I just received my first order ever from ESP Emporium. It happened to include two different varieties of Darjeeling; Margaret’s Hope (SF) and Marybong Organic (FF). I thought it would be a fun experiment to prepare them side-by-side and compare and contrast them in my reviews. The text of my reviews for both teas will be the same but the score reflects how I feel about this particular tea.
First, let’s talk about initial fragrance. Margaret was clean and crisp with notes of pepper and grapefruit. (This is a second flush?) Marybong leaned towards being sweet and biscuity.
Margaret’s leaves were dark and crumbly while Marybong’s were a mix of older and newer, bright green leaves.
Both teas were prepared at the same time using the same steeping parameters.
The fragrance of Margaret was bright, crisp and citrusy while Marybong wasn’t very fragrant at all. I detected a bit of hops but not much else.
Finally, the taste. Margaret was initially very smooth but then you get this final punchy astringency. Quite a pucker! This has a really complex profile. Marybong, on the other hand, was more even tempered. It was mellow and was a consistent drink to the bottom of the cup.
Up until now, I had always considered myself a first flush kind of guy. Margaret has changed my mind. I really enjoyed the fragrance and complexity of flavor it offered over Marybong. However, Margaret might be too aggressive for some. For them, the consistency of Marybong would be a better choice.