Sample package label: “Autumn Darjeeling”
“Malty, muscatel, and spicy notes; smooth yet complex flavor, Autumnal 2nd flush. Organic, Fair Trade
Deep in the Mirik Valley of Darjeeling in West Bengal India, comes this autumn harvest 2nd flush Darjeeling tea from the Seeyok plantation. Its has a strong body with a refreshing crisp finish with strong hints of Mustat, malt and spices. A perfect morning or early afternoon tea. Certified Organic and Fair Trade.”

Thanks to Hovik Azadkhanian at Alvin’s of San Francisco for the recommended brewing instructions: 1 tsp. / 195*F / 8oz. / 2 minutes. “To really enjoy the complexity of the tea leaves I personally leave them in for a bit longer though this is totally up to you. (Sometimes I don’t even take them out!)”

8-oz water with total dissolved solids (TDS) of 26 ppm, heated to 212*F and allowed to cool to 195*F – verified with DAVIDsTEA digital thermometer.
1 Tevanna teaspoon, without sweeteners, milk or cream.

The fragrance of this tea is very enticing, but what is it? – A new very pleasing experience.
Dry leaf – blackish brown
Infused Leaf – Bright coppery hue

First cup:
2-min: Smooth, light- to med.-bodied I then steeped it an additional min.
3-min: med.-bodied
4-min: Smooth, lively & full-bodied with a malty character and a clean finish. There was zero hint of bitterness or astringency

5-min re-steep:
Smooth & a little lighter than the first infusion, but very enjoyable.

2nd cup (same as above, but brewed in a closed vessel – teacup w/lid):
4-min: Smooth, lively & full-bodied with a malty character and a clean finish. There was zero hint of bitterness or astringency. However, I now can appreciate the hints of muscatel. It reminds me of white grapes.

Impression: A very enjoyable Darjeeling – a smooth, full-bodied, malty tea with hints of muscatel and without any bitterness or astringency. Well Done!

Thanks to Hovik Azadkhanian for providing this generous size free sample.

195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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I am passionate about teas that are full-bodied, rich, & smooth. I joined Steepster to explore Multiple Infusion Teas (MITs) such as Pu-erh.

Currently, my focus is on un-flavored orthodox black & pu-erh teas. Cost-effective organic teas or teas that meet the EU Food Safety Commission Pesticide Maximum Residue Limit EUROFINS are also of interest. Many people drink tea for the anti-oxidant health benefits. So why would health conscious tea lovers drink tea that contains pesticide residues?

I especially enjoy teas with a natural rich chocolate flavor profile as opposed to natural bittersweet cocoa.

Complete steeping instructions on the bag are greatly appreciated:
tsp. (g) / oz. / temp. / rinse? / min. for both Western & Gongfu brewing.

Incomplete, non-specific, or cutesy instructions such as: “Just add water and enjoy.” significantly reduces the possibility that I will purchase that particular tea.

Having to discover the optimum brewing parameters through “trial & error” is too time-inefficient, wastes valuable tea and impairs the progress and joy of tea exploration.

The best tea suppliers evaluate each crop / batch of tea each year to determine the optimum brewing parameters. This insures the best possible first impression of their tea, greatly increases customer satisfaction, and thus increases word-of-mouth advertising – the best form of advertising that money can’t buy. You never have a 2nd chance to make an Outstanding First Impression.

My wife is an Earl Grey Fan. We enjoyed Twinings for many years – mostly Earl Grey, also English/Irish Breakfast, & Prince of Wales. Several years ago, TEG no longer tasted as good.

Rishi EG & China Breakfast then became our regular teas. However, after winning Tea Expo awards, the prices kept rising.

Our recent orders have been from: Tao Tea Leaf, Whispering Pines, Yezi, TeaVivre, What-Cha, Mandala, Zen Tea Life, and Verdant. Kudos to: Tao, Brenden, Boris, Angel Chen, Alistair Rea, Garret Sorensen, Kenneth Son, & David Duckler who have all been extremely helpful.

My cupboard doesn’t include the many greatly appreciated samples generously provided by Steepsters’s favorite tea suppliers and by several very kind Steepster members.

High quality water is essential for excellent tasting tea.
Our 450’ well provides hard water. For details see:

#1. Rainsoft water softener with
Q2 computerized control valve

#2. Abundant Flow Water
Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water System with re-mineralization filter
Model: Zeta RO:
- Dow Filmtec TFC R.O. membrane
- Omnipure Inline Post filter
- Puregen Aptera Alkaline Filter:

- Aquatec ERP-500 & ASV 2000
- 3/8" Output
- HM Digital DM-1:

My profile picture is a Red-Breasted Nuthatch, a winter visitor to our woodpecker feeder.


Mid-Atlantic, USA

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