Today my sweetie and I are sampling Darjeelings. First up are two autumn 2014 flushes from the Turbo Estate.

This one is a clonal black, one teaspoon steeped for 5 min at 86C.
The other is an organic black, two teaspoons for 4 minutes at 90C. http://steepster.com/teas/teabox/42874-thurbo-autumn-darjeeling-black-tea

These teas are extremely different. While they are both distinctly Darjeeling, as I’m starting to develop a palate for, I would not have guessed that these are both from the same estate and flush.

This one is quite light – sweet, floral and fruity. It’s mildly astringent with no bitterness – very smooth in comparison to the organic black. There’s an ever so faint note of olives on the nose, which appears in the flavour as the cup cools.

The Organic black is very bold, brisk and astringent. Slightly bitter, though not unpleasant. My initial impression was that it had a very typical “black tea” flavour, though there’s a vegetal tang at the end of the sip, and that faint ash or char characteristic that I notice in many Darjeelings. It smells rich and bold, with a fruity note that I’m coming to associate with muscatel.

This dry leaf smells light and grapey, and is a mix of green and grey medium size leaves.

The Organic black smells much less sweet, with a touch of malt, and more of a generic black tea scent. The leaves are slightly darker and shorter than the clonal.

Neither of these teas appeals to me overly much, though they are both pleasant.

Flavors: Astringent, Floral, Fruity, Grapes, Olives, Sweet

185 °F / 85 °C 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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I grew up drinking jasmine green tea with meals, but really fell in love with tea on a trip to Britain in elementary school. My first great love was Earl Grey, and I still adore it and all its variants.

I discovered the beauty of loose leaf tea much later, when, on impulse, I picked up a few teas that were on clearance at a home store. My introduction to loose leaf teas were Masala Chai and Provence Rooibos by the Metropolitan Tea Co and an unknown brand of kukicha and gyokuro (little did I know what a precious treasure I’d stumbled onto with that.)

At the time I was lucky to live in a place with multiple tea shops and several places to have afternoon tea, which is a delight I still miss.

Tea is part of my daily ritual and a nice, affordable way to appease the collector in me.

I enjoy distinctive whites, greens and oolongs, flavoured blacks, and herbals that are heavy on the citrus, lavender or mint.

Rating rubric, to give myself some consistency:
0-15 Yuck, not even drinkable.
16-30 Disappointing, not really inclined to give it a second try.
31-45 Disappointing, but maybe there’s potential? Worth one more try, prepped differently.
46-60 Mediocre, not terrible but not memorable.
61-75 Not bad. I’ll definitely finish what I have and might buy again.
76-90 Very enjoyable. Tasty, complex, it’ll keep me coming back.
91-100 BEST! I love everything about it and I will drink it forever.

Beyond tea, I’m a sex educator, polyamory activist, and radical queer. I love backwoods camping, abstract painting, baking & cooking, nail polish, cats, ceramic sculpture, and home nesting.


Winnipeg, MB, Canada

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