As some of you may know, my nose and mouth were attacked by potpourri, jam, and dirt last night (I conducted a lengthy gongfu session with Verdant’s 1985 Special Grade Qing Xiang Aged Tieguanyin), after which I immediately decided that I should drink something that restored a degree of faith in the tea merchants of the world. In other words, I experienced the wackness and ran screaming into the outstretched arms of an orthodox second flush Darjeeling. I think Thomas Wolfe may have been wrong about that whole not being able to go home again thing, but I could be taking that title too literally.
I prepared this tea Western style. I steeped one rather healthy teaspoon of loose tea leaves in approximately 8 ounces of 212 F water for 5 minutes. I kept this simple and did not conduct additional infusions.
Prior to infusion, I noted that the dry tea leaves emitted mild aromas of straw, grass, herbs, and Muscat grape. After infusion, the Muscat, herb, grass, and straw aromas intensified and were joined by aromas of roasted almond and toast. In the mouth, I experienced a lovely mix of toast, malt, cream, Muscat, roasted almond, grass, straw, lemon zest, and pungent herb (almost lemon balm and basil-like) notes.
This tea was very, very good. Sometimes it is so nice to return to something with which you are familiar. Prior to my experience with this tea, I do not recall ever trying a tea from the Steinthal Estate. I am hoping that those grassy, lemony, and pungent herb notes are characteristic of their teas. I feel that I could safely recommend this one highly to fans of orthodox Darjeelings.
Flavors: Almond, Cream, Grass, Herbs, Lemon Zest, Malt, Muscatel, Straw, Toast