Thunderbolt TeaEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
I found this tea last year with a slight hole in the bag which I taped closed, and have been drinking occasionally. After checking my old Thunderbolt Tea orders, I’m pretty sure this is the correct tea. I cannot be 100% positive because the label is missing from the bag.
Dry leaf has almost no distinctive aroma. Wet leaves have a nice green/brown hue which surprisingly still exhibit a somewhat refreshing, somewhat minty, vegetal, and wood-like aroma. Cup color is medium orange, with a refreshing, even (about 50/50) mint/wood-like aroma. Surprisingly still holds a decent Darjeeling flavor: crisp mint, lightly vegetal (maybe asparagus), with woody qualities in the background. Typical Darjeeling bite that I find enjoyable—stays on my palate. :-)
This holds quite a bit of good flavor despite being old. It is from the 2009 or 2010 Darjeeling First Flush season, which occurs in the Spring—April/May. While flavor is still quite good, this tea is old & stale, and only a decent shadow of its former self. I am saving the rest for iced tea, and will review this tea in a future iced tea, Cold Brew Review. :-)
Cupped: Tuesday, February 7, 2017. Reviewed: Wednesday, February 8, 2017.
This review is really more about storage than the tea. I bought this tea as part of a too-large order in order to meet a high minimum order for free shipping (I’m a sucker for free shipping).
When the tea arrived, I realized I had just purchased about 3 years worth of Darjeeling. Fortunately the teas came in those vacuum-packed bags. I picked two of the bags to set aside and drank the other teas, which were really, really good. Being stupid, I kept buying Darjeeling and putting off opening the vacuum packs until today, about 3 1/2 years after the tea was picked.
So, the tea was surprisingly good! The nose had a light floral character that I only see in the best of the first flush teas. The taste was a sweet straw with delicate flavor, and floral highlights. The taste transitioned smoothly into a long, soft finish.
The second steep has many of the same features as the first but added a bit of tannin, which made it less pleasant.
I feel much better since I have another 10-15 ounces of various teas sitting in the vacuum bags. I take one out whenever I feel the need to buy tea. Sometimes it helps me resist the urge.
Today’s first pick from the T&C TTB. People on Steepster seem to really love this one, so I gave it a go for myself. Something must have gone terribly wrong because for some reason, I got a whiff of something that smelled like egg? And then after that, I just couldn’t get the thought of egg out of my head while I was drinking the tea. I did definitely taste the malty flavor everyone talked about, though. That was nice, but the whole time I was too distracted by the weird egg smell that I don’t think I appreciated this tea much. I won’t leave a rating since no one else seems to have had this problem, but I think I’m a little too scared to give it a round 2.
MzPriss’ Unflavored Tea Box – Tea #15
This was a decent Darjeeling, though they usually don’t go well for me. I’d say I like this one more than most. Oddly enough, this one tasted like butternut squash, just like the other tea I tried today. Creamy buttery butternut squash with hints of lemon. I probably should have used two teaspoons of 1 1/2 but I didn’t want to hog all of the leaves from the teabox… and my basket steeper was occupied anyway. I wish I had more to say about this one.
Steep #1 // 20 min after boiling // 2 1/2- 3 min
Ah full and creamy for a first flush, similar to the second flush yet lighter.
The apple is still there mixed with a dry sweetness. Light astringancy.
I would say this tea is somewhere between first and second flush. Very nice, Arya continues to impress me with their consistant level of quality.
Now of to the gym for a late workout… been out enjoying the summer!
not 100% sure if this is the exact tea I’ve got in my cup, but Sil sent me a sample via OMGsrsly of Giddapahar SFTGFOPI (SPL) Musk 2nd Flush. It’s been sitting in the depths of my sample bin because, in all honesty, I’ve been TERRFIED to try it! I’m SUPER anti-darjeeling. I treat it like a delicate green, doing shortish steeps at low temperature, and I STILL end up with a hellishly bitter cuppa. So I tend to avoid darjeeling like the plague.
I made a cup of a sample I got from Fjellrev earlier, that had a darjeeling base, and I couldn’t finish the cup. I barely got halfway through it before giving up. It was super depressing, actually.
So I poked at my Facebook groupies, looking for advice as to how best to make a cup of this Sil sample. I got some great suggestions, and have made the cup but….
it’s sitting on my desk, in front of me, ready to sip, and I’m too scared to try it. It SMELLS lovely, a bit earthy, but with an underlying crispness. It’s a lovely coloured liquor and crystal clear. I just can’t convince myself to try it.
I’ll report back shortly, assuming I don’t end up dying from “Attack of the Bitter Tea”
Wow, I’m actually REALLY pleasantly surprised by this one. It’s definitely not what I expected, given that it’s a darjeeling. It tastes a bit more like a very short-steeped yunnan. It’s on the cusp of astringency, as if I pulled the infuser out milliseconds before the bitterness would’ve come out, and it dried out my mouth slightly, but in a good way, if that’s even possible?
I have enough leaf for a cup or two more, and I definitely won’t be afraid to steep it now!
Now, if only I could find MORE darjeelings like this one to add to my collection…
This one came my way from KittyLovesTea – thanks!
