Amba Tea

Fully oxidized tea leaves for a robust cup.


Sep 24th, '16, 16:49
Posts: 5
Joined: Aug 26th, '14, 08:09

Amba Tea

by Viator » Sep 24th, '16, 16:49

subj: Black Tea

I do no not post here.
I am not affiliated in no way.


It is about a tea. Not special.. specific one...

Two year ago I described Amba tea as a re-definition of Sri Lankas
teas. The tea I received in the very last batch is truly a revelation.
The last and the second last batches were..well just a ... whiter
shade of a paler reminder of OP1, they were drinkable pleasant
beverage..

But this beast of OP1 of the last batch ... mighty, magnificient
liquor, in all it's glory and power - is back. Amba OP1 , the gem
among the teas..coming back

Simon, I am not a poet..not an expert... but I can recognize a masterpiece.

Okay, facts here: I recently bought six teas (100 grm pack each)
from two of (more or less ) reputable re-sellers of Dardjeeling teas
- Thunxxxxx and Emxxxxx. These two merchants are known at the Tea
Chat ( the biggest Web tea Community ) as a reliable vendors.

The truth is Simon, Amba's teas far superior better.

Dardjeeling teas I purchased - one of then was very good indeed -
xxxxxx estate 2nd Flush , another one made enjoyable drink -
xxxxxx.... and other four just went down the toilet ...


I am telling all this because all these famous dardjeeling teas are
sold 180 -220 US dollars range.

But Amba tea (last batch) far, far superior.... Amba tea sure should
cost more...
You know probably the cost Leo Kwan selling Amba Tea at tea hong web site...

User avatar
Sep 25th, '16, 15:16
Posts: 286
Joined: Jan 21st, '15, 23:27
Location: Chicago

Re: Amba Tea

by pedant » Sep 25th, '16, 15:16

are you buying direct from Amba or what?

also, did you type all those 'xxxx', or were you mod censored?

https://teahong.com/home/7012-organic-b ... k-uva.html
i guess this one is from Amba

User avatar
Oct 16th, '16, 17:59
Posts: 21654
Joined: Apr 22nd, '06, 20:52
Scrolling: scrolling
Location: Back in the TeaCave atop Mt. Fuji

Re: Amba Tea

by Chip » Oct 16th, '16, 17:59

pedant wrote:are you buying direct from Amba or what?

also, did you type all those 'xxxx', or were you mod censored?

https://teahong.com/home/7012-organic-b ... k-uva.html
i guess this one is from Amba
No, I did not edit! 8)

Apr 30th, '17, 15:49
Posts: 5
Joined: Aug 26th, '14, 08:09

Re: Amba Tea

by Viator » Apr 30th, '17, 15:49

Chip wrote:
pedant wrote:are you buying direct from Amba or what?

also, did you type all those 'xxxx', or were you mod censored?

https://teahong.com/home/7012-organic-b ... k-uva.html
i guess this one is from Amba
No, I did not edit! 8)
- those "xxx" " : I did not want to badmouth anyone. I badly wanted to because I had to discard four dardjeelings teas x 100 grms each of second flush ranged approx. 230 usd/kg which I bought from one of them. It was the excellent Castleton estate tea bought from same vendor why I kept mouth shut. A good one indeed. Not extraordinary though.

--organic-black-tea-gongfu-black-uva.htm - Yes, this one Leo Kwan was selling on teahong at high price is from Amba. Actually I discovered Amba tea on TeaHong, Red teas are not really Leo's specialties. He is famous mostly for his excellent Feng Huang oolongs. Sometimes, not a rare occasion- a true gems appears also in his red tea collection, like Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong (unsmoked). But mostly they are okay. So, when I encountered Amba tea I was totally stunned by it's complexity. That was like wow...sinuses cleared immediately, unknown tea compounds bonded to brain cells, synapses clicking at double pace. When you know immediately it is difference between very good tea and outstanding one. Nose, on the palate, long lingering aftertaste. Naturally I decided to trace the source to save money. It is not every year I discover teas like this one. A new whole class of it's own.

- And yes, this is third year I am buying directly from Amba. They are small producers. Like 15 kg a month. Their retail prices are ridiculously low. And the tea is truly unique masterpiece, and has nothing in common with humble Sri Lanka's dull "ctc" teas.

