The last of this, and thereby also the last of three different Darjeeling teas I once received as a gift from a friend I met elsewhere on the internet. She lives, or lived at the time as she appears to have disappeared from the internet, in Darjeeling and from what I understood bought her tea more or less directly from the estate. Cool, eh? She sent me this white tea, a first flush and a muscatel. I finished off the latter two long ago.
I had this on the to-be-finished pile, but I was finally inspired to finish off the rest of it now when I watched a program on Viasat History with Victoria Wood travelling around the Commonwealth and visiting the former British colonies and specifically places that were named after Queen Victoria, as she were. Naturally she also came to Darjeeling and was presented with the idea of ‘white tea’, supposedly for the first time. “Everybody knows tea is brown. Two sugars. And milk. Indian tea. From China.” or some such I believe her bemused quote was.
Anyway, she visited an organic tea plantation, the owner of which was called Rajah. I remembered that Makaibari is organic and I thought I remembered having heard that the owner was called Rajah, but they didn’t say anything about estate name or even family names, so I wasn’t sure until they gave her a cup of white Darjeeling tea called Silver Tips Imperial, which had fetched a record-high price making it the most expensive tea in the world at the time. Then I was sure. It was this one.
Victoria Wood found that she liked it and that it was quite subtle in flavour. Rajah told her that it had four ‘layers’ or ‘levels’ or some such of flavour, but unfortunately didn’t go further into the subject. Or if he did, they didn’t show it. My tongue isn’t really developed enough to discern whether or not it does and I’m not experienced enough with Darjeelings in general either, but seeing as the Estate has been owned by his family for generations I trust the man to know what he’s talking about.
I can only find a nutty basic flavour with a flowery note on top. Maybe a hint of grass. Rather nice but not overwhelming for anything else than it being so unusual.
I do wish I knew what those four levels Rajah mentioned were. Like having a cheat-sheet to tea.