Alright, I am finally back with another review. I took a break from the oolongs I have been working on to polish off a sample pouch of this Darjeeling. I have made it no secret that I am a huge fan of the teas from Margaret’s Hope Estate, so I had very high expectations for this tea. Unfortunately, this tea did not meet those expectations, but it was not a total waste. I found it to be a perfectly pleasant, serviceable Darjeeling.
I prepared this tea Western style. The first couple of times I prepared this tea, I only used a single teaspoon of leaf material and it tasted horribly flat and thin with virtually no aroma whatsoever. I began upping the amount of leaf I was using from there and found that 4 grams worked best for me. If you do not like stronger, heavier flavors, you can cut back on the amount of leaf used a little bit. Either way, a heaped teaspoon should do the trick. Anyway, I steeped 4 grams of loose tea leaves in 8 ounces of 205 F water for 5 minutes. Since I normally do not conduct additional infusions with Darjeelings, I did not do so here.
Prior to infusion, I did not pick up much of an aroma from the dry tea leaves. After infusion, I picked up delicate aromas of wood, straw, smoke, toast, nutmeg, and Muscatel. Given the name of this tea, I was expecting more of a recognizably grapey character. In the mouth, delicate notes of wood, straw, rose, toast, butter, malt, lemon, nutmeg, and smoke were underscored by minerals and a hint of Muscatel. The finish was buttery with mild malt, grape, and flower impressions.
As mentioned earlier, I was expecting more, so this tea was kind of a disappointment. I seem to not be the only person who feels this way either, as a cursory glance of previous reviews (when this vendor was still called Tealux) does not reveal warm feelings towards this tea. Still, there are worse Darjeelings out there, and I found that I could get decent results out of this one by playing around with the brewing parameters a bit. In the end, it didn’t blow me away, but I could still find some positive qualities in it. The name, however, still puzzles me. Why was it necessary to highlight such a minor component of this tea’s aroma and flavor profiles? I don’t get it.
Flavors: Butter, Lemon, Malt, Mineral, Muscatel, Nutmeg, Rose, Straw, Toast, Wood