There’s a snowstorm going on outside today here in Upstate New York, so it’s a perfect time to have a nice black tea.
My love for black teas has definitely fluctuated throughout my years of being a tea enthusiast – I used to love it and then I had white tea for the first time and I completely forgot about it and then I started loving it again when I had my first Darjeeling.
When it comes to black tea, I tend to stick to first-flush Himalayan teas because I just love the floral nature of them and they are somewhat reminiscent of a white tea in their flavor.
That’s exactly why I decided to try this Dharamsala Mann first-flush Kangra black tea from Vahdam Teas.
I have personally never had a tea from Kangra before, but I did do a little research to see why it was such a notable tea producing region in India.
So Kangra is a district of the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh in the Western Himalayas – it’s capital is at Dharamsala (which is where this tea comes from). The region is known for its rich, aromatic teas and that claim is definitely evident in this tea.
The smell of the dry leaves is light and floral, reminiscent of other first-flush Himalayan black teas. It has some slight earthy notes, and a noticeable scent of dried fruit and brown sugar.
The steeped leaves smell quite vegetal and remind me a lot of a black tea I had from Arunachal Pradesh a few months ago. The one noticeable difference is that these leaves are a bit grassier in scent and there are some slight cumin notes as well.
The tea itself smells light and floral, like a first-flush Darjeeling, however there are some vegetal undertones along with slight notes of toasted marshmallow and dried stone fruit like prunes or dried apricots.
The tea starts off with a vegetal, black tea flavor and it transitions into a more floral, lighter flavor. It ends with a slight astringency and an aftertaste that tastes unusually similar to a Long Jing or other similar Chinese green tea. The tea is considerably crisp and with each sip the slightly astringent nature of it dries out the inside of my mouth. I re-steeped it a few more times, and as it was re-steeped the flavor became more mellow and floral, losing some of its somewhat strong, vegetal quality.
Overall, this is quite a mellow tea, yet the flavors are very complex – I will definitely continue drinking this and after tasting it I think I will look more into Kangra teas because this one was wonderful as far as black tea goes.
From: Vahdam Teas
Dharamsala Tea Estate, Mann, Himachal Pradesh, India