Hawaiian Black Cliff ~ Eli Tea

The last time I stopped in to Eli Tea I had the pleasure of meeting and discussing tea with the owner, Elias Majid. He’s extremely knowledgable, having come to tea with a plant chemistry background. I honestly wish I could have audio-recorded our conversation because he seriously puts me to shame in terms of know-how (and personality xD). During my previous visit, I’d noticed but been unfamiliar with his highest priced teas from Hawaii. At the time, I’d hesitated to buy them until I’d had a chance to discuss it with him (and maybe have a chance of putting together a decent blog about it). Having done so I can now happily review one: Hawaiian Black Cliff.

Like all tea groves in Hawaii (of which there are about 40 representing ~80 acres, its viability having only been rediscovered in 2000), the estate/grove? where Hawaiian Black Cliff hails from is new to producing tea, yet their soil is unmistakably perfect for its cultivation. When you can taste and smell the raw purity of a tea (as you can in this case), it means not only that care has been taken throughout the entire process, but also that it was raised under ideal conditions. Hawaiian Black Cliff retails for $40.00/oz (the minimum necessary for purchase), and compared to similarly rare teas I’ve purchased in the past, I’m thinking that price is being generous.

In scent, Hawaiian Black Cliff smells quite a bit like a Keemun or Golden Yunnan, but with a hint of smokiness. Simply inhaling Hawaiian Black Cliff alone is really quite lovely and enticing. However, its scent isn’t really what makes Hawaiian Black Cliff so special–its taste and texture are out of this world. The Keemun-like scent gives one the impression this will be a harsh-tasting full-bodied tea. It’s exactly the opposite. Hawaiian Black Tea is actually quite a bit thinner, like a White or a Green and it leaves the most amazing artesian spring charcoal-like? grit aftertaste. In flavor, Hawaiian Black Cliff is sort of an onomatopoeia: an exotic, sweet tropical flavor not unlike a pina colada or dark chocolate. If it wasn’t uber-uber-rare and expensive I  have a feeling someone would try to add coconut or chocolate nibs to the processing. Thankfully, that’s totally unnecessary here. Hawaiian Black Cliff is one of the rarest teas I’ve ever tasted, and easily one of the best tasting.

  1. Aroma – 89
  2. Taste – 97
  3. Texture – 97
  4. Spunk – 95
  5. Price – 83
  6. Availability – 96
  7. Appearance – 87

Mean score – 92%

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