If you’re curious about your March 2023 box of teas and pastries sorted by Tea J Tea, then stay tuned. We’ll explain in depth the variety of teas you get in your tea box and expand your knowledge about single origin tea from around the world. In your monthly box, you will receive three teas, and two of them are paired with pastries. We have categorized the three teas as follows: Origins, Fruity or Floral, and Explorer. If you want to learn more about your tea experience, check out our My Tea Time blog series. Let's dive right into your March box:
Get to know our Origins Tea!
Our Origins tea line contains a variety of teas. Each sourced from different world origins has its own charm, smell, and taste, surprising and welcoming you with your tea goodness! When brewed by Tea J Tea’s brewing instructions (How to brew tea blog), you can make a spectacular cup of tea. In this section, you'll learn more about this Origins tea and discover why it has become popular worldwide.
Tea Name: “Zomba Pearls” are also called "cricket tea."
Category: Zomba Pearls are a type of white tea due to their liquor color and flavor notes.
Cultivar: Zomba pearls are manufactured at the Satemwa Tea Estate. This tea is a special Satemwa cultivar named "Zomba," hence the name.
Altitude: This tea is harvested at the height of 1,000m (3,280ft), allowing them to absorb more minerals and nutrients from the mountainous soil and air.
Processing: Zomba Pearls are a unique, hand-rolled product that has gone through a meticulous process to be crafted. Each pearl is made with a complete set of harvested leaves that are sun-dried and carefully rolled for the perfect finished product. This careful technique ensures that each pearl is made with the utmost attention to detail and quality.
Picking Technique: Because it is sun-dried, the tea farmers can only prepare Zomba Pearls in a limited period of time. It must be processed on clear, sunny days, and Satemwa's skilled tea workers devote a lot of time and effort to hand-picking it.
Harvesting: Its harvesting method is a bud and up to two leaves.
Drying: Then, the final step takes place, essentially drying the tea to lock in the flavor, character, and stability.
Tea Aroma and Taste
Appearance: Due to the process of being hand-rolled, the Zomba pearls take an ovular shape, and it's comparable to the shape of an American football.
Smell: Zomba Pearl falls into the white tea category because It gives off a delicate and soothing aroma. There’s a hint of honey-like sweetness, tangy sour fruitiness, and some hint of flowers. This medium-bodied tea is unforgettable.
Taste: Each infusion yields varied flavors, which develop and unfold as the leaves are infused. It has a vibrant, buttery flavor with other notes that are reminiscent of zucchini and lemon zest. Taste-wise, it's smooth and sweet. Despite the leaves being unfurled, it has a robust flavor even for the first steep.
About the farm and Farmers!
Where is the farm located in the world?
Your Origins tea is manufactured on a Malawi farm, Africa's second largest tea producer after Kenya. It is sourced specifically from Thyolo Town in the Shire Highlands of Thyolo District in Malawi Africa.
Meet the Farmers
Alexander Kay, the grandson of the founder of Satemwa Tea and Coffee Estate in Malawi, has been running the business for over 15 years. We’re inspired by the passion he has for tea growing and admire the commitment he has to producing high-quality tea consistently.
Tea is a big part of Alexander's life since he grew up on the Satemwa tea estate. He recalls playing hide and seek in the tea fields and scurrying around in the factories. Once he was old enough to understand and deep dive into the world of tea, he became intrigued by how a single plant could produce so many complex flavors depending on the influences from the field and factory. This led him to go down the path of becoming a tea farmer, as his forefathers had done. He admitted that he was more interested in coffee at the beginning but later on his passion for tea grew exponentially.
How long has their farm existed?
Alexander Kay’s grandfather has owned the farm since 1923. Initially, the farm was a tobacco estate, and the family only started to cultivate tea plants in 1926. Afterward, he invested in three other properties to grow tea. By 1938, the family built a factory to produce the finished tea products. In 1941, they were only able to produce about 2,500 tons a year. Now though, the farm has grown, and they produce a variety of orthodox teas along with some herbal teas.
What is unique about their tea in their words?
What’s special about Alexander’s Tea farm is that it’s Africa's oldest commercial tea-growing terroir. The environment in the Thyolo region, where rain and moisture are abundant in June, July, and August, caused by the wet, cool air currents from the Mozambique Channel, gives the tea an interesting flavor.
Moreover, the heat in this region is not overbearing in the September through November months so the tea plants develop a unique flavor.
