I AM OVERWHELMED.
I have tea coming out of my ears. Tea tea tea tea tea tea tea. SO MUCH TEA. I literally spent 20 minutes this morning, wringing my hands, pacing the floor like an animal, trying to figure out WHAT exactly I should drink. I’m worried about it going bad, about it getting stale, about it losing flavor. I’m like a woman undone.
Finally, in frustration, I just dunked my hand into the GM sample basket and I pulled this out. There we go! Darjeeling. Okay, fine, I’ll take it, let’s steep this.
So, Darjeeling. I’ve never actually had it. It gets touted regularly as the “champagne of teas” with “muscatel” flavors. Okay, so it’s really good and tastes like wine and grapes. Simple enough.
The leaves on this one are really wiry and long. I wasn’t picking up anything special on the scent. Maybe a bit more fruity than normal? But it pretty much smelled like a basic black. The leaves are really pretty to watch unfurl here; some are quite long.
Finally I had some tea juice in my hands and I was ready to drink. I stuck my nose in the steam of the light infusion (much lighter than I thought it was going to be) and inhaled. Hrm. I feel like I should be one of those snobbish wine connoisseurs and make up stuff. Like, “Oooh, this one smells like freshly tanned leather and pipe tobacco with a hint of animal dung.”
I am probably over-caffeinated right now.
But no, it doesn’t smell like any of those things. In fact, I was just a fairly default black taste. So I was actually pleasantly surprised when I took my first sip of it piping hot. It tasted… different. A bit musky, maybe? Subtle, but deceivingly so, because there seems to be a lot of depth.
I actually liked this a lot better as it cooled a little. Then that infamous “muscatel” flavor came creeping in. I’m not a big drinker of wine (and I like white over red), but this tea had a similar fruity composition. Almost grape-y. There were some basic floral notes, but overall, it was very smooth and sometimes sweet with no astringency. I think I would have preferred it to be a bit more full-bodied. This Darjeeling was actually lighter than I thought it was going to be.
Does it taste like any other black tea I’ve tasted? No. It tastes… like a Darjeeling. I don’t know if this is the best Darjeeling ever, and I don’t have anything to compare it against, but I enjoyed savoring that special fruity component.