Makaibari Estate

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Recent Tasting Notes


Most expensive Darjeeling ever sold? Check. Grown using BioDynamics with awareness of the constellations & picked on a full moon? Check. White tips from Darjeeling? Ok then, I’ll give this one a whirl.

Its a lightly fermented silver tipped Oolong, and a very nice one at that. A soft and pale liquor, not as sweet & fragrant as a silver needle, but also not hard and woody like some darjeelings. Also it isnt at all like a first flush Darjeeling, no bitterness there, and just a hint of astringency. No muscatel aroma (it is a spring, after all) but there is some grape in there, I think.

Its a bit akin to the Xin Gong Yi New Craft that Red Blossom sell, but that has more of a robust, deeper body, like a stronger white tea taste, whereas this Makaibari has a light aroma and body. Apparently Makaibari is the oldest tea estate in Darjeeling & according to google, the place of the worlds first tea factory. Although I would have thought China would hold this record? hmmm.

‘Very Pleasant’ is how I would describe it. A hint of honey sweet mango, it is a subtle experience, really non-offensive & a joy to drink. I do think it needs to be drank without anything else clouding your tastebuds as it is like a white & deserves being in its own space, but you still get a darjeeling-y feel going on. A subtle chameleon. Nice!

Ive done 90c before, but Ive been hitting it with 80 degrees today, grandpa style, and its making my head feel nice and fluffy. I do think theres a sweet spot in between 80 & 90c that will work the best.

Flavors: Floral, Mango, White Grapes, Wood

175 °F / 79 °C 4 min, 0 sec 2 g 12 OZ / 354 ML

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Flavors: Astringent

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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A horribly mediocre Darjeeling in my opinion. I have tried this tea 4 times from different buyers and from different years, the one constant, its crappy quality.

little of the tell tale muscatel notes, and to be honest not much flavour at all. Makaibari prizes itself on being one of the first bio dynamic tea estates in Darjeeling, yet seems to for go quality instead for trying to create a name for itself by hiring documentary crew to film in the estate.

At two different Darjeeling tea tastings I went to (one 2 weeks ago, and one a year ago), Makaibari Second Flush Darjeeling came in last.

Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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Makaibari lies in kurseong sub division of Darjeeling District, therefore the summer pickings from these areas are great!!!
Raja is a respected planter and touches the soul of the local people!and deserves to carry his ego maniac! Because his teas speaks for him.he ! he!


you are right about that………this estate produces some of the best Darjeeling in the land :)

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Rob is rambling and unfocused today, so my apologies in advance. He’s also referring to himself in the third person, which is a tad alarming. Might have something to do with staying up late last night to watch the Yankee game. Unfortunately, my Mets aren’t in the post-season, so I’m stuck watch my wife’s and my son’s team in the playoffs. Oh, right, we’re supposed to be talking about tea…

Makaibari Second Flush is a classic Darjeeling from one of the oldest tea estates in Darjeeling and perhaps the world. Makaibari (I’ve heard it generally pronounced Mock EYE Bahri) also has the distinction of being an organic and biodynamic estate and is perhaps the last major Darjeeling plantation still under private family ownership. This tea estate, however, is bigger than 1,700 acres, so I’d hardly call this an artisanal tea. More at, including a clip from a documentary about Makaibari’s egomaniacal owner, Rajah Banerjee. An article about traveling to the Makaibari estate can also be found at

This particular batch of tea was purchased from Ito En’s Madison Avenue store in NYC, but, strangely, Makaibari isn’t listed on Ito En’s website for online purchase. That said, a lot of online purveyors carry this tea, so it shouldn’t be hard to find.

Ito En didn’t list the pekoe grade for this tea, but at a modestly priced $3.50 an ounce it can’t be a particularly high grade. (Guessing it’s like a GFOP or FOP.) But don’t sweat the grade, however. Lower grades of good harvests are still really good teas. And this is a really good tea. It’s got that classic Darjeeling brightness, although, alas, it lacks that strong delicious peach undertone that you find in some Darjeelings.

There is something very cool about buying single-estate teas, the way you would buy a wine. For one, you really know where your tea comes from. In fact, if you really want to geek out, you can see an interactive map of Darjeeling’s tea estates at

The down side of buying single-estate teas, as opposed to blended regional teas, is that the product can vary greatly from year to year, just like a wine. But that makes buying single-estate teas even more interesting, I think.

Although Darjeelings are unmistakably Indian, I believe most of the Darjeeling estates use the smaller-leaved Chinese varietal tea plants, which are apparently hardier than Assamicas and fare better in the relatively high altitude of the region. (The exception, I think, is the Margaret’s Hope estate, which predominately uses Assamicas to give their teas a unique taste among their competitors, although they still taste like Darjeelings to me.)

While first-flush Darjeelings require short steeping times, this second-flush tea can steep for nearly five minutes before it goes tannic on you. While some people will put milk in a second-flush Darjeeling, I really don’t think it’s full-bodied enough to stand up to cow juice or soy milk or Rice Dream or whatever is creaming your drink. Not really sure the brightness of the tea really goes with milk anyway, the way a malty tea, such as an Assam or Yunnan, would.

Sorry for the ramble. Probably could have summed up the whole thing in about seven words: It’s a good tea. Have a cup.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
I ♥ NewYorkCiTEA

Just wanted to say that I find your post informative and I’m enjoying learning more about different teas and their production and properties. I did not know about single estate teas before.

East Side Rob

Thanks for the feedback. Gonna try to write them a bit more succinctly moving forward — if I can.

I ♥ NewYorkCiTEA

As a queen of rambling, I do not mind it.

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