As you can see by the picture the leaves are well varigated multi-green and medium brown leaves, with a nice amount of white tips that are well twisted. The dry aroma is very fresh & sweet, smelling mostly like white chocolate, with mild spice note, & even more mild fruit aromas.
Steeping aromas were fruity & nut-like [akin to almonds] with a sweetness I attribute to white chocolate. Wet leaves themselves are mostly green shades, with lighter white tipped & light brown colors. As far as wet leaf aromas, there is a combination of light fruits & flowers, lightly minty and spicey [light peppery notes]. The leaves are large and well shaped for a FF Darjeeling.
The cup is a light yellow-orange color with rather mild aromas. So fresh & sweet, it smells lightly vegetal and nutty at the same time. The flavors on my palate are slightly deeper & still mild, with a vegetal quality and mild almonds. I cannot place the fruits that present themseves on my palate. I get frustrated sometimes when I’m at a loss of words. :// There is also a gentle spiciness and flowery quality on the back of my tongue. The elusive flowery bouquet is fresh and light-much like a distant flower garden ready to be enjoyed.
From start to finish this Sungma Darjeeling is great, & one of the best I’ve had the pleasure to drink! :)) There is also little to no astringency on my palate at 3:15. Sometimes, when a tea like this frustrates me, it is only because it is truly great. It is the beauty of the tea & the experience, that words cannot describe. I’ve accepted that and done my best, but sometimes words and descriptions cannot fully explain true beauty-even if you can reach out & touch it, or in this case taste it! :D
Cupped & Reviewed: Thursday, July 12, 2012.
I decided to add roughly 1 tsp to previously steeped leaves, and it was a completely different and delicious cup of tea. :)) [3:00 minutes at 195-200F]. While the tea was steeping, the liqour was sweeter, & also more fruity & nutty. In addition, the wet leaves had greater fruity, minty & vegetal qualities.
The cup color was still a translucent medium orange, with aromatics such as a heartier buttery sweetness, an enhanced almond scent, & more pronounced fruits. The flavors tasted were also deeper: fruits, nuts, butter & the spicy character. All of these flavors played on my palate, with a noticeable, pleasantly mild astringency. :)) Although not the case with this exemplary tea, when I prepare a second cup by adding leaves as noted above, sometimes the astringency can be a bit too much-even for me. :))
Each cup was delicious, with the first cup being more mild and elusive. The second cup was still mild, while being a little more savory, & I did enjoy the temperate, palate pleasing astringency. :))
Cupped: Thursday, July 12, 2012. Updated Review: Friday, July, 13, 2012.