So as Amy Oh said, I too am getting a little first flush Darjeeling bonkers these past few months. I have always been a bit fan of the astringent and bright quality of Darjeeling teas but never had an unblended, tea-bag version. Harney’s Puttabong was not my first, and is not my favorite (Harney’s previous Singbulli was absolutely terrific, review forthcoming), but I do have to say, the complexity of this release is really quite wonderful.
First, the leaves, as with most of Harney’s teas, are beautiful. Such a wonderful blend of colors in these rolled leaves, the first view doesn’t really give the impression of a black tea. The smell of the dry leaves is quite floral, yet slight (I get zucchini blossoms, vegetable + flowers).
I decided to do a full temp, and a moderate black tea steep (~200F @ 4 minutes). I typically like a strong cup but decided to go with the traditional style. I poured the tea and smelled the steeped leaves, which greeted me with a very earthy, deep tones, which mellowed as they cooled. By the smell of the leaves, I was concerned, but my fears were quickly abated with the first sip. It brewed up with a light golden yellow liquor and I drank it without any milk or sweetener of any kind. The tea has more body than I expected, coupled with a nice astringency. The aroma is very nice, and less floral than others, which may be a benefit to many of you. I actually like the citrus and flower quality that many Darjeelings possess, but the subtlety in the combination of numerous qualities, without an overwhelming character, make this tea very round and pleasant.
After a busy day at work, learning of new things I must accomplish, this was a wonderful way to unwind and begin my evening homework. I am currently listening to a bit of Sia and Imogen Heap, which paired delightfully with this brew. Again, I am a bit more partial to the floral and fragrant quality in the Singbulli first flush previously released by Harney, but this is finding its way in my cupboard as a terrific replacement. If for nothing else, I am being more and more encouraged that this may be my favorite style of tea, hoping to fill out my collection with a few more.