Did you know that Sikkim state in northern India produces only organic tea? I didn’t, so that’s why I bought this tea. Also, $4 for 25g. Yes, please.

The dry leaf smells very flowery with pink roses and peonies and chrysanthemum on top of a spicy, woody musk. The tea hasn’t impressed me so far (maybe age-related?), being very light in flavor and rather undefined so today I increased the concentration of tea leaves and did get a more pronounced cup. The brewed aroma is sweet, soft and mild tending toward brown sugar and cocoa. Within the brisk body, I taste mostly a tangy, woody-straw flavor with lighter but still adequate notes of caramel and cocoa that follow through into a short aftertaste where buttered apricot-mango also comes out. I’d compare it to a Nepali black tea.

It’s an easy-drinker. Using less leaf gives a more floral tea. For the price you can’t go wrong, especially if you value organic farming and are looking for a cheaper alternative to Nepali teas.

Flavors: Apricot, Astringent, Brown Sugar, Butter, Caramel, Chrysanthemum, Cocoa, Drying, Floral, Mango, Peony, Rose, Smooth, Spicy, Straw, Tangy, Tannin, Wood

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 4 g 10 OZ / 300 ML

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If you’re an aspiring or current tea grower, let’s talk! I am slowly beginning a tea farm here in Northern California. Currently growing are young plants pulled from the ground and gifted to me after a visit to Fairhope Tea Plantation in Alabama. The parent plants are sinensis variety from a defunct Lipton research project. I’ve also started seeds from Camellia Forest Nursery in North Carolina. The types include Camellia taliensis, an assamica variety, and 3 sinensis varieties including “Small leaf” “Large leaf” and “Black Sea.” I also picked up 2 older plants from a a local nursery. They were grown from seed supposedly acquired from a tea farm in Washington. To learn how to process tea into different styles, I plan on traveling to China and Taiwan if/when COVID becomes a relative non-issue. I’m taking Mandarin classes to aid in this journey.

Tea became a hobby and my daily drink of choice some time late in the last decade. My introduction to loose leaf came, following a lone tin of some Tie Guan Yin oolong many years prior, in the form of dumpster-dived Wuyi oolong packets that somebody left upon moving out of an apartment building. From there, my palate expanded to teas from across China and the world. I used to focus more on taste and still harbor the habit, but after trying sheng pu’er, I tend to focus more on how a tea feels in my body. Does it complement my constitution? Does it change my mood or does it enhance my current mindstate? While I may not mention those effects in tea notes, it is what I value most.

Flavored teas are not a favorite but I do drink them intermittently. Drink a variety of teabags at work. Herbal teas/tisanes provide balance. Unfiltered tap water heathen (it’s good here).

In terms of who I am, you could consider me a jill of all trades. Specialty is not my strength, as can be seen in the spread of my tea notes.

One thing I will always love is riding a bicycle.


Sonoma County, California, USA

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