I have to begin this review with a question. Has anyone ever noticed that first flush Darjeelings seem to be getting greener and greener? When I first tore into this packet, I was taken aback by how green the leaves were. Most were a dark silvery and/or brownish olive. This was clearly going to be a different kind of first flush Darjeeling.
Due to the appearance of the leaves, I was concerned that the preparation I typically use for first flush Darjeelings would not work with this tea, so I decided to follow the vendor’s recommended preparation method to the letter. I steeped 1 teaspoon of loose tea leaves in 8 ounces of 175 F water for 5 minutes. I did not attempt any additional infusions.
Prior to infusion, the dry tea leaves emitted interesting aromas of guava, pineapple, mango, bee balm, and lemon balm. I did not pick up much in the way of Muscat. After infusion, the previously described aromas greatly intensified, though I was now able to pick up a subtle Muscat presence. In the mouth, the tea immediately produced a rush of lemon balm and bee balm flavors. Notes of mango, pineapple, guava, Muscat grape, and ripe papaya balanced by a touch of cream soon followed. The finish was very smooth and fruity, allowing lingering impressions of lemon balm, mango, papaya, Muscat, and pineapple to mingle.
This was an odd, though very satisfying Darjeeling. I had heard that there was a move toward sweeter, fruitier, lighter first flush teas among some estates, and I am assuming that this tea is an example of that trend. I have enough of it left to see how it reacts to a higher water temperature, so I will probably try this one again later and report back if I notice anything radically different. Definitely try this one. I wouldn’t call it the type of Darjeeling to reach for on a regular basis, but I think it would make a wonderful selection when something fruity is required.
Flavors: Cream, Fruity, Guava, Herbs, Mango, Muscatel, Pineapple, Sweet