After my tasting sessions I spent my time sampling tea and connecting with friends on the expo floor. I picked up some fantastic Alishan from Floating Leaves and miscellaneous other goodies from some of my favorite stores (like Phoenix Tea, Smacha, and Young Mountain). My tea cupboard is now ready for Autumn!
At one point my old boss Brian Keating wanted to introduce me to a Colombian tea producer called Bitaco. I had never tried Colombian tea so I was excited to give it a shot. After chatting with Brian and the Bitaco representatives, I had faith that Bitaco cares about the people in their community and the lush mountain environment at which their tea is grown. Also, their tea looked and smelled super fresh and the price was great.
I picked up these 3 Colombian black teas:
Black Wiry 1
During the past week I enjoyed mugs of each tea, but today I decided to cup all three side by side to see how they really compared. I used 3 grams of leaf in three identical 6 ounce glass mugs. Each tea was steeped 3 minutes with boiling water.
Wiry 2 (top left)
Tippy 2 (top right)
Wiry 1 (bottom middle)
The teas cupped up nicely. Here are my tasting notes:
✵Wiry 2 had the lightest body, but not by much. It was brisk, sweet and clean tasting. Compared to the others it was mellow, but the delicate notes of fruit, honey, and wood made it the most complex. It's a black tea that drinks more like a dark oolong.
✵Wiry 1 was the most peppery. It reminded me of a mid-grade Yunnan hongcha. It is a great cup of tea but it slightly lacked complexity when sipped alongside the other two.
✵Tippy 2 was very nice. It had the most body and mouthfeel. It was malty with a sweet stone-fruit aftertaste. If you like high quality Assam tea this would be one to try.