Exploring the Black Teas of Colombia with Bitcao
When we think of tea we most often think of places like China or Japan but did you know that tea is grown in Colombia? Bitaco’s fields are located at high elevation in the Andes Mountains. Colombia is one of the most biodiverse countries on earth and they are nestled alongside a protected rainforest. I love their commitment to sustainable and organic farming practices as well as their work with the Agricola Himalaya Foundation, which works to educate children in the area.
I had the opportunity to taste a large portion of their catalog for review. Since there are so many teas I’m going to split the black teas and green teas into two different posts. It can be a bit hard to follow, even for me, since many of them are of a similar type and grade. It does help that the naming scheme is borrowed a bit from the way Indian teas like Darjeeling are named. All of the teas were brewed at 190 degrees fahrenheit for 3 minutes.
The leaves were fairly small with scattered golden tips. It had a slightly fruity taste with notes of raisins and a lot of natural sweetness. There was some astringency but only enough to add a briskness to the finish.
It was slightly less refined looking than the Tippy 1 with a lighter liquor. There was less astringency so the sweetness stands out even more. I almost prefer this one for that reason.
The leaves were spindly with a darker liquor than tippy 2. There was more of a plum-like aroma than raisin. Overall the taste was more subtle with a slightly thinner mouthfeel.
The dry leaf was very similar to wiry 1 but perhaps a bit stemmier. This tea was even more mellow with a lighter liquor than the tippy varieties. It had a sweet woody note that I found very pleasant.
The leaf was definitely more broken than the tippy or wiry options. This was the first one to have sediment in the cup. The taste was smooth with a fruitier lean.
This tea was the mellowest but also the least refined. Tannins much more present but there was still has a lot of sweetness.
Thank you to Bitaco for giving me an opportunity to try your teas! These are definitely a must try for any tea drinker who is a fan of Keemun or other self drinking black teas. I don’t write about flavored teas on this blog anymore but their Cacao Kisses is definitely one to check out if you enjoy chocolate teas. Bitaco is a fixture at World Tea Expo so thankfully we now have several places where their teas can be purchased in the United States. Upton Tea Imports, Harney & Sons, and Simpson & Vail all carry a variety of their teas.