Finely cut CTC loose leaf version. Not sure why, but I have never had this before, loose or bagged. I am not going to rate this today. I had the second cup from the leaf. A co-worker and I swapped presses after I had the De Lea Crème. I got to sniff the dry leaf before he steeped it. It was the scent of straw (different from hay). I have only tried 3 Darjeelings – this one, Mother Parkers (bagged), and Ahmad loose. Of these entry level teas, the Ahmad was my favorite. This one, at least this cup, is my least favorite. It is rather drying and a bit bland. What flavors that are present remind me of the Charleston Plantation tea base in their Governor Gray. His description of the first cup was nothing like mine. He said it tasted like the dry leaf smelled but with a lasting sweetness. There was an additional fruity flavor element he couldn’t describe. Hopefully it was Muscatel grape – but I won’t know that until I try the first cup. He used boiling water and a two minute steep. I went just below boiling and a three minute steep. I thought that was too high for Darjeeling. There were no instructions on the tin that I could find.
As the cup reached room temperature the flavor did start coming out more, but not enough to change my opinion. I think I might like this as an iced tea. Downside is left me with a bit of stomach burn. I haven’t experienced that in a long time. Next time I will have to make sure I have some cookies to nibble on.