Name: Kambaa Estate
Brand: English Tea Store
Form: Loose leaf
Review: For those who like a vigorous, flavorful but unrefined cup of tea, Kambaa Estate may be just the thing. This is a machine processed tea from Kenya, so its “leaf” looks more like tiny little chocolate brown pellets than leaves. Even more interesting, these pellets retain their shape after infusion. I don’t drink a lot of CTC (crush, tear, curl) tea, so it is always interesting to note the differences between it and “orthodox” tea which is prepared by hand.
Kambaa estate doesn’t have much of a scent either in its dry or infused state, though I pick up a tiny bit of maltiness and earth, which is quite nice. It infuses to a fairly dark cup with a hint of gold. On the palate, this is a very strong, robust tea: Earthy, slightly malty and with a bitter note on the finish. Not terribly astringent, however. If you aren’t fond of bitterness, I’d advise either choosing another tea, drinking this with food (which eliminates the bitter notes) or adding a bit of milk. In fact, if you like a strong cup of tea with milk and/or sugar, this would be an excellent choice and a definite step above grocery store bagged teas.
Preparation Tips: This is a strong and mighty tea. You don’t need a lot of it and you don’t need a long steep. Try 3 grams of leaf to 8 ounces of water for about 2 minutes. If the tea is too strong, first cut the steep time, then try cutting back on the leaf amount.
Food Pairing: I really like this with breakfast foods, though it also goes well with sweet baked goods as well. If you don’t drink this tea with food, I would advise a splash of milk, unless you enjoy the bitter finish.