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So this is the other single-estate darjeeling that started it all. A few years ago, my wife was studying in Grenoble, France and brought back this tea, and a Darjeeling FF 2007 Makaibari FTGFOP that I also have a note for. I can’t really give you much more info on Cha Yuan, (maybe a fellow Steepster knows more?) other than they seem to be based out of Lyon.

I’ll mention that Darjeelings aren’t really my niche (at least not this month), but before I started getting into high quality Chinese, and Japanese teas, these were the best teas that I owned (hence my irresponsible urge to save them as long as I could).

Anyways, the problem with these teas today (March 25th, 2010) is that they are 3 years old and with delicate single-estate teas like these, freshness is a factor. When I first had this tea, the very pleasing flavor was unlike any tea I had tried before. It was almost sweet in a way but it had that “tea” flavor that I liked about black teas, except without astringency and it was a much more focused, consistent flavor. Compared with the other Darjeeling (Makaibari), I think I preferred this one a little bit, but they were both incredible.

Unfortunately, both of these are past their prime due to negligence and hoarding on my part. I was able to share them a few times with friends while they were still great. Once, we compared 3 different single-estate darjeelings and then a few “lesser” ones like a Twining’s Darjeeling teabag, and some very generic bag labeled “Darjeeling”. It was a fun taste-testing experiment that left my non-tea-drinking friends amazed with the range of flavors.

If you ever come across Cha Yuan, based on these two teas, I would recommend you check out some of the tea they offer.

I would also recommend getting something current… and not keeping it locked up “safe”…
…inside a cupboard…

… for three years…

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So I’ve neglected Steepster for some time now! I feel like I need to make up for that somehow…

A tea enthusiast since 1999, I enjoy the experience of sitting and drinking tea.
As a life-long student of tea, I learn something new every day about the vast world that is Tea.

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Evanston, IL

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