Last week we featured Artisan Tea Maker: Arakai Estate. You can have a read of this post here. Today we are going to share our tasting experience with their award winning green and black teas.
What happens when you combine Japanese tea cultivars, Bellthorpe’s terroir and Chinese and Taiwanese processing methods? Spectacular, bold, whole-leaf teas made for the Australian tea drinker!
Both of the 2015 green teas were a delight to drink. They are wonderfully complex, aromatic and sweet with detectable oolong influences both in flavour and appearance.
Arakai Estate Premium Green 2015 First Spring Flush
- Winner of the Overall Green Tea and Australian Green Tea categories at the 2015 Golden Leaf Awards
The premium green tea has an elegant floral bouquet, delicate vegetable notes reminiscent of young butter beans and hints of melon that combine to deliver a sweet aroma. The unfurling wet leaves are beautiful with shades of red and brown along the edges of the leaf, evidence of a longer withering process, more commonly associated with oolongs. The flavour of the tea is floral, slightly buttery with a lingering sweetness on the palate and a very mild astringency. This is my personal favourite of the 2015 Arakai Estate teas.
Arakai Estate Green 2015 Mid-harvest blend
The green mid-harvest blend is easily a green tea that you could drink and enjoy everyday. It too has a sweetness balanced against distinct vegetable, bamboo and nut flavours. It is rich and smooth on the palate with a distinct butteriness making for a soothing and delicious brew.
The black teas are unique with good body and delicate sweetness. These teas exhibit many traits of popular Chinese red teas including spice, fruit and caramel flavours. We also felt the mid-harvest black tea had malt and nutty qualities resembling a good quality Sri Lankan tea.
Arakai Estate Premium Black 2015 First Spring Flush
- Winner of the Australian Black Tea category at the 2015 Golden Leaf Awards
The black-brown dry leaf is shaped in fine needle lengths with a scattering of tips throughout the tea. The sweet caramel aroma is accompanied by stone fruit and spicy vanilla notes. The flavour of this tea is semi-sweet reminiscent of muscatel and dried fruit and the liquor leaves a lovely velvety feeling in the mouth.
Image: T - Black 2015 Premium B - Black 2015 Mid-harvest blend
Arakai Estate Black 2015 Mid-Harvest blend
The black mid-harvest blend has become our regular brew for the afternoon. This tea has an aromatic semi-sweet bouquet of malt, dried fruit and cocoa nibs. The tea is medium bodied, with a well-rounded malty flavour that has a wonderful nutty component, quite similar to almond milk. This tea is comforting and enjoyable to drink.
We felt it quite fitting to brew the Arakai Estate teas in our kyusu (Japanese) teapot which was handcrafted in Australia by a talented ceramist, Sophie Moran. These large leaf green and black teas need some room to expand during steeping so this larger brewing vessel suited perfectly. We found ourselves wanting to brew these teas in bigger volumes so that we could enjoy a large cup or mug of tea. This is also why we feel they are well suited for the Australian tea drinker.
Our tasting notes are based on the brewing method below. We had a bit of an experiment with temperature, leaf quantity and steep times and found this method produced a very good result. It is western style brewing using a larger quantity of leaf. These teas perform equally well using Gong Fu Cha style brewing. As we always like to say, tea brewing and taste all comes down to personal preference so please experiment for yourself. We did not add any milk or sweeteners to our tea but believe the black tea (if brewed strongly) would hold up to a splash of milk if preferred.
No. of infusions
3g per 125mL
3g per 125mL
These are superb examples of artisanal Australian teas that are truly worth seeking out and I know you won’t be disappointed.
I am hoping to be able to share Arakai Estate
teas at The Steepery Tea Co. very soon. However, if you would like to order or enquire about them please get in touch with the Estate directly, firstname.lastname@example.org.