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Recent Tasting Notes
Finishing this one off today. I’ve been on a mission for the past year(!) to empty my cupboard of accumulated tea. I’m getting close…except I keep getting “donations” of other’s unwanted tea.
Anyway, finishing this one today…one last steeps worth sitting in a babyfood jar. Wow, is it different than the English Breakfast I finished yesterday! Strong, earthy flavor. Not bitter though. Makes me think of Autumn…appropriate since we had our first hard freeze last night.
When they call Darjeeling the “Champagne of Tea”, I think they are drinking this tea. A light mouth feel with the full flavor tea. Mild astringency provides a bit of a kick. A clean light brown, with yellow overtones when brewed. 2-3g, 2 minutes, boiling water on the first steep. 3+ minutes, 190deg water on 2nd steep. 2nd steep was significantly thinner.
I am not sure what they are referring to with “full leaf”, unless its the bits of twig in the mix; otherwise, it looks like it was run through a “Weed Wacker”. Nonetheless, I was warned by a collegue that this brewed up “bitter”. Guessing that he over brewed, I used 1 tsp, 200 deg water and 2 minutes to good success. The tea is a pale sepia brown with yellow undertones. Even short brewed, it has a mouth cleaning astringency that lends credence to it being easy to oversteep. Otherwise, its a pretty standard Darjeeling… green vegetable taste, not grassy; very dry and tannic…the chardonnay of tea.
3rd cup (2nd Re-steep). Boiling water and 4 minutes again. Its definetly a pale shadow of the first steep, but quite drinkable. I’d say the two resteeps were better than the orginal steep, which makes me think that the first steep was overdone. I also probably got more actual tea in the strainer because the granular format makes for a lot less wasted space in my teaspoon measure.
So, if you’re going for plain tea (no milk & sugar) treat the granulated a little lightly…lesson learned.
Resteep – 4 minutes with boiling water. A repeat of the first steep. Brewed as dark as the first cup, but did not come out as harsh. A bit watered down as expected. I believe the resteep was actually better than the 1st; making me think that the first was over done.
“The other Assam”. I had Orthodox Full Leaf Assam yesterday and expected a full bodied, harsh tea. That wasn’t it, but this one is! 1tsp & 195 degree water caused this one to brew fast, 2 minutes maximum. It has what I think of as the classic Assam taste, heavy, dark, full bodied. Reminiscent of dead autum leaves in an October rain. Yah, not a happy-happy, joy-joy invoking brew…not my summer sun tea. Nonetheless, it fills it niche well. Bet it would be good with milk and sugar if you like your tea that way.
A second steep. Took a bit longer to brew up to the color I prefer. Pretty much a repeat of the first steep, just a bit more watered down. No 3rd steep possible on my 1 tsp allotment.
Another direct from India tea. For those wondering about the “Orthodox Full Leaf”, it really does say that on the package; probably to differentiate it from the other Assam in the package, which is “granulated”. This tea brewed slowly, full 4 minutes/boiling water, to a clear brown (fruitwood more than walnut). I was expecting a heavy, harsh, tannic tea. Didn’t get that. Its definetly a more full bodied tea than say a Ceylon, but not a bit harsh or tannic. In fact, the notable feature is the lack of notable features. It didn’t have any particular earthy or musty smell/flavor when brewed. The dry tea smells like dry tea (surprise!). Over all, a good every day tea that you could serve to your mother without a worry.
My employer is setting up a new project in India, so we’re getting some tea’s brought back by the people we’re sending there to get things started. This Nilgiri is initially very pale and slow to brew, even with boiling water. Patience and a full 4 minutes resulted in a light “nut” brown brew. it has a faint dried leaf aroma when steaming, but it lasts only as long as the steam. The mouth feel is very light; extremely mild taste. It has a pleasant after taste and mildest lingering tea flavor. In fact, I get more out of the aftertaste than when its actually in your mouth. I think if I drink this too fast, I’ll miss most of the enjoyment.