Along the great Path of Tea, we sometimes have the opportunity to taste a tea that is essentially perfect, at least for us. Such was my experience with Arya Estate’s autumnal flush from 2008. So when I realized a couple weeks ago that I was about to run out of Darjeeling and die, I ordered some of the current tea from Upton’s to tide me over until the first flush.

First of all, this is a gorgeous tea in its dried form—one of the prettiest I’ve seen. A nice mix of chocolate, olive, and silver in big, open, curly leaves. The tea brews up to produce a classic amber-colored liquor with a light rosy aroma. The taste is delicate, with the characteristic muscatel and rose, and maybe a hint of caramel. Not sure I’m getting the raisins that are mentioned in the vendor description, though. In fact, the tea is a little too delicate. The line between “delicate” and “weak” is such a fine one. Even brewed strong, I find myself wanting just a little more out of this one.

It’s a very good tea, but, knowing that the Arya Estate has produced some GREAT teas, I find myself a little disappointed. It costs more than my last batch of Castleton Moonlight (considered by some as the gold standard for second flush Darjeelings) and I’m afraid it isn’t as good.

Nevertheless, if you prefer your second flush teas on the light side, this may be just the tea for you.

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