What an interesting black tea. It’s so creamy! I love creaminess in teas. The flavour is creamy and thick, yet also light. There’s a very subtle nutty flavour in the background as well. Somewhat reminiscent of a green tea minus any vegetal flavour. I’m so happy I got a chance to try this one.
I started off the day so productively with studying, and I’ve really lost some speed on that front. However, on the upside, I’ve gotten rid of a bunch of stuff on Kijiji hah. Yay for ridding my life of clutter.
Holy Camellia. I cold steeped this while I was at school/rehearsal, and I just finally got to drink it. I think I owe Moraiwe my first-born for giving me the sample. There are so many different layers of taste to this tea, it was a enlightening experience. I can taste fruitiness, and some deep dark layers of mystery darjeeling-ness. I love that taste. Someone needs to find a name for it.
This was especially perfect cold today. My school had service day with an all-boys school, probably to try to get us to be social (?). We were packing meals to send to Africa, and we actually did 20,000 meals, each feeding 6 people! It was great. However, I succumbed to my feminism and my need to show off. At the same time. When the leader called for “Boys to carry the bags of rice and soy around and refill the bins. Well, maybe girls too. I mean, anyone is fine.” I knew had to carry these bags around, just because I knew I could do it. It also meant that I wouldn’t be bagging meals with some random group of people for 1.5 hours. But my arms are SO TIRED. I did however get to see 4 boys lift a bag of soy that I managed to carry around by myself. So that was nice. However, after calling “line” about 50 times during rehearsal and then practicing sword fighting (ugh hand-to-hand on the floor why do you do that.) this tea was really nice to have.
Thank you so much Moraiwe for this tea! Also, the other teas that came in this here package, which are many in number… I was a tad bit overwhelmed when I opened the package. I’m super duper excited to try all of them. Anywho, I read her tasting note and it seems that we have almost exactly the same impressions of this tea.
Like she says, it’s very nuanced, with floral notes and then a good bit of muskiness. I found it to be quite earthy, which is good because I like super earthy tasting Darjeelings. For me, it was more astringent than it seemed to be for Moraiwe, probably because I’m lazy and it’s about 10 degrees outside so I didn’t cold steep it like she did. I want to do that with the rest of the packet though.
Also as Moraiwe says, it has a great second steep, obviously slightly muted but really not that different, albeit a bit earthier. It’s also gorgeous dry, always a plus.
In other news: my school’s doing RENT this weekend, and I’m SO EXCITED to go see it. I know that it will be fabulous, and I’m actually going on thursday and then ushering on Friday so that I can see it twice!
Brewed in Banko-yaki kyusu with water from Kunzan tetsubin.
When i feel the urge for a green tea this is my given choice! Sweet and vegal with a bit of butter and a very slight astringancy. Comforting :)
6g / 360ml banko-yaki kyusu, water kron kunzan tetsubin
2m @ 70c
Wonderfully sweet, floweryness mixed with som vegal and very slightly buttery and nutty notes.
Pure wonder just as the -12 harvest. The dry leaf is full of silver hairs. Beutiful!
My favorite non steamed green this year as well.
Wonderful as always.
Full of applepeel! Slight astringancy, clean complex well balanced flavour.
Ah, this was a nice finish after a hectic day. loads to do at work and a killer workout @ the gym ^^
Thank the heavens for tea.
Yesterday me and some friends had our dinnerclub where we take turns bi-weekly to invite each other for dinner. My friend treated us to some peppermint herbal tea picked from her garden. Reminded me of warm childhood memories. Must get peppermint!
170ml Mumyoi Yaki Kyusu
Came home late last Night so only had time for a Quick testbrew of the
Retains heat very well, stronger body. Will do a comparisonbrewing later with water
New steepster isnt so iphone friendly. :/
3g / 200ml glaspot
3m @ 100C
I always have high expectations on Arya estate teas. They seem to have a talent for producing superb teas.
The cup is bright golden and reminds me of forest honey. The smell is slightly nutty and sweet.
First sip reveals a veru clean flavourfull taste. the body is free from any dry grainyness. complex flavours, thee is some menthol/herb backed by nuttyness and a slight wellbalanced astringancy. This is by far the best second flush tea i´ve ever tasted. It is sublime! Perhaps there is some notes reminding me of applepeel. The aftertaste lingers without dry notes, only some sweet applepeel and astringancy.
WOW my whole mouth feels refreshed!
Thank you Dag for putting this into the EU box.
It’s a creamy Darjeeling with nutty and floral delicate touches. It also has some sweetness but more in the background towards the after taste. While it’s soft there is a crispness about it, like a warm spring day that has a cold and crisp wind.
Overall it’s a delicious Darjeeling and one that I am honoured to have tried. I hope our paths may cross again.
An aptly named tea: truly a delight!
1st steep: Lovely stone-fruit smell with hints of honey and orange marmalade. The aroma is so good that I just smell the tea, not bothering to drink it! The taste is soft and full and continues the stone fruit flavors with an earthy undercurrent. The taste seems to grow in the mouth, leading to a very good, very long finish. The flavors changed subtly as the tea cooled, but in no way diminished in quality.
