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Recent Tasting Notes
I had to dig around to find this one, because Nothing is quite listed as I would expect it to be for Golden Tips Teas. That said, I found it. Yay me!
I really liked this one as it cooled. But even hot, it was quite nice. Surprisingly, not quite as nice as the second flush goomtee that I had before it. I will enjoy the rest of this tea that I have.
Now here’s a darjeeling which I would easily identify as a darjeeling in a blind line-up! This second flush tea from Okayti (by way of Golden Tips) looks, smells, and brews up just like the darjeelings familiar to me. The leaves are of variegated shapes and colors, but on the whole they are veering dark matte chocolate brown and look like a lighter black tea.
The liquor is amber, pure and simple. A perfect example of the color of amber. Not red, not orange, not green, but amber. The taste is slightly astringent and grassy but with real depth and complexity as well.
I drank the first half of this batch while eating fresh raspberries sprinkled with sugar then frozen before drizzling half & half on top. This skewed my tasting a bit, since the berries were very tart and my tongue had to readjust to process the flavor of the tea.
By the second glass (when the raspberries were all gone), I recognized the smooth yumminess of this darjeeling. It may be that, at heart, I’m a second-flush kind of gal. Only time will tell, but by the end of this year I should know for sure!
Before I review this tea, permit me a caveat to everybody on the Golden Tips subscription plan (which I love, so that’s not the warning!): Golden Tips has something like five different company profiles at Steepster. I was unable to locate this tea until I did a Google search, which brought up this page. I was doing a Google search because I was unable to locate the page using the search function at Steepster (and I tried several different terms…), so I was preparing to download a photo and tea info, etc. This must be how so many duplicate pages for teas came to be at Steepster.
Now for my first Golden Tips tea experience: Darjeeling Okayti Splendour First Flush, this one picked on March 28, 2014, and identified as Finest Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe 1 Splendour. But is it a black tea? That is the question before us.
To be honest, this has got to be the greenest darjeeling I’ve ever seen. Granted, most of the darjeeling which I’ve imbibed has been from blends, so not first flush, and not single estate. The dried tea in this first flush, single estate darjeeling from Okayti contains mainly green leaves. I am not imagining this: most of the leaves are various shades of green. There are also some silver tips and a few black leaves scattered about, but judging from appearance alone, I would call this a green, not a black tea—and that’s coming from someone who has consumed large volumes of both.
The liquor brews up greenish gold and becomes more gold and less green after a couple of minutes, but the flavor is very light and—here’s another surprise—it reminds me somewhat of green oolong!
I’m not really sure what to make of all this. The cup was quite tasty, but barely intersected with my concept of darjeeling—almost like a second cousin! Now I am all the more excited to sip my way through my first subscription plan box, hopefully before the next one arrives—which is right around the corner, since this one shipped on July 4th, and today is already the 22nd!
Since my generous sample packet still contains another 7 grams, I’ll withhold attaching a number to this tea until I’ve tried a few more of these darjeelings to give me some perspective on this unique experience.
It does not have the aroma of a first flush Darjeeling. It does not look like a first flush Darjeeling. When steeped, it does not exhibit a golden yellow of a first flush Darjeeling. So the question I have is, is this a first flush Darjeeling?
The color of the unsteeped leaves is dark brown with a few tips sprinkled in. The photo on their website does not resemble the tea leaves I received. I steeped the leaves first with a full tablespoon of tea leaves per 360ml of water. the tea took on a dark brown/black color. For the next pot, I used two teaspoons of tea, and still the color was a dark/brow.
Upon tasting the tea, it definitely did not taste like a Darjeeling. Not even like a second flush Darjeeling which the color of the leaves and the color of the tea slightly resembled.
This tea falls far short of what I was expecting with it’s higher price tag compared to the other first flush Darjeelings listed on their site. Sorry Golden Tips. I really wanted to like the two teas I’ve tasted so far, and I have tried several different parameters but to no avail.
As always, i preheat the pot before brewing any tea. I approached this tea with optimism which only lasted until I opened the package. The tea leaves had no scent. I could not detect any type of aroma from the unsteeped leaves.
The first brewing I tried was 1 TBS of tea leaves for 360ml of hot water at 195F for 3 minutes. The prepared tea had no taste except for a slight floral note. The tea had almost no flavor and it was like drinking hot water with a faint floral flavor.
For the second pot, I tried increasing the tea to 1TBS and 1TSP and steeped for 3 minutes and 30 seconds. Again, no taste. So for the third pot I tried 2 full TBS for 4 minutes. Finally, very faint taste came out but in no way resembled a Darjeeling tea.
So there is not much to write about as this tea had almost no aroma, even when steeped, a very very light taste, and no character.
