I will admit, while most consider Darjeeling the “champange” of teas, it has taken me a long time to appreciate them. Part of it was just my tastes lie elsewhere (Oolongs!!) and coninue to evolve, part of it may be the hype some darjs get never lives up.
So when I went tasting/shopping at Wittard of Chelsea a couple of weeks ago in London – I was suprised that I walked out with mostly darjs. This one is from the Tukdah estate, a 1st flush super grade, whole leaf masterwork. The loose teas itself looks more like a full green or an oolong, and has that sweet/vegetal smell of short fermented tea. 1st flush = 1st picking of the year, and these are the tenderest, most delicate buds and leaves – usually that need short fermenting, and moderate drying.
A bright yellow green in the cup, with a delicate perfumey/tangy nose common to darjeeling, but also a light grassy green hint. The taste is soft, tangy, brightness – floral in the warm spring morning way. After has just a hint of astringency, with a light mouth feel. This is why Darj heads wait for spring 1st flush – this is pure heaven in a cup, and begs your finest bone china, and cucumber sandwiches and a dear friend to drink it with.
4tsp tea (this is a very loose teas) in 16oz boiling water 4 mintues in my “good” teapot.