91 Tasting Notes
“Autumn Flush: The Best Darjeeling Tea You’ll (Likely Never) Taste” smugly proclaimed an October ’16 Tea Tuesday NPR story. Boulderdash! Shame on you NPR. This plain old Virginia boy has just imbibed the autumnal nectar of the Darjeeling gods!
The dry leaf had a sweet, sugarcane aroma with a suggestion of dried fruit. I used a rounded teaspoon (1.25 tsp) to 8oz of spring water. I use only spring water for fine Darjeeling. The suggested steeping time was 2-3 minutes. I steeped for 2 minutes and 45 seconds at the recommended temperature of 95C. The result was a very richly flavored Darjeeling. There was a red wine sweetness reminiscent of a fine dessert wine with notes of dates, black figs and wildflowers. Positively splendid! Hands down one of the greatest Darjeelings I’ve ever had. And NPR said it would most likely never happen. Ha! Piffle! Stuff and nonsense!
I love What-Cha Teas. They are simply the best! Very fast international shipping. Plus a much appreciated kind and thoughtful note from Alistair, who happened to mention that Red Thunder Darjeeling is one of his personal favorites. He also included a generous sample of a Nepali tea that I cannot wait to try. Thank you, Alistair!
Flavors: Dates, Fig, Flowers, Red Wine, Sugarcane, Sweet
I happened upon this one at my local tea shop this afternoon. I’ve been experiencing the GI joys of diverticulitis and recently read that green tea can be helpful for that condition. Green tea seems to be quite the panacea, effective for a multitude of miseries.
What a wonderful medicinal – No spoonful of sugar needed to help this medicine go down!
The dry leaf smell is sweet and mildly floral. As the tea steeps the aroma is very strongly evocative of oolong. The flavor too suggests oolong, along with floral notes of chrysanthemums and wildflower blossoms with a bit of honey. There is a mild vegetal note – Just enough to remind you that it’s a green tea you’re drinking.
I was a little leery about the 190F brewing temperature, but no bitterness. I used 3 generous teaspoonfuls for a 16 ounce pot and steeped for four minutes.
Yunnan Orchid Green is a lovely green tea – One of the very best I’ve had. My tummy feels better already.
Flavors: Flowers, Honey, Sweet, Vegetal
Oh my! This is a delightful Assam tea. I’m getting lots of sweet stone fruit flavors of bright cherry and deep, ripe plum. It’s pleasantly malty and smooth – Very smooth. There are no bitter notes or rough edges, only a pleasant astringency typical of Assams. Overall the tea was creamy and sweet. I detected a smidge of cocoa.
For those who are Assamaphobic, this Assam would be a safe choice – Sturdy, but oh so gentle and completely delicious!
Thanks for the sample, Josh! I loved every sip!
Flavors: Cherry, Cocoa, Creamy, Plums, Smooth, Stonefruit, Sweet
When I was in Paris a few years ago, right before bedtime I would head to the little cafe around the corner from my hotel to people watch and wind down with a cup of chamomile tea. It was very good chamomile tea that I often drank with a sweet. I learned that chamomile tea is especially good with just about any French pastry! By the end of my stay the waiter would see me, smile and exclaim, “Ah! Monsieur Chamomile!” Happy memories!
Anyway, this tea is absolutely the best chamomile that l’ve had since then. It’s appley sweet like chamomile is supposed to be. No off or bitter flavors that I have encountered in lower quality brands. It’s organic too. If you’re a Monsieur or Madame Chamomile like moi you will not find better! Now, maybe un petit peu de chocolat. Bonne nuit mes amis!
Flavors: Apple, Sweet
A poor man’s Darjeeling. This British legacy tea treasure has significantly more muscatel flavor than even the venerable (and expensive!) Jungpana Estate second flush Darjeeling that I drank yesterday evening, and it’s half the price!
As it steeped, the aroma was actually a little reminiscent of Jade Tieguanyin oolong. The taste was mildly floral and subtly sweet, with lemony notes and a forest hint of pine. This high grown Ceylon is quite like a fine first flush Darjeeling – Margaret’s Hope first flush, one of my favorites, pops to mind. There was just a pleasant bit of astringency. Although it’s light bodied, Lover’s Leap Estate Ceylon stood up beautifully to my vegetarian Hungarian chicken paprika and noodles, Italian green salad with extra garlic onion dressing, and dark chocolate eclair dessert of my Sunday supper.
This second review of Lover’s Leap confirmed my findings of the first – What a delightful, delicious Darjeeling double!
Flavors: Floral, Forest Floor, Muscatel, Pine, Sweet
Viennese Earl Grey is the smoothest EG I’ve ever had. The bergamot is perfect – Not overpowering or perfumy at all. The Darjeeling base is wonderfully fruity. Indeed, it compliments the citrusy bergamot fabulously, adding a bit of sweetness. This medium body tea stood up well to a bit of milk and honey – Not that it needed any! I was just feeling a little decadent this Saturday evening.
Based on a blend by Demmers Teehaus in Vienna, Austria, this Teutonic take on the British classic is definitely my new go to EG. Heavenly with my chocolate chip cannoli for desert!
Flavors: Bergamot, Citrusy, Fruity, Smooth, Sweet