Georgian Black

3 reviews
£ 4.95
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Place of Origin
Ozurgeti, Georgia

Month and Year of Picking
May 2016

Tasting Notes
An aromatic cup with distinct berry notes

Sourcing Notes
Grown just inland from the Black Sea beach resort of Urek, just outside of Batumi, this delightful tea is heir to a tumultuous history of tea cultivation in Georgia. Tea first came to the region in the early 19th Century, in the form of seeds smuggled out of China by the crown prince Miha Eristavi. Eristavi had fallen in love with the delicate blends he had sampled on his travels, and had also noted the similarity of Western Georgia’s climate to the sub-tropical tea growing regions of China.

Georgian tea was slow to reach global acclaim, but by the end of the century, it was renowned for its aromatic and health benefiting properties. During the Soviet era,the tea fields of Batumi reached their height of prominence and popularity. The area was both the main supplier of black tea and an important holiday resort for the bloc, and it soon came to be romanticised as a picturesque idyll.

Georgian Black is something of a revitalisation of that tradition, for in the 1990s, the disintegration of the Soviet Union threw the whole region, along with its local industry, into chaos. Davit Teneishvili, the man responsible for this delicious tea, was part of a much needed revival in the local tea tradition. His farm has been up and running for less than 20 years, but the tea plants themselves, a mixture of kholkida, kimini, and Baxtade’s cultivars, are up to 80 years old. He spent four years rehabilitating the plants and cleaning the soil, the end result being this aromatic and full bodied tea.

A consistently high quality tea, it is picked by hand, and from beginning to end of the process never touches metal. Instead Davit uses wooden machines, homemade, and following an ancient Indian method that Davit is constantly researching. Cool Black Sea breezes, and perfectly acidic soil are partly responsible for this tea’s rich flavour, but much of the credit goes to Davit’s enthusiasm for the process, and his experimentation with old technologies in modern times.