To complement our Origins teas, here are some pastries we’ve compiled that go best with it.
Stroopwafels: Stroopwafels with honey is an excellent combination for pairing with Zomba pearls. This crispy yet chewy toasted waffle cookie perfectly complements the medium bodied, slightly vegetal, and fruity tea flavor. The sweet and smooth texture of the tea makes it a favorite among the white tea flavors. Paired with the Netherlands' favorite snacks, it’s a match made in heaven.
Whipped Green Tea Cream Sandwiched with Wafer: There is something special about these cookies from Japan. This light and flaky pastry was inspired by French cuisine but has a distinctive Japanese matcha flavor. When pairing it with our Origin tea, its creamy texture provides a unique flavor combination.
Palate Cleanser (for taste testing): To clean the taste of your mouth, saltine crackers are provided in our tea box. These saltine crackers can help eliminate the tastes in your mouth, including spicy, bitter, or sweet.
Fruity or Floral
Get to know Fruity or Florals
Tea Name: Silver Needle Jasmine White Tea. You can enjoy this tea either hot or cold-brewed.
Processing: In this elegant, floral tea, the Silver Needle tea leaves are scented with the brilliant jasmine flavor which creates a delicate and aromatic tea.
Year: Spring 2021, the first flush of silver needle tea.
Tea Aroma and Taste
Appearance: Featuring white tea buds that have plenty of silver downy. These leaves are slightly smaller than Da Bai cultivar.
Smell: The jasmine scent brings an elegant fragrance to silver needle tea leaves. Its floral flavor can be detected a mile away.
Tasting Notes: The fresh and medium-bodied floral flavor of the tea is unforgettable. Its aroma is what you’d expect jasmine scented teas to taste but as a white tea, there’s a delicate note that is quite different from the jasmine scented green tea.
How are flavors Infused in Silver Needle Jasmine White Tea?
There are a couple of ways of infusing the tea leaves with a floral flavor. The first is infusing the tea with the petals from the flowers by placing the flower in an enclosed environment with the finished tea leaves for an extended amount of time. This allows the leaves to soak up the scent of the flowers. This process is then repeated multiple times to produce the naturally scented teas. The second and lower quality way to scent the tea is by using flower extracts to soak the finished tea leaves in. This method is lower quality because the tea leaves would lose the floral flavor very quickly when brewed using the Gong Fu method compared to the more laborious way of scenting using the natural flowers.
Cashew Crisp Cookies: This cashew-based treat melts in your mouth, is butter but not too sweet, and has a nice crunch. It is a delicious biscuit that’s a good choice to enjoy with our Fruity or Floral tea.
Mung Bean Cake: Soft Osmanthus-flavored mung bean cake is the next pairing with our silver needle. This mung been snack is famous and many Asian countries have a variation of this type of cake. The interesting thing about this snack is that it’s not really a cake, but is called cake because of the mold used to form the snack. Producers of this snack use the same mold as a moon cake mold.
The cake’s texture is very soft, almost creamy, and sweet. There’s a rich buttery flavor that comes out of the fully grounded mung bean paste. Along with the Osmanthus flavoring, this pastry is beyond delicious.
What is Explorer tea?
Tea Name: Our Explorer tea line contains Lychee black tea for this month. This tea flavor has a tropical taste to it.
Harvesting: Black tea harvesting is done in the later season around summer or autumn. This is done to bring out the robust flavor and character of the tea. For the harvest, a bud and two leaves are usually used.
Processing: Its process starts with the withering step, basically reducing the water in the leaf to make it malleable. After that, the tea is rolled to break the tea leaf's cell walls without damaging the leaf. This helps to accelerate the oxidation process. Leaf breakage leads to more tannins and brings out the character of the tea. Drying is the final step to lock in the tea's flavor.
Tea Aroma and Taste
Appearance: There is nothing quite like it; it has very dark mid-sized tea leaves.
Smell: With its smell, it reminds you of exotic lychee fruit. It can also be described as a rose-scented grape juice.
Tasting Notes: Lychee black tea tastes refreshing with a touch of sweetness. A honey-like flavor is present in the taste. An enjoyable fruity aroma lingers on the palate. Its scent is reminiscent of exotic lychee fruit and produces a full-bodied, sweet, and slightly fruity cup of black tea. A distinct uplifting taste is achieved by blending the lychee fruit's aromatic flavor with the pleasing Chinese black tea taste.