This tea was just picked in June. Isn’t that neat? I really like being able to see the date of picking on the package.
I am having a Darjeeling revelation. I think I might love them! This one is delicious. Round and fruity (I think I am starting to identify the “Muscatel” quality). Slightly astringent but not unpleasantly so.
This tea requires some explanation:
First, I’ve only tried a sample of the Summer Flush Darjeeling in this gift set.
Second, Golden Tips only offers Summer Flush in this gift set.
Third, most Darjeeling tea companies regard 2nd Flush Darjeeling teas as Summer Flush. Golden Tips calls their 2nd Flush Darjeeling teas Spring flush, and it would seem that Golden Tips Summer Flush Darjeeling might actually be Monsoon Flush. Of course, this is just an educated guess because Golden Tips offers little to no information about their Summer Flush Darjeeling tea.
Confusing, right? And why does this even matter? Well, Monsoon Flush Darjeeling teas are far less desirable than 2nd Flush Darjeeling teas that are often prized above all others. Monsoon Flush Darjeeling tea is often used in breakfast blends because it’s stronger than 1st and 2nd Flush Darjeeling teas in flavor and appearance, and Monsoon Flush Darjeeling is not often marketed outside of these breakfast blends.
Golden Tips Summer Flush Darjeeling is a pretty decent tasting overall. Summer Flush tastes very much like good grocery store English Breakfast tea. The leaves in my sample were far more impressive than the dust you often find in tea bags, but the flavor was much the same.
This truly tastes like Fall. I swear I can taste autumn spices in this tea some how, (which I know that’s not why it’s called Autumn Flush, but it surely tastes like Fall some how!), especially on the cool-down. Also noticing tobacco notes. Smooth. Quite an interesting third flush! I’ll be having this again!
A perky first flush with delicate floral and honey notes with quite a bit of smokiness that becomes more apparent on the cool-down. Truly tastes like spring, like new life! Would be a lovely tea to drink as the sun is rising as it tastes like the start of a new day. Lovely.
Revisited before creating a review for Tea Views.
Once again I got the same impression of rose petal infused honey. The boldness was more apparent this time, especially when comparing it to other darjeelings at the same time. An approachable darjeeling tea that’s an obvious blend of several darjeelings.
I’m on an Assam tea kick recently. Sometimes I like to try many of the same types of teas in a short time span to better appreciate their similarities and differences.
This particular Assam tea has no golden buds in it that I can detect. I do see some lighter colored buds in the black tea, but I would describe them more as beige than golden. The leaves have a sweet aroma, and the infusion is a light amber. The liquor has a light, sweet flavor with a bit-o-malt(iness) at the very end.
Overall, this is a not offensive but it’s also in no way what I expect from an Assam.
Edit: This tea really began to frustrate me after my second cup. There’s almost no astringency and it seems very flat to me. I’m lowering my rating.
preparing this in the Breville this time to see what the outcome is. 1 tsp per 8 ounces, 190 degrees for 3 minutes.
Edit. Yep, Breville always wins. The first time I made this I prepared it in a big mug thinking the leaves could better expand and it might make for a better cup of tea. Nope. The Breville produced a more enhanced cup of tea. It was like my mouth put on glasses. Same as the first time but more clear and defined.
My opinion of this tea hasn’t changed, I just have to strain less to identify what I was trying to.
This tea becomes more enjoyable on the cooldown. It becomes more soft, sweet and delicate. I’m also noticing a bit of a buttery mouthfeel once it reaches room temperature.
I also think I might be using a little bit too much tea, or maybe steeping for too long. I will keep experimenting.
1 tsp per 8 ounces, steeped at 190 degrees for 3 minutes in a mug.
(EDIT – Check out my second review for update/info on steeping method.)
Tastes of flowers. Roses come to mind. Thick and sweet like honey. The liquor also takes on the color of golden liquid honey. Once cool it really reminds me of rose water. Or maybe rose petal infused honey. The scent matches. It’s beautiful in that aspect. Quite astringent. Has a light muscatel quality.
Second steeping didn’t appeal to me as much, especially when it cooled; it tasted like olive oil. And I kind of despise olive oil for some reason, unless it’s masked by other flavors in food.
But the first cup was enjoyable.
I LOVE Darjeeling white teas. They’re about as resilient as a Chinese Bai Mu Dan but with a grape-like character that Himalayan teas are known for. This is one of the poorer examples I’ve tried, though. It doesn’t yield much in the way of taste on only a three-minute steep, requiring at least four to give it the muscatel lean and floral finish. However, by “poor”, I mean by Indian white standards…that still makes it kinda great. Glad to have it in my arsenal.