India ~ Dharamsala Mann Kangra First-Flush Black Tea | Vahdam Teas

Today I’ll be reviewing a first-flush black tea from the Kangra region of the Western Himalayas.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Rating: 9/10
From: Vahdam Teas
Dharamsala Tea Estate, Mann, Himachal Pradesh, India