545 Tasting Notes
1.5 tsp for 300mL water @85C, steeped 3 minutes.
Dry leaf is pretty. I’m not sure what the blackberry leaf is doing there – maybe it’s meant to look like a full tea leaf. The white tea itself scant and twiggy. Liquor is a cloudy light bronze. Decent nectarine/apricot flavouring, with none of the sharp nastiness we now find in DavidsTea Long Life Peach Oolong, but the flavouring does dominate. I cannot detect any white tea notes at all.
I used a cooler water tempt than the 90C recommended.
1.25 tsp for 300mL water @98C, steeped four minutes.
I love a second flush Darjeeling.
This gorgeous offering gives tiny and tight dry leaves with an earthy, slightly peppery scent. Wet leaves are small and cut, mostly tan with some green, with a sharp scent: astringency. Liquor is coppery with some down and a deep, very satisfying aroma of muscatel and other Darjeeling notes. There’s also a quality to the scent here that I can only call “Indian tea.” Some Assams have it, too. This is fairly assertive for a Darjeeling, almost muscular — not your classic delicate Darjeeling to serve with fine cakes and little sandwiches, the sort Buzz Lightyear mocks. A restorative cup of tea. One of my favourite Darjeelings yet
1.5 tsp for 300mL @95C, steeped 4 minutes 15 seconds.
This is Tea Campaign’s “budget” Darjeeling, and it’s a steal. Dry leaf smells of muscatel. Some twigs. Wet leaf is green and bronze and smells strongly of Darjeeling. Liquor tends to a darker bronze with some down. Bright and astringent, lots of first flush notes and a assertive muscatel finish. Light body. Smooth mouth-feel. A sweetness that reminds me of a true Dragonwell.
This is a blend, but it comes form the one garden: Pussimbing.
1.25 tsp for 300mL water @ 90C, steeped four minutes.
Tea Campaign Canada is the Canadian branch of Teekampagne in Germany. Teekampange sells only Darjeelings. They’e also invested in improving life for tea workers for decades now. The teas are organic and tested for “486 possible chemical residues.” Tea Campaign Canada works by mail-order, and the pricing for Darjeeling tea is very reasonable.
So, the First Flush 2014 Blend. Dry leaf shows some green and brown and a few twigs and gives some scent of Muscatel. Wet leaves are almost all green and bright. Liquor is light bronze. The flavour is closer to good Chinese green tea, true Dragonwell, that sort of sweetness, with an undercurrent of classic Darjeeling astringence and muscatel. I think this blend benefits from a lower water temp. I expect water at 100C, or even 98, might singe the leaves.
This is a gorgeous tea. I love Darjeelings. I usually prefer second flush, but this first flush is teaching me things. It also has a slight peppery bite, as you find in some Yunnans.
All of the Darjeeling sold by Tea Campaign is certified as Darjeeling by The Tea Board of India.
Flavors: Astringent, Black Pepper, Dry Grass, Green, Muscatel
1.5 tsp for 300mL @100C, steeped four minutes, drunk bare.
A blend of Assam and Ceylon teas. Dry leaf smells of raisins and honey— that’s the Assam, I expect. Dry leaves are long, tight, and dark brown, with some amber leaves. Wet leaf smells of brilliant sunshine — even of laundry dried on the clothesline — and, faintly, of copper: that’s the Dimbulla Ceylon. Wet leaf is uniformly coppery-brown. Liquor is dark copper with a little foam on top, that puckering froth some Ceylons deliver. As the tea steeps, the aroma develops notes of dark honey and bread.
At four minutes, this tea is malty and strong and just tending towards bitterness; I wouldn’t steep it much longer. Plenty of malty pucker. Its not a subtle tea, but then it doesn’t claim to be. A very good blend, living up to its packet copy, and priced low. In fact, I’d call this one a steal.
‘Irish Breakfast’ is, like ‘English Breakfast,’ an almost meaningless label. There is no one recipe for either ‘Breakfast’ blend, though those labelled ‘Irish’ usually have some Assam in them, and often some Kenyan. Those labelled ‘English’ often had some Keemun in them, but that’s getting rare. It’s always worth trying different brands of Irish and English Breakfast.
1.25 tsp for 250mL water @85C, steeped two minutes.
I thought Dragonwell was a light, slightly sweet green tea. All other Dragonwells I’ve tried are light, and a bit sweet, perhaps a bit vegetal. Heavy and thick mouthfeel.
This one, I am afraid, joins several other greens and oolongs from DavidsTea which are distinctly fishy. Scallop soup. Brine brine brine. Scallops are great — I just don’t care for them in tea.
Flavors: Fish Broth, Fishy, Garden Peas, Iodine, Seaweed, Thick
1 bag for 300mL water @100C, steeped 3 minutes.
I found a box of these in the English imports section of my supermarket. The PG Tips normally sold here in Canada is a flat and dull Ceylon blend. This blend, while not quite what I remember from my last UK box — damn it, I was SURE there was Keemun in this once — is decent. Lots of heft from Assams and Kenyans, with an astringency I don’t normally seek out in tea but don’t really mind — the Kenyan tea, I think, that dry pucker. I’m sick as a poisoned dog here this morning, and a cup of tea like this is absolutely medicinal.
1.5 tsp for 300mL water @85C, rinsed, then steeped three minutes and drunk bare. Second infusion: steeped four minutes.
A very serviceable tie kwan yin. I’ve had far better from Verdant Tea, but this one from DavidsTea is lovely. Floral, sometimes a bit sharp. The second infusion can get very green-tasting, a bit too vegetal for me. (The better ones from Verdant are good for many infusions.) It’s also an example of what’s becoming a rarity at DavidsTea: a decent straight tea.