The other week a friend of mine was making a trip to Sassafras and offered to get me some tea from Tea Leaves... I was going to be good and say 'No' but then I didn't, because I am a naughty, naughty tea fiend at heart, and asked her to get me some Daintree tea and some Nilgiri, neither of which I have tried before. Actually, that's not quite true - I have had Daintree tea before, in a blend - Hari Har Chai - but not on its own.
Image from Tea Leaves site.
I've been drinking quite a lot of the Daintree over the last week and getting to know it a bit better. According to the Tea Leaves site, this is:
A superb black tea, grown near the Daintree rainforest of northern Queensland. The rich, fertile, lowland soil produces a well-rounded, medium strength tea.I don't know if I would describe this as superb,; it's not ever going to make my list of top teas, but it's enjoyable enough. The dry leaves (as you can see in the photo above) are very small CTC with quite a bit of (what I think are) thin pieces of stem. They have a faint smell of strawberries.
I've brewed the tea at three minutes (two infusions), four minutes and five minutes (single infusion). The first three-minute infusion was my favourite (the second was a bit of a waste of time). The wet leaves had an aroma of raspberries and possibly gingerbread, and a faint yet distinct smell of star anise or maybe liquorice (the confectionery not the herb). This aniseedy flavour carries over, still faintly, into the brewed tea which is a beautiful clear copper colour.
I was actually expecting this to be quite astringent and need milk once I got past the four-minute infusion mark, but even at five minutes it's quite ok black. It does leave my tongue feeling dry though; not as thirst-quenching as some teas can be. The flavours I mentioned just before kind of disappear though and it just tastes... boring, I think is the only word to describe it. Bit of milk and sugar though and it would be quite an acceptable and comforting cuppa for those days when what you want is a cup of tea just like your mum or dad used to make when you were little.
(Side note: dubiously, the Daintree tea website claims that their tea contains 'no tannic acid'. This is both true and slightly misleading, because as I understand it, NO tea contains tannic acid... just polyphenols [a type of tannin, which is different from tannic acid]. I'm doing a little more research into this, although I'm no chemist, and hope to post about it in the near future)