418 Tasting Notes
This had just recently come in, first flush for 2012 (so I was told) (forty dollars! Fifty grams; I think I was tired, I don’t usually make such purchases).
First steep: One level tsp of tea leaf in 100ml gaiwan, 1 min steep (intent: lessen time, more leaf), ~90ºc water.
Wet leaf smelt fruity, floral. Very grapey.
Tasted fresh, floral, and dry (but not biter, although I knew it would become more bitter as it cooled). I don’t drink wine (or any alcohol), so I don’t think I’ll ever truly understand what muscatel tastes like, but I found it like a dry, grape fruit taste.
I was nibbling on toast as I sipped, which it went all right with (I remember a while back there being a post for a toast-and-tea pairing program, will have to check that again).
It’s got a nice tang, almost. The bitterness which came on more as it cooled is, as always (or as I always fine) like walnuts.
(dry, it was much greener than Steepster’s/UrbanTeaMerchant/TWG’s photo, but that may not be from this year)
Twisted green leaves when dry. Bits of white, red and orange mixed in as well. The leaves look very fresh when wet (although quite broken), orange mixed throughout. Many stems. Like other Darjeelings (that I’ve found) (at least with first flushes), it’s implied “black” but is only lightly withered and greener in taste, bordering more in oolong, I figure.
Fruity green, but not quite vegetal, almost fruity and savoury.
Second steep: Two minutes; still smells fruity and floral, almost like wine.
Brewed darker, and taste is much more sharp than the first. More bitter, but it may be because some of the leaves got through when I strained. Bitterness hits in the middle of each sip and trails off to linger in the aftertaste. Not getting the floral and fruit from the first steep.
Overall, not full-bodied. Light, bitter, fruity. Didn’t find a range of notes, but I’m no judge of Darjeelings. It’s nice, and I think I’ll like it on days that I can handle the bitterness. Will probably come back to it.
Felt like something sweet so I made a latte, since this has ginger and a good, strong base. Agave nectar used, plus my hand-held milk frother.
Mmm pretty damn good, actually. Added a little too /much/ nectar, I think, but it’s delicious and sweet and with a strong ginger kick (used an extra teaspoon and steeped longer). The pu’erh makes it through the milk as well,; not fishy, gives a pretty unique taste to a latte.
Overall quite good.
I think I can taste the age creeping into this one. I really shouldn’t put off finishing off my Simple Leaf teas. I love them to bits, but it’s best to enjoy them while they’re still good.
I always need the right mood for tea types. I need to be in the mood for a Darjeeling, or I don’t like it. I definitely can’t have them in the mornings. I enjoy them best in the afternoon, I think, after I’ve already had a cup or two of something else.
Still nutty—walnut—although less sharp than I remember it being. It’s still got a wine-like quality, but I’m obviously not the best person to be describing anything to do with wine, being a teetotaller.
As always, going more bitter as it cools, but not a dislikable astringency. Reminds me of the taste of the ‘skins’ on cracked walnuts. Clings a bit to the mouth afterwards.
Well, this is the last of this. I’ll miss it quite a bit. It’s delicious.
I plan to buy a nice big tin of it next year when it circles around again.
I’ve found that I really rather like it plain. It’s delicious, but not quite strong enough to hold up to milk. At least not for me, although I like “chai”-like drinks nice and strong. Still, the pumpkin and the spices—it’s very nice.