Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting Anna Petts, co-founder of Baraka Teas. Started in 2014, Baraka Teas is a London-based online tea shop that sources and sells handmade single estate teas grown without pesticides and by sustainable farming methods. Baraka Teas buys their teas directly from farmers. You can read more about Baraka Teas’ philosophy and sourcing here.
I am reviewing two green teas carried by Baraka Teas. Anna told me that their focus is to carry a small line of teas, but to offer customers access to high-quality teas that come from lesser-known tea-growing regions. I think the Indonesian Green Pearls and Malawi Green greatly exemplify this approach.
Indonesian Green Pearls
I was very curious to try this tea because it is a tea called ‘pearls’ that is not jasmine scented! Moreover, I really had no idea what to expect from an Indonesian green tea, as I can only recall trying black teas from this country.
This tea really surprised me, as the dry leaf and liquor appear almost identical to a Taiwanese green oolong. I don’t know if I could tell the two apart if given them blindly. That said, this is a delicious tea: it’s smooth, got a nice amount of body and has floral and sweet flavours that give it a wonderful complexity.
Retail price: 50 gram pouch for £12
Malawi Green Tea
I was also very interested to try this Malawi Green because I’ve tried a number of very interesting teas from the Satemwa Estate over the past year. This tea did not disappoint. Like with the Indonesian Pearls, I was very surprised with the dry leaf and liquor. Considering it is steamed Japanese style, I thought it might cup out a very light, grassy-tasting tea, but this tea has a good amount of body, and its flavours remind me more of Chinese teas like Long Jing, Tai Ping Hou Kui and Ding Gu Da Fang. As with the Indonesian Pearls, I might have a very difficult time distinguishing this from many of the above mentioned Chinese teas in a blind test, which is definitely not a bad thing
Retail price: 50 gram pouch for £10
Both of these teas are of excellent quality and have lovely dry leaf and flavour complexity. If you have to choose just one, it might be a matter of what style of green tea you fancy. Whilst I cannot criticise the Malawi Green because it has classic flavours that I associate with prized Chinese green teas, I am drawn to oolongs and enjoyed the Indonesian Pearls more. But, really, I can’t fault either tea – it is just a matter of taste.