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Recent Tasting Notes
In appearance the leaves are: long and thin, with a variety of brown, red brown, green colours and silver tips.
They have a dry yet light floral scent with elements of wood, leather and malt.
Once steeped this tea is Baltic amber in colour and has a light, wooden scent.
Flavour is light to medium in strength with some sour astringency. Tasting damp wood shavings, light musk and rich malt with a smoky finish.
As it cools it becomes more astringent and tobacco like.
Overall: It’s a ‘rough’ tasting Darjeeling with astringency and lots of sourness. I’ve had Arya Ruby Darjeeling a few times before and knew what it lived up to what I remember. It’s the sort of Darjeeling that would be good for every day use but not for those special occasions. Quality was good but I wouldn’t say it was amazing, and it certainly is not to my taste.
In appearance this Darjeeling consists of: small and dark, curly leaves which range from dark brown, to red brown, to green to white.
It has a sweet yet earthy scent of wood and flowers. Also a touch of malt and dry musk .Once steeped this tea is amber in colour and has a dry, musky yet sweet wood scent.
Flavour is rich and dark with a hint of sour astringency. It’s very wooden and musky which lingers in the mouth beautifully. Also reminds me of dry, mixed flowers.
As it cools the wood becomes more like malt and the astringency develops an air of light smoke.
Overall: This was a beautiful Darjeeling that bared heavy muscatel tones and offered the warmth of the Indian sun. A great example of what a second flush Darjeeling should be.
On the grand scale of things this Darjeeling was very nice but not perfect, it was missing the nutty and creamy qualities that I admire. Please keep in mind that it is down to personal preference.
For pictures and more information please view my blog.
This is a third flush Darjeeling. It’s a fine tea nevertheless and the Darjeeling coming from the Jungpana estate is very nice. The aroma is very delicate and it has accents of fruit. My second steeping was floral as well. I am curious about the spring flush now.
Flavors: Floral, Fruity
Marzipan Was nice enough to send me samples of more darjeelings to try. And honestly, I still don’t quite know what to think.
This one is super woody but also like sweet, as if there were honey in it. Darjeelings are continuing to confuse me. xD But yeah…this one is really woody. xD
Thanks for the sample, Marz!
Flavors: Honey, Sweet, Wood
Behind the black is hidden
A sweetness unnamed.
So the wonderful Cheri (Cheri0627) was determined to change my opinion of darjeelings (which, until now, has been in the red), so she sent me a whole BOX of different ones to sample! This is my first tentative try. I also made sure to try and follow Amanda’s (Amanda ‘SoggyEnderman’ Wilson) suggestion about a cooler water temperature.
The dry leaves are very fragrant-a pleasant mix of floral and wood with an emphasis on floral. The wet leaves also smelled wonderful-and strongly! The liquor is a dark burnt orange.
I steeped for 3 minutes and was met with an interesting flavor. Not unpleasant, but I spent the whole cup searching for a flavor that was hiding behind the more standard “tea.” Was it fruity? Nutty? Floral? I settled on sweet, but that’s as far as I got. As it was worth exploring, I tried another steep.
I was planning on steeping for equalish time. But, as happens at work, time got away from me and threeish turned into 6! And as a further disruption, I didn’t get to it until it was cold. For a cooled second steep, I’m impressed with its drinkability. That hidden flavor is still there, but on the very last end of the swallow.
Flavors: Floral, Sweet, Wood
This is very tasty – it is definitely sweet but I don’t get a lot of fruity notes. It is a little like musty apples almost, with how earthy it tastes. I enjoy it, but I always enjoy oolongs. I did two western style steeps and it kept me up long enough to finish my portfolio. Tomorrow I turn it in, and hopefully this time next month I will be a certified teacher. :)
Okay, it was harvested on my birthday, so that’s why I’m calling it birthday tea.
Open the packet…wow…smells………AMAZING. Rich, fragrant, delicious.
The tea is pretty good, but not as great as it smelled when it was just the dry leaves.
Lewis & Clark #4
Soft nose. Bold flavor. Classic first flush flavor with hints of stone fruit. Becomes slightly bitter at the finish, but not enough to spoil the taste. The finish is very long, adding depth to the following sip.
There was a discussion topic about Darjeeling a few weeks ago, and this tea sums up my feeling in the discussion. There are hundreds of good, solid Darjeelings out there; each one a pleasure to drink, but few can distinguish themselves enough to rise to the top of the ratings.
This was really smooth, and really didn’t remind me of most blacks I drink. It was light in color, and had no bitterness at all. I think it would be great for a person who finds a lot of black tea to be too bold, though it didn’t quite have enough flavor for me to want to purchase.
Lewis & Clark Traveling Teabox – Tea #22
The mystery of this Darjeeling will be lost on me.. as they usually are. The color of the mug is a unique bright orange! Already interesting. The fragrance from the untasted mug is like a lemon maple syrup but the flavor only has hints of both of those. Otherwise it’s tough to tell! A little stone fruit. Not very much muscatel. It’s very light flavored and I can’t piece the rest together… I tried another Darj the same way as I steeped the second cup of this one (unique with that one).. but this one turned out a little bitter steeped that way but still maintaining that orange color. I wish I was more profound with this one.
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 tsp // 20 min after boiling // 3 min
Steep #2 // half mug // 15 min after boiling // 3 min
Today’s new darjeeling experience chez sherapop is this lovely Arya Ruby second flush from Golden Tips. The harvest date is June 27, 2014, so not very long ago. The dried leaves are mostly quite dark and spindly, but there are also a fair number of lighter silver tip as well.
