I totally forgot about the five autumn flush Darjeelings I tacked onto my last Teabox order. The 2016 autumn flush teas had been marked down and I had been meaning to try a few more, so I figured that would be the perfect opportunity to pick up a few. I ended up with teas from Oaks, Gopaldhara, Goomtee, Giddapahar, and Jungpana, all producers whose work I greatly enjoy. This tea from the Oaks Estate was the first one I tried. Surprisingly, it was the one I enjoyed the least.

I prepared this tea in the Western style. I steeped about 3 grams of loose leaf material in approximately 8 ounces of 194 F water for 5 minutes. No additional infusions were attempted.

Prior to infusion, the dry leaf material emitted interesting aromas of dried fruit, aged leather, and cured tobacco. After infusion, I picked up on aromas of wood, leather, tobacco, raisins, malt, and cooked greens. In the mouth, I found that the liquor opened with surprisingly prominent notes of aged leather, cured tobacco, and wood before giving way to subtler notes of brown toast, smoke, nutmeg, malt, violet, raisin, plum, and Muscatel. Notes of cooked greens gradually revealed themselves, becoming more powerful as the liquor lingered in the mouth. The finish was fairly short, emphasizing notes of malt, wood, raisin, and Muscatel, though a touch of cooked greens also remained.

After being impressed by a recent first flush tea from the Oaks Estate, I was expecting to enjoy this one equally, if not more. Sadly, that was not the case. While this tea was not bad, the way the cooked green notes built in the mouth made it seem awkward as they muddied some of the more enjoyable, nuanced notes the tea offered. Still, one trait that I found to be rather detrimental to the drinking experience did not ruin this offering for me. This was an enjoyable tea, just a rather odd and somewhat awkward one. While there are certainly more enjoyable autumn flush Darjeeling teas out there, this one was still worth a try.

Flavors: Brown Toast, Leather, Malt, Muscatel, Nutmeg, Plum, Raisins, Smoke, Tobacco, Vegetal, Violet, Wood

5 min, 0 sec 3 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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My grading criteria for tea is as follows:

90-100: Exceptional. I love this stuff. If I can get it, I will drink it pretty much every day.

80-89: Very good. I really like this stuff and wouldn’t mind keeping it around for regular consumption.

70-79: Good. I like this stuff, but may or may not reach for it regularly.

60-69: Solid. I rather like this stuff and think it’s a little bit better-than-average. I’ll drink it with no complaints, but am more likely to reach for something I find more enjoyable than revisit it with regularity.

50-59: Average. I find this stuff to be more or less okay, but it is highly doubtful that I will revisit it in the near future if at all.

40-49: A little below average. I don’t really care for this tea and likely won’t have it again.

39 and lower: Varying degrees of yucky.

Don’t be surprised if my average scores are a bit on the high side because I tend to know what I like and what I dislike and will steer clear of teas I am likely to find unappealing.



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