Since I have a fraught relationship with teapots at the moment (a newly purchased and expensive one cracked and I can’t replace it), I’m steeping Western style for a while. (My little porcelain teapot is in fine working order; I’m just bitter that my dream teapot isn’t.) It’s annoying how few teas I own that can be steeped Western, and most of them are Darjeelings. Western kind of seems like a waste for nicer teas anyway.

I steeped 4 g of leaf in a 355 ml mug at 195F for 5 and 7 minutes.

The dry aroma is of sweet muscatel, orange blossoms, chocolate, and green plants. The first steep has notes of heady muscatel, plums, stonefruit, orange blossoms, sap, faint cocoa, and tannins. Maybe five minutes was too long for this tea, as it’s a bit drying. Those tannins and the sweet muscatel fight with each other in the aftertaste. Honey and apricot become apparent as the tea cools. I made the second steep at 190F to try and reduce the tannin punch, with limited success. The fruitiness is still very much there, but so is the assertive black tea backbone of tannins, minerality, malt, and wood.

This is an excellent Darjeeling that would have been even better if the tannins had been toned down. I’ll keep changing the brewing parameters to see if it will help, but for now, it’s an 87.

Flavors: Apricot, Cocoa, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Muscatel, Orange Blossom, Plum, Sap, Stonefruit, Tannin, Wood

195 °F / 90 °C 5 min, 0 sec 4 g 12 OZ / 355 ML

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Since I discovered Teavana’s Monkey Picked Oolong four years ago, I’ve been fascinated by loose-leaf tea. I’m glad to say that my oolong tastes have evolved, and that I now like nearly every tea that comes from Taiwan, oolong or not, particularly the bug-bitten varieties. I also find myself drinking Yunnan blacks and Darjeelings from time to time, as well as a few other curiosities.

However, while online reviews might make me feel like an expert, I know that I still have some work to do to actually pick up those flavours myself. I hope that by making me describe what I’m tasting, Steepster can improve my appreciation of teas I already enjoy and make me more open to new possibilities (maybe even puerh!).



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