Azerchay is a black tea from the tea gardens of Lenkoran and Astara region in Azerbaijan. If you are unfamiliar with Azerbaijan as I was, it is a country next to the Caspian Sea, near Georgia and Armenia, and sandwiched inbetween Russian and Iran.
How did I acquire this tea? My in-laws recently came back from a river cruise through Russia and brought back some souvenirs. Apparently, I’m easy to shop for – just find some tea or a teapot!
First off, interesting packaging. Inside the box is a glued in bag of tea, making it annoying to reseal.
However, the dry leaf is very impressive! Nice big twirls of leaf with a soft sweet scent.
Azerchay Black Tea calls for a steep in boiling water for 7 to 8 minutes. WHAT?!
That is a really long steeping! My personal favorite western black tea steeping method is 200F for 3 minutes. I hope this tea doesn’t end up pitch black, tasting bitter and thick.
I decided to steep Azerchay Black Tea in a heated mug. While I steeped Azerchay for 7 minutes, lets check out my tea pot from Russia. Very funky shaped. It is glazed on the inside, holding about 150ml.
After 7 minutes, check this out:
Whoa, look at that colour! Azerchay came out a lovely reddish brown brew with a strong fragrance of sweet, reminding me of a ceylon black.
Tasting of Azerchay Black Tea
The moment of truth! Azerchay black tea sips in with a medium body, to my surprise with lightly sweet raisins and honey flavor, a bit of mineral copper notes along with a bit of a malty backdrop. The lightness of the black tea is quite nice and the sweet golden raisin taste is delicious.
However, end of sip there is a distinct dryness – 7/10 on the Astringe-o-meter. Azerchay is quite dry, leaving the throat parched after each sip. This dryness lingers for awhile, in my case, over 15 minutes after I finished my cup.
I had no idea tea grew in Azerbaijan! It is always neat to try teas from uncommon tea regions to compare it to the other teas. I’ve been adding samples of this tea to all the travelling tea boxes I’ve been participating in!
I’m unsure where you tea peeps would be able to find Azerchay (barring a trip to Russia). I looked on Amazon and Ebay with no results. My next suggestion to find this tea would be to check international grocery stores. If you can find it and want a flavorful, dry black tea – be sure to check it out! Personally, Azerchay is too dry for me to enjoy often, but I am happy to of tried it for the experience!
EDIT: What-Cha has Azerchay! No trip to Russia needed!