User avatar
May 1st, '17, 23:26
Posts: 62
Joined: Jul 19th, '12, 16:10
Location: New Jersey

Re: Amba Tea

by teaformeplease » May 1st, '17, 23:26

Darjeeling and Sri Lanka are different places and produce very different teas. I don't think it's really fair to compare them directly. Amba does make some amazing teas though :)

May 2nd, '17, 07:28
Vendor Member
Posts: 1310
Joined: May 27th, '12, 12:47
Location: Boston, MA

Re: Amba Tea

by ethan » May 2nd, '17, 07:28

teaformeplease wrote: Darjeeling and Sri Lanka are different places and produce very different teas. I don't think it's really fair to compare them directly. Amba does make some amazing teas though :)
Since your feet are both on the ground (yes, I am implying the original poster was a bit manic), how does the tea taste? I never had tea from Sri Lanka that did not seem quite similar to what is in tea bags (what would call for the addition of milk). Cheers

May 2nd, '17, 15:59
Posts: 5
Joined: Aug 26th, '14, 08:09

Re: Amba Tea

by Viator » May 2nd, '17, 15:59

I did not compare anywhere DJ and Amba Estate teas. I know better than to compare Bordeaux and Risling but I am also able to tell the difference between wine and vinegar. What I said exactly: I had to discard to garbage bin four of six packets of no cheap second flush tea bought from Tea Emporium and that Amba which priced at 2.5 cheaper was much, much better.
About tea now: I was not aware Sri Lanka is able to produce anything but boring mechanized CTC teas .e. cut, tear, and curl. And if it wasn’t Leo Kwan’ triple “wow” then I would not buy Sri Lanka’s. So I dared, along with a dozen of other teas from his tea hong. When paket arrives I opened it and I saw hand rolled whole leaves. Surprise. And when I brewed the cap I knew it is 10 from 10. Pungent aroma, not gentle. Taste is rich and powerful without being rude. Delicate. A special lingering aftertaste… I do not know how to describe. We agreed to describe this specific taste of DJ as “muscatel” (but it’s not). Well, Amba estate tea has his own specific aroma. Ridiculous but first that comes in mind is wooden turpentine ( I know it is not best compliment for tea).
Higher in astringency than Chinese tea. Should not be steeped more than 4 max 5 minutes.
Amba estate producing also green “slow withered” tea and it is excellent. Interesting. When fresh there is totally zero astringency but developing bitterness really quickly after max two three months even in refrigerator at +4C. And if left at room temp it is hardy drinkable after three months. Similar to high grade longjins I tasted. None of those longjins survived long enough even in the refrigerator. My guess it has something to do with Amba’s “kill green” technique. Kind of tradeoff between mighty taste and lower astringency. Do not know.
This is what manager of estate Simon wrote when I asked him:
Withering: both our black and our "green" teas are withered for approximately 18-22 hours! As you know well from Leo Kwan's reviews, this makes our tea not a true Green tea, but more of green-oolong hybrid. Beverly experimented endlessly with shorter withers to create a true green, but with our leaf and our hand-rolling techniques, we found that we could not get the leaf soft-enough with a traditional short wither. So she developed our own unique solution!

Even the black wither is longer than a traditional factory wither – largely because we simply lay the fresh leaves in very thin layers on net "tats", whereas the factories use big troughs with fans and slightly warmed air.
.
.
Cultivars: most of the tea bushes that we harvest at Amba Estate are old original Sinensis bushes, some of them as much as 100 years old. These bushes are grown from seedlings, not VP (vegetatively-propogated) clones produced by one of the tea research institutes. These bushes were planted between 50-100 years ago by one of the ancestors of Karuna, our Estate Manager. Over the years, some of the previous owners of the estate have planted newer VP varieties of tea around the estate, but these account for probably less than 20% of our tea area. We are now in the process of gradually replanting and infilling the tea fields at Amba, and we have chosen to plant new tea bushes using the seeds taken from our own original sinensis bushes. The old seed bushes have lower yields than the new varieties, but they are better at surviving our drought season (they have a longer tap root), and we believe that these old bush-varieties are part of the reason why Amba teas have such a strong, distinctive "Uva" character.

May 2nd, '17, 16:55
Vendor Member
Posts: 1310
Joined: May 27th, '12, 12:47
Location: Boston, MA

Re: Amba Tea

by ethan » May 2nd, '17, 16:55

Viator, Thanks for your post. Your description of the flavor of Amba black tea and of the difficulty of giving words to unique flavor are helpful. Looking at the estate and accommodations there, I think it would be relaxing and healthful to spend a couple of days by the forest there. The descriptions of everything (good and bad) by the owner is amusing.
Cheers

User avatar
May 4th, '17, 14:06
Posts: 1144
Joined: Dec 2nd, '07, 17:53
Location: New York

Re: Amba Tea

by joelbct » May 4th, '17, 14:06

Interesting. Have to look into Amba.

Am i the only person who has had stellar New Vithanakande special pluckings?

They won some awards in 2009 http://newvithanakandeteas.com/ourteas.html

Alas like my Meleng/Managalam quest, the New Vithanakandes I've got my hands on the past few years have been respectable (and really cheap) but unimpressive.

Hoping to sample this year's through ITI, and again, order 2lb if it's as good as it used to be.

+ Post Reply