20 Tasting Notes
100g for $3.99 at a small Indian grocery. The box has the Darjeeling Mark to show that it is of verified origin. There’s a sealed foil bag inside a foldover cardboard box, so all the tea is in a tin now—it fits in a Republic of Tea standard canister.
This tea brews up delicate and mild with characteristic Darjeeling flavor. The wet leaf is a mix of broken-leaf dark and greenish pieces. The box instructions say “one teaspoon per cup, strain after a minute.”
This tea was by the hot water urn at a conference, and brewed up nicely in a variety of mug sizes and sub-boiling temperatures. I snagged a couple bags for more controlled brewing.
At boiling, one bag in a pint, it’s a soft vanilla caramel with a citrus undertone. The bag tag says “Brew 5 minutes”. It’s good cold, too.
I walked away from the brewing and came back to nice tea anyhow, which is a huge plus. With turbinado sugar, it tastes of dusty cocoa with a tea-tannin kick (my fault), and “chocolatey” on the nose during swallowing.
I’m rebrewing this bag currently to see what the tea tastes like after the first flush of cocoa washes out.
I enjoyed the tin, but am not sad it’s gone. It’s a bit malty, a bit astringent: it feels oversteeped at 3 1/2 min—I usually steep black teas about 4 1/3 min. I don’t even like the tin quite well enough to keep; it’s really hard to get the bits out of the corner.
As it cools, the pine notes come out. When it’s warm, there’s smoke and campfires. Astringency, yes, and sugar isn’t helping. I can’t sweeten the smoky aroma. There’s nothing wrong with it. It’s a mild tea with a heavy dose of smoke that doesn’t balance the intensity of the smokiness.
The 4/10 is for the fact that the smoke seeped out of the package and made my entire tin of mixed teabags smell of smoke. I’m airing out the tin so I can re-close it.