This tea has mostly black leaves, with some orange tips. They’ve grayed a bit and are generally “imperfect” looking but not “bad” per-se. They may be not the freshest or just be harmed by the decaffeination process. They have a vaguely floral scent that is not as pronounced as some higher-grade Darjeelings. They are fortunately free of any chemical scent.
They produce a medium red-gold shade liquor with similar scent to the leaves.
Astringency is nicely controlled, and the mouthfeel is very light.
The flavor is quite sweet, mildly floral, and with hints of maltiness and vegetal notes. There’s unfortunately a vaguely earthy-stale flavor in the background, but it’s minimal and not as pronounced as most decafs’. The flavor of this tea overall is slightly muted compared to a non-decaf Darjeeling, but not dramatically so.
A second steep was weaker and more vegetal than the first.
I was actually very pleasantly surprised by this. I’d almost given up on decaf teas and decided to stick with tisanes for decaf. But this tea actually has very decent quality leaves and a very drinkable (though not perfect!) flavor. This is a really decent tea – much better than most low-grade loose black teas, although not quite as good as a premium non-decaf Darjeeling. But I’d be genuinely happy to drink this whenever, and I will be ordering a bag of it soon.