This is the way tea is meant to be. I should probably give this a score of 100, but the earthy flavors contain a hint of bitterness, and the stone fruit doesn’t carry all the way through the finish. Also, the cup finished with some bitterness.
2nd steep: Same basic flavors but more subdued.
This was another one serving sample I removed from Momo’s B teabox…. it seems I’ve been trying many of them lately (probably because they are sipdowns – I tried to take some of the blends out of the box that only one teaspoon left). Darjeelings like this are making me love them more, though this doesn’t have quite the flavor of the favorites I’ve tried recently. It’s light – maybe that is the difference between a first flush and second? I like this one, but it seems less full and complex as the others. It actually seems lemony and there is a bit of fuzziness from the leaves that I don’t love. Darjeelings are certainly diverse though, but I guess every type of tea is. Tough to describe this one!
Another Darjeeling from Moraiwe :)
Of the five darjelings I sampled this morning, I liked this one the best. The flavor is not heavy and doesn’t weigh-down my stomach the way 2nd flush darjeelings do. This one is light and pleasant with notes of pear. Still not a tea that I love enough to buy for myself, but I would drink it again.
This Darjeeling comes to me, courtesy of Moraiwe
This darjeeling is the first that has a notable difference in flavor profile from the few I had before (see my tasting note for Upton TD33 thurbo Est.)
It has the same muscatel flavor with the addition of a sparkling character, almost champagne-like. But as I said in my previous note, I’m not a wine person. Although I can vaguely recognize the quality of some of these characteristics, it’s not my thing.
Still happy that I have the opportunity to get familiar with darjeelings though.
Tea #2 from Another Traveling Tea Box. Moraiwe tossed this in the box for me to try because I said I was in sort of a tea slump and she said this always picked her up. I can see why. This was an interesting tea to try.
I haven’t really had good experiences with Darjeeling in the past. The first one I ever had tasted like musty old leather and really put me off it. I’ve collected a few from swaps and whatnot but I’ve never gotten the nerve up to try them fearing for another bad experience. After this one, I might just start dipping into them now.
Smelling the brew it’s got a rich sort of fruity smell which I wasn’t expecting. I just about stuck my nose in my tea trying to catch it, but then, my nose has been kinda stuffy/wonky with this new medicine I’ve been on.
Tasting it I’m definitely getting that musky sort of taste, but I also get a kinda green ‘pulling-weeds-scent’ sort of taste from it too. Which is a strange way to describe it, but it’s the first thing that comes to mind. It’s not an unpleasant sort of taste, but it definitely makes me sit and ponder and sip some more on it. Very little, if any astringency which I always like to find.
This is a very nice tea to drink straight, but I always have to add sugar to all my first time trying teas just to see. I have a feeling I might’ve added just a bit too much Truvia but it’s still definitely drinkable. The green/musky taste is toned down and I get more of a vague fruity taste now. Either way, it was a very pleasant cup to drink
This tea definitely makes me see why some people are absolutely crazy about Darjeeling. Personally it’s not a tea that I could see myself craving enough to keep much of around. But I’d consider keeping a few cups worth of around for those rare times I want a black tea that’s not malty (like I usually drink)
Edit – Did a second steep (because why not. Lol.) – 4:30min @195* – A bit more of a watered down taste and I’m getting a peppery sort of malty-ness now from the tea. Vaguely fruity and much more astringent now.
I wasn’t sure what I expected from this tea, but I love Darjeeling and I love oolong, so the combination seemed like a good idea.
My initial tastes were disappointing, as there was a strong vegetable flavor that I didn’t care for (the same reason I dislike many green teas). Today, however, the veggies seem very subdued. Instead, there are floral highlights with maybe a hint of mint. The aroma is delicate in comparison the the Thunderbolt Moonlight that I just finished, but probably more in line with what I expect from a Darjeeling.
The flavors are similar to the aromas, but the mouth-feel is a bit coarse and tannic, and doesn’t flow gracefully into the finish. Not bad, really, but lacking in elegance. A decent tea, but not special. To be fair, this is a “bargain” tea compared to other Thunderbolt offerings, and it serves that role nicely.
I think I need to play around with the water temperature since I’m seeing a lot of variation in my tasting notes for this tea, and also significant variation in temperature (depending on how impatient I am at the stove). If I find a pattern, I’ll update my tasting notes.
I’ve been negligent about writing reviews. I’ve had my Thunderbolt order for about two weeks and haven’t written about the teas yet. Saturday is a nice day to sip through the teas and write reviews.
The aroma is fairly powerful, but soft, reminding me of damp forest leaves. That flavor continues in the taste, but with hints of herb and fruit. I tend to think of Darjeelings as being delicate, but this is a big, powerful tea. There is some astringency but without bitterness. There is a smooth transition into a long and powerful finish without bitterness.
The previous time I drank this tea, I steeped at boiling temperature, which gave a more fruity flavor that I preferred. Good either way. I also noted that it tasted good at room temperature. I only drink iced tea in the summer, but I think this would make a good iced tea.