Today’s tea is Singampatti Oothu Estate, and it is an India black tea from Arbor Teas. All of Arbor teas are organic. This particular one is fair trade as well.
I’m finished with the China black teas in my cupboard, and now we are backtracking a bit to India because I received several teas recently from Arbor Teas: a sampler pack of four different India teas and a Masala Chai, which I can’t wait to try.
So how did tea get from China to India? Tea cultivation made its way from China to India via the English, who were not exactly scrupulous about it. Their goal was to control the tea trade, and between Opium Wars, espionage, to outright theft they began cultivating tea in India. They insisted on growing the same plants that grew in China, which didn’t work in the lower, warmer climates of India. They finally cultivated their own bushes in Assam and had a flourishing tea industry by the late 1800s. In 50 years they had managed to monopolize the tea trade. Thanks to The Story of Tea for the history lesson. (Heiss, 25-29)
The main difference between China black teas and India black teas (particularly Assam) is that they are more robust, stronger and darker, which will appeal to coffee drinkers as well as those who prefer a strong cup of tea (like me).
The leaves of the Singampatti Oothu Estate are a dark, reddish brown and smell sweet and spicy in the package. It brews a beautiful red-brown cup and tastes smooth and a little sweet. Incidentally, Oothu means “spring of water,” and this estate is located near a rain forest. This tea is not as dark as an Assam, but has a full flavor–just not as strong. Would I add it to my rotation? I don’t think so. I prefer a more robust tea, but this is a good one.
You can get it here: http://www.arborteas.com/organic-singampatti-oothu-estate-black-tea.html