Tag Archives: discovery

April tea hero: Discover Tea and Terroir with LaKyrsiew

12 Apr

Stunning (image courtesy of Lakyrsiew Tea Co)

As you may know already we have been looking at how terroir determines a tea’s unique characteristics. This month’s loose leaf tea hero is one of our newest teas and producers but is already an all time favourite with us and our customers: Awakening.

Awakening is from the beautiful LaKyrsiew Indian boutique tea garden. It is an “addictively caramel-chocolatey sweet black loose leaf tea that oozes opulence.” Full of shiny tea tips, an opulent aroma and a smooth, lingering sweetness, this unique tea takes you on a journey of your senses in every way!

I chose Awakening for April’s tea hero because LaKyrsiew make stunning teas that take you on the most beautiful voyage to begin to understand terroir.

The story of the LaKyrsiew tea garden is fascinating! Two hundred years ago, the forest covered hills of Meghalaya, a province that lies between Darjeeling and Assam, were discovered to be perfect for growing beautiful tea. However, growing tea here was deemed too costly due to the remoteness and the high yields that neighboring Assam could reap, and so the land was left wild.

Two centuries later, the old tea garden plans were discovered, virgin scrubland and woodland was cultivated and LaKyrsiew “The Awakening” tea garden was born.

Organic from the start, working with the contours of the land to protect the ancient fertile topsoil from monsoon rains and watered by a spring high on the jungle slopes, the flavours produced by the tea garden are unrivaled.

Geert and Nayan, the owners of LaKyrsiew, are passionate about the beautiful loose leaf teas they produce. Their focus is quality not quantity; in 2009 only 650kg of tea were made. They carefully pluck the top two leaves and a bud then wither, roll and fire the tea themselves. They even have their own bespoke brass rolling table that improves the flavour of the tea!

Although comparable to teas made in neighboring Darjeeling, the slow growth, favourable weather and strict leaf picking, LaKyrsiew tea has its own unique character – opulent and smooth with a lingering sweetness.

Try both Awakening and their stunning white tea, Silver Tips and you’ll see what I mean!

Tea and Terroir: what gives tea its unique characteristics? Topography?

11 Apr

Wow! Where did the last week go? Sometimes in a small business there just aren’t enough hands on deck, hours in the day or days in the week! Well, this week was one of those so apologies for my delay in posting the next part of the Tea and Terroir blog. A little delayed, but here you go…

So we’ve already learnt that climate plays a huge part in the magic of a tea’s unique characteristics, but what else plays a part?

Topography (the relief of the land) – in a nutshell this takes into account how the altitude and latitude (the degree of the slope of the mountain) of a particular place determine the tea garden’s exposure to wind, rain, frost, sunshine, shade and drainage.

Having recently been to Sri Lanka I have been lucky enough to experience the diverse climate and topography and therefore flavour and characteristics of its tea, first hand. I loved chatting to the wonderful Herman, owner of the tropical Handunugoda tea estate, about Sri Lanka’s unique topography and how it determines how their tea is grown and therefore, how it tastes.

IMG_0173

 

Herman explained that Sri Lankan teas are not classified by season or climate but instead by elevations: low, mid and high-grown tea. Each elevation lends itself to unique flavours and characteristics – mellow and rich low-grown, aromatic citrusy mid-grown and intense high-grown – and even price point!

In the high mountain tea growing areas, the native China tea bush, the Camellia Sinensis, flourishes even on incredibly steep slopes as high as almost 8000 feet. At this height the thin air slows the leaf growth. This growth is focused around an optimum picking period so their yield is half that of the tea bushes grown in the much lower tropical tea gardens.

Sri Lanka tea

In the tropical Southern tea growing parts of the island where Herman’s beautiful estate is, the tea bush flourishes more consistently all year round and produces a more mellow and rich flavour and the teas are easier to harvest.

The lower yields, coupled with the difficulty in harvesting the tea in the highlands lead to a more intense flavour and a much higher price point for the high elevation teas.

Next time, the final focus will be on geology and terroir.

Tea and Terroir: what does it mean?

17 Mar
Tea leaves

Camellia Sinensis (tea plant)

You may or may not already know, that all tea – black tea, oolong tea, green tea, white tea, yellow tea and puerh tea- comes from just one plant, the Camellia Sinensis. The Camellia Sinensis grows all over the world so why, even when considering different production methods, does a tea grown in similar conditions in India and Nepal, which is just a stone’s throw away, taste completely different?

The secret lies in terroir. Terroir is a French term that comes from the word terre, meaning land. We don’t have a direct translation in English but in one word terroir perfectly describes the impact that geology, geography and climate and the variety and age of the plant has on the flavour of food and drink.

The easiest way to describe it is ‘the sense of a place’ where the magic qualities of that specific place and plant come together to produce the finest aromas and flavours. When terroir is applied to tea, wine, chocolate, tomatoes, coffee, spices, olive oil (and much more) you can really begin to explore the desirable nuances of each country.

I hope that helps a little. I’ll look a little more into why and how terroir changes a tea’s character in the next post.

 

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