This was another late summer sipdown. I think it actually may have been either my last sipdown of August or my first sipdown of September. As usual, I can’t remember. Anyway, this struck me as being a pretty good autumn flush Darjeeling black tea. I tend to be quite picky about such offerings, though, so some people are bound to enjoy this tea more than I did.

I prepared this tea in the Western style. I steeped 3 grams of loose leaf material in 8 ounces of 203 F water for 5 minutes. I did not rinse the leaf material prior to infusion nor did I attempt any additional infusions.

Prior to infusion, the dry leaf material produced aromas of malt, baked bread, red grape, and fig. After infusion, I detected aromas of plum, earth, black cherry, oak, smoke, cream, and cocoa. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of cream, earth, grass, oak, fig, black cherry, blackberry, plum, red grape, cream, baked bread, cocoa, hickory, roasted walnut, and orange zest that were balanced by hints of smoke, straw, blueberry, lemon zest, caramel, roasted peanut, cooked green beans, and red pear. The finish of each sip was dry, oaky, and fruity, reminding me a bit of red wine.

This was a complex, deep, and in some respects, extremely refined offering. I absolutely loved the heft and texture of the tea liquor in the mouth and the way it finished on each swallow, but there were also some aroma and flavor components that clashed for me. Like several other Darjeeling black teas I have sampled from 2018 to the present, this one struck me as a mixed bag, though there was considerably more to like than to dislike about it.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Blackberry, Blueberry, Caramel, Cherry, Cocoa, Cream, Earth, Fig, Grapes, Grass, Green Beans, Lemon Zest, Malt, Nutty, Oak wood, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pear, Plums, Smoke, Straw, Walnut

5 min, 0 sec 3 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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My grading criteria for tea is as follows:

90-100: Exceptional. I love this stuff. If I can get it, I will drink it pretty much every day.

80-89: Very good. I really like this stuff and wouldn’t mind keeping it around for regular consumption.

70-79: Good. I like this stuff, but may or may not reach for it regularly.

60-69: Solid. I rather like this stuff and think it’s a little bit better-than-average. I’ll drink it with no complaints, but am more likely to reach for something I find more enjoyable than revisit it with regularity.

50-59: Average. I find this stuff to be more or less okay, but it is highly doubtful that I will revisit it in the near future if at all.

40-49: A little below average. I don’t really care for this tea and likely won’t have it again.

39 and lower: Varying degrees of yucky.

Don’t be surprised if my average scores are a bit on the high side because I tend to know what I like and what I dislike and will steer clear of teas I am likely to find unappealing.



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