Well, what a difference a flush makes! Still recognizable as a Darjeeling, with its muscatel notes, but having a more prominent nut flavor. It also has more caramel notes instead of the herbal notes of first flush teas.
First, full disclosure – I continue to gong fu brew these teas. This one was very finicky in this method. My first round I overleafed and the brew was extremely astringent. My second round I reduced the leaf ratio and flash brewed well into the 6th or 7th infusion.
The astringency comes from what I can only describe as a unripe/green nut sort of flavor that is woody, nutty, and bitter all at the same time. However, once you get your brews right, the bitterness is interesting and keeps you coming back, like a good cup of black coffee.
Beyond the nutty flavors, there are substantial grape leaf / muscatel notes, as well as some dark/slightly burnt caramel.
I’m sure the astringency and bitterness could be tamed by adding some milk and sugar – but with only 10g to drink from my sample, I wanted to really get to know the tea by itself.
Dry leaf – grape leaf, peanut shell. Secondary notes of sassafras, dried parsley, and chocolate. Hints of cherry cola. In preheated vessel – roasted nut, dark honey, tart and unripe raspberry, citrus.
Smell – roasted nut, grape leaf, unripe/green nut, dried date and fig, blackberry syrup
Taste – grape leaf, woody, unripe/green nut, astringent. Dark, slightly burnt caramel.
Occasional notes of woody spice – cinnamon stick, coriander seed. Tart red fruit and dried date in aftertaste.