Thank you to the teaguy for providing this sample. This one took a while to get a tasting note of because I struggled with it a little. I have never had a first flush darjeeling before and I brewed it wrong… twice… This is a bit of an unusual tea, its a very early spring picked tea and its less oxidized than most blacks, leaving alot of green leaf, but it’s not a green or an oolong, its a black tea. So of course I brewed it at close to boiling.. got very bitter and astringent, then I used a bit less leaf and took it down to 200, same problem… I looked up about first flush and found out 190 is the best brewing temperature to bring out the floral and fruity tones this tea is revered for. So here we are on take 3 of the tea…..
So first infusion using a yixing to make it a little easier to brew this as you can brew a bit harder in a yixing without getting astringency. Okay now this is what Ive heard about this tea. 15 second steep, 4 grams, 80 grams water at 190…. and now we got something nice, floral, fruity, grassy, and just a slight hint of that creaminess that you get in blacks. Very nice.
Second infusion a bit of honey comes out now, and it tastes a bit more like a black tea, the first infusion was very much a green tea almost , now the subtler dark notes are starting to come in. I like the way the flavor changes as it gets infused more, its also losing some of the astringency.
Third infusion oh wow… creamy golden liquor, creamy honey floral flavors. This is excellent… smooth, easy to drink. Its like a black tea but with the light notes of floral and fruit mixed in. Im now wondering if I should have rinsed the tea first to get rid of some of that early astringency because this infusion is wonderful!
Fourth infusion and I got many of the same flavors and notes and for a black tea this is steeping out really well over time. Im seriously impressed now. It got slightly darker at this point as well, dark golden but still not into the redish gold liqour of a black tea.
Im sure this will steep out for a few more infusions at least. Probably about 8 total.
This tea is wonderful, but its a bit finicky on the steeping, it has many properties of a green tea and that requires a bit of experimentation and testing to work through it, but that third and fourth steepings were absolute magic and made the wait and the work worth it.
I recommend this tea for anyone who likes first flush darjeelings and for those who dont mind putting in the work to get those wonderful flavors to come out.
Flavors: Astringent, Floral, Fruity, Grass, Honey