures we take at Arbor Teas to reduce the environmental impact of our business:
• Our entire catalog of teas is certified organic under the USDA National Organic Program.
• We are the first and only tea company to deliver its full line of organic loose teas in 100% backyard compostable packaging. In doing so, we've significantly reduced both the carbon emissions and waste stream associated with our products.

And from their letter to me "every tea in out catalog is certified organic, and nearly two-thirds are Fair Trade certified."

Find Steepster reviews of the tea here.

Resteep 2: 1,200ml 195°F 3min a bit too bitter + sugar = OK
Resteep 3: 1,000ml 195°F 2min brisk w/sugar, nice and refreshing + sugar = good
Resteep 4: 1,000ml 195°F 2-2:30min weak, added 30 sec and got nice light crisp tea + sugar = good
Resteep 5: 1,000ml 195°F 3-3:30min weak, added 30 sec and got nice light crisp tea + sugar = good
Resteep 6: 1,000ml 195°F 4-5min weak, added 60 sec and still weak, stopped re-steeping added to iced tea and didn't drink

Cold:I took the first hot steep and put it in the refrigerator as it was a hot day. I then added the leftovers of each brew. It was a nice light refreshing black iced tea, it needed a bit of sugar. I used raspberry torani, MilitiaJim used Kiwi. Delicious. I think I enjoyed this as an iced tea better than hot.

Rating: 3/4 leaves

Leaf system:
1=Bleh! not again if it were free
2=Acceptable, if it were free or there were limited other tea options
3=I might purchase this tea from time to time, or select it while out
4=A staple in our cupboard from now on, I will purchase and keep purchasing

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