TEA REVIEW: Baraka Teas – Indonesian Pearls and Malawi Green

Baraka - Greens

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

IMG_5551
Tea and origin: Rolled green tea from PT Harendong Tea Estate, Indonesia
Harvest: October 2014
Twitter: @BarakaTeas
Facebook: Baraka Teas
Link to Indonesian Green Pearls

Tasting notes

Dry leaf: Dark green rolled leaves that have a crisp, florally, sweet aroma

Wet leaf: Floral

Liquor colour: Light to dark green, depending on infusion number

Liquor aroma: Floral

Liquor flavour: Body of tea consists of floral (orchid-like) flavours with sweet                                                   undertones. It is a medium-bodied tea that has very mild astringency.                                   It has a thick, creamy, coating mouthfeel and lingering floral aftertaste

Infusion method: Gong fu style with a gaiwan or western style with a glass teapot                                               3 to 5 grams of tea                                                                                                                                 150 to 200ml of 85C water                                                                                                                   Use short infusions with gaiwan: 20 to 40 seconds                                                                       Infuse 1 to 2 minutes with teapot                                                                                                       3 to 5 infusions

Comments/Conclusions

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

IMG_5602
Tea and origin: Green tea from the Satemwa Tea Estate
Twitter: @BarakaTeas
Facebook: Baraka Teas
Link to Malawi Green

Tasting notes

Dry leaf: Full, very large, twisted green leaves. Sweet vegetal, earthy aroma. Once                                 leaves hit warmed crockery, a grassy aroma is exposed

Wet leaf: Earthy, smoky

Liquor colour: Bright, vivid green

Liquor aroma: Earthy, smoky

Liquor flavour: Smoky and earthy flavours. Medium-bodied tea with mild astringency.                                   Slightly dry finish and a lingering earthy, hay-like aftertaste

Infusion method: Glass teapot                                                                                                                                              3 to 5 grams of tea                                                                                                                                  200 ml of 85C water                                                                                                                              Infuse 2 to 3 minutes                                                                                                                            2 to 3 infusions

Comments/Conclusions

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

 

Final thoughts

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.

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About teaxplorer

I grew up in the Midwest of the US and was introduced to tea at a very young age - unsweetened iced tea, that is! It was not until my early 20s, when I was seeking a lighter alternative to coffee, that I took tea drinking to a new level. I still remember my mother suggesting that I try putting milk in a cup of black tea (something that actually sounded a bit repulsive at the time, but I gave it a go). I quickly became tired of supermarket tea and started ordering teas from shops and companies all over the US. Throughout my 20s and now into my early 30s, pursuits in higher education studies, work opportunities and marriage have given me opportunities to live in the UK, Canada and Germany and travel around the world, which has sparked an even greater interest in tea and the culture of tea. This blog is my outlet to discuss my love of tea and show off some of my photos. All images and opinions on this blog are my own, unless stated otherwise. I retain copyright on all photographs, but please do not hesitate to contact me at teaxplorer@gmail.com if you wish to reproduce any of my images. Likewise, if you would like me to review and photograph any teas for you, please get in touch. I would be happy to hear from you. Thank you for stopping by my blog, and I hope you return many times! Happy drinking! Drew B (@teaxplorer)
This entry was posted in Baraka Teas, Green tea, Indonesia tea, Malawi and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to TEA REVIEW: Baraka Teas – Indonesian Pearls and Malawi Green

  1. I would have easily mistaken Indonesian one with oolong tea. Very unusual!

  2. Nalinmodha says:

    Very nicely explained about this two tea…Anna is a close friend of mine and she knows tea very well….and connected with tea with heart and soul. ..

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