987 Tasting Notes
This is the second year of first flush darjeelings I’ll have tried. The dry leaf is quite dark overall — there are some silvery buds and green leaves, but not the high proportion some first flushes have. The scent is clearly fruity, though, with a strong muscatel note. It’s like summer in a cup!
I gave this 2.5 minutes in boiling water, which is slightly less than recommended. The resulting liquor is a peachy gold, with the same muscatel note found in the dry leaf. To taste, I can detect notes of stone fruit (peach, apricot) in the initial sip, followed by a floral flavour that’s almost perfumey. It’s rounded out with the development of the characteristic muscatel flavour, and is very slightly astringent.
On the whole, it’s subtle and juicy, and makes for a refreshing drink on a warm spring evening. Darjeelings are definitely something I’ll continue experimenting with — my enjoyment of them hasn’t waned yet!
Sipdown! My last two cups of this were really sweet. I think all of the toffee pieces had fallen to the bottom! I didn’t add any sugar, and I didn’t need it. That just goes to prove that, with more toffee, this can be a palatable cup. Or maybe I’m just getting used to it! Either way, it won’t be one I’ll look to restock.
Another from the Mighty Leaf sampler box. As Earl Grey’s go, this is a sound contender. The base is nice and hearty, and the bergamot is just right. It adds a nice citrus tang, like orange rind, and a slightly floral, slightly bitter edge without being too overpowering. It’s also robust enough to withstand milk, which is another plus in my book. It’s not outstanding, but sometimes that’s not necessary. It’s pleasant, easy drinking. Perfect for a quiet afternoon or relaxing early evening.
This isn’t a bad breakfast blend. It’s strong, and takes milk well, it’s beautifully malty, and it has a deep, rich flavour. I wish Mighty Leaf were a bit more explicit about the varieties of tea that are in here. I’d guess Assam and Darjeeling, and maybe Ceylon. Nothing really special, but a good wake-up cup!
This is exactly the kind of metallic, astringent darjeeling I don’t like. It has a fairly nice muscatel flavour to begin with, but it quickly develops into an iron-like tang. It leaves my mouth dry, too. I generally prefer first flush darjeeling, which might be why I’m not getting along too well with this one. I’m just conscious that I’ve definitely had better, and that spoils it for me. Not a winner, I’m afraid.
Second to last cup, and I think I’ve finally just about perfected my brewing of this one. Generous 1.5 tsp of leaf, long brew time (minimum 5 minutes), piece of crystal sugar, splash of milk. I’ve had a couple of cups that were really too subtle, and almost flavourless, when experimenting with the parameters, but this one was gorgeous! Fairly mild, medicinal root beer flavour, topped with a fluffy, almost thick tasting, vanilla creaminess. I completely forgot I was drinking honeybush, and that’s a rare praise indeed from me. Now I know what I’m doing with this one, I’ll definitely look to restock. It might just be becoming my favourite root beer tea!
Second pouch, this time with noticably more toffee pieces. Sadly, I still don’t like it. The apple is somehow floral, there’s a bitter aftertaste, and the whole thing tastes somehow musty. Also, I can’t taste any caramel. Disappointing, because this one sounded like my kind of thing. Sad face.
Second pumpkin tea of the evening. I wanted to try this one back to back with Pumpkin Milkshake (1.0, if I may call it that), because I knew that’s the only way I’d remember either one clearly enough to be able to compare.
This one, with its Doke Rolling Thunder oolong base, is slightly different from 1.0. It’s less spicy, although there is a tiny hint poking through from the background. It’s also less creamy. What creaminess there is here is an undertone rather than an overtone. The upside of both these things is that the pumpkin flavour is clearer and better defined — it’s the centre of the tea, it’s subject, rather than an afterthought. The downside is that the base pokes out more, and is slightly bitter.
Taken as a whole, it just doesn’t seem to work as well, or as coherently, as the 1.0 with its darjeeling base did. I like this version for different reasons than the original, but on balance I think I prefer the darjeeling version. It’s smoother, creamier, and seems to fit together better. I do like the extra pumpkin flvour here, though, so it’s a very hard call to make. I’ll enjoy drinking more of both — they can hardly be considered the same, really. I think I’ll try this one with sugar next, though.