The liquor is nearly orange, so definitely darker than first flush darjeelings. The dried tea is incredibly fragrant, with a rich floral and woody aroma. Why this tea could be a perfume! It’s definitely more complex than many of the abstract perfumes being produced today. Well, that’s another story.
The flavor is very rich as well. I’m not really sure how to describe it. How about delicious?
I am happy that these sample packets from the excellent Golden Tips subscription program contain a full 10 grams, which means that I’ll be able to try this tea two more times…
Flavors: Floral, Wood
Lewis & Clarke TTB
Yay, a second Darjeeling from Golden Tips! This one is an oolong, whereas the last one was a black tea, so I assume they’ll be quite different from one another. The leaves of this tea remind me of Oriental Beauty – they’re varying shades of brown and grey with silver tips mixed in. Dry scent is pretty similar to the other two Darjeelings, with sweet and slightly musty hay and grain notes. I used the lower end of the steeping time spectrum again, at 4 minutes.
Yum, the brewed aroma is a luscious mix of strong honey, sweet fruit that definitely leans toward grape juice, and bread notes. Wow, I actually really love this one! And it does somewhat remind me of Oriental Beauty in taste as well. There’s a ton of honey sweetness mixed with a lovely grape juice-like deep fruit flavor. I also taste a bit of that nice somewhat roasty autumn leaf note that I associate with oxidized oolongs. This tea screams “Autumn!” to me and I love it.
Thanks so much, Cheri, for including this tea in the box! :D
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Fruity, Grapes, Hay, Honey, Muscatel, Musty, Roasted, Sweet
Lewis & Clarke TTB
Trying another Darjeeling to compare! :D I think Cheri added this one to the box, since I know she has the Golden Tips subscription. Thanks, Cheri! The leaves of this tea look very different from the Giddapahar that I just tried – they look very much like green tea, especially after they’ve steeped and expanded. The dry scent is similar, though – musty sweet hay and grain, similar to a white tea. I used the shorter end of the steeping time range provided, mostly because I was afraid of bitterness.
Brewed, this tea smells pretty floral, but it also has creamy hay and grain notes. I also get a little bit of fruitiness, but it’s similar to fresh grapes instead of dried fruit. Wow, this tastes very similar to a white tea! It’s very creamy and smooth with sweet hay and pastry notes. At the beginning of the sip, I do get an interesting floral flavor that seems to disappear near the middle. It then reappears in the aftertaste and lingers on the tongue long after you’ve finished drinking. Luckily for me, it’s not a super strong or heady floral, so it’s pretty inoffensive. I’m surprised to not find any of the fruit notes that were in the last Darjeeling I tried. I’ve really enjoyed both of them, though! :)
Flavors: Creamy, Floral, Grain, Hay, Pastries, Smooth
I had no idea what to expect from this Thurbo Winter Wonder Autumn Flush Darjeeling from Golden Tips, because the leaves look very different from most darjeelings. The color is mainly a sort of sienna brown, with some shades of brownish green dispersed as well, and the shapes are quite variegated, with many open, torn leaves, and fewer compactly twisted longer pieces.
I was a bit surprised, because I’ve been enjoying Margaret’s Hope Autumn Flush (see my mini blog for more on that: http://steepster.com/teas/norbu/47145-margarets-hope-darjeeling-autumn-flush-2012-ftgfop1), but the leaf form is completely different.
I used exactly the same brewing parameters: 3 grams; 10 ounces; 3 minutes at 81C, and to my surprise the liquor turned out bright yellowish orange—much brighter than most amber-colored darjeelings.
The good news is that the cup was delicious! The flavor is definitely different—less nutty than the Margaret’s Hope, but very smooth and enjoyable. Clearly I am a fan of autumn flush, though until recently that was unbeknownst to me. I suspect that many blends include some autumn flush mixed in, but I can now aver ex cathedra that there is nothing third-class about Third Flush Darjeeling! (Well at least not Thurbo or Margaret’s Hope.)
Today, September 3, 2014, was a historic day chez sherapop: her first experience ever of a darjeeling oolong tea!
I had no idea what to expect. First off, the dried leaves are beautifully variegated in color, size, shape, and texture. There are a fair amount of very attractive shiny silken textured tips among some darker, chocolate brown leaves and lighter, grayish-green leaves. The scent of the dried tea is definitely more darjeeling than oolong, but it’s a lighter, less grassy, and less nutty darjeeling.
The brewed tea, was more of a light peachy than a golden amber color, and tasted like … drum roll … darjeeling-scented oolong! Of course the “flavoring” comes from the tea itself, not from anything added. The texture is more like oolong, with the same juicy succulence found in lower oxidation oolongs.
I was very happy with this glass and decided to try a second infusion, since oolongs are always good for multiple steeps. This one was no exception to that rule, so I hereby do fully and truly aver that this darjeeling is an oolong! On the scale of green to black oolongs, I’d say that this is more fully oxidized, but since all darjeeling “black” teas are really oxidized to 90%, I’d guess that this one is more like 60%.
The Castleton was a bit of a surprise as the first two Darjeelings I tried from Golden Tips were not all that good. I enjoyed drinking the Castleton. Although it may lack some of the complexity and depth when compared to top tier premium Darjeelings, this tea had all the basic characteristics of a good Darjeeling along with a slightly nutty taste enhancing the flavor. For a sunny Sunday afternoon in Southern California, it was a good tea to have. Very easy to drink and very easy to like with a slight astringency to balance out the overall Darjeeling flavor of this tea. I would like to have given this a slightly higher rating but since the tea is going up against Darjeelings from Mariage Freres, I can only rank this at 75 but I will mark this tea as recommended with reservations.