In cleaning out my hoard of black teas, I have been specifically focusing on reducing the number of Darjeelings I have on hand. Unfortunately, I fear that I may be starting to burn myself out on them. Either that or I have just run into a couple of Darjeelings that really have not done it for me. I have one more that I am hoping to polish off before the end of the week, so we’ll see which is the case. This one, at least, was pretty good.
I prepared this tea using the one step Western infusion I normally use for non-Chinese black teas. I suppose that I could have attempted another infusion with this tea, but to be honest, I did not feel the need. For the purposes of this review, I steeped 1 heaping teaspoon of loose tea leaves in 8 ounces of 212 F water for 5 minutes. Adagio recommends a steep time ranging from 3-5 minutes for this tea. I tried several different times in that range, but found that I preferred the 5 minute infusion time. The others yielded a tea that was a little underpowered for my tastes.
The first thing I noticed about this tea was that it was not specifically comprised of full leaves. I noted a number of broken leaves, as well as what appeared to be fannings. Obviously, this is not 100 percent high grade tea. I also noted a dusty smell with a hint of grape. After infusion, the liquor showed a delicate golden amber in the cup. Mild aromas of cream, toasted almonds, malt, honey, apricot, golden raisins, and Muscat grape were present on the nose. In the mouth, I noted a relatively smooth, soothing mixture of straw, golden raisin, apricot, honey, malt, cream, toast, toasted almond, and Muscat grape flavors. The finish was very clipped and mild, offering lingering impressions of toast, malt, honey, toasted almond, golden raisin, and Muscat grape.
To be fair, this was a lot more complex than I was expecting it to be. I really dug the aroma and flavor of golden raisin demonstrated by this Darjeeling. It was entirely unexpected, giving this tea a very unique presence that separated it from the other Darjeelings I have been drinking lately. This was also a very pleasant tea that was easy to drink. I would have preferred to see more depth and a longer, more powerful finish, but this would have required a greater proportion of higher grade leaves that would have driven the price point up. I tend to be really picky about summer Darjeelings, and to be honest, I do not normally like them nearly as much as spring and autumn flushes, but this one isn’t bad. Its fine layering of aromas and flavors is extremely commendable given the mixed quality of the leaves and the lower price point. I doubt I would purchase this tea again anytime soon, but if I were looking for a decent, respectable summer Darjeeling at an affordable price, I could see myself revisiting this one.
Flavors: Almond, Apricot, Cream, Honey, Malt, Muscatel, Raisins, Straw, Toast