A sample from the Black Tea Sampler I purchased from Vahdam Teas. I’ve been drinking a lot of these samples lately, many of which are so similar to each other (single-estate Darjeelings) that I was having a hard time remembering which was which. I decided to go with something that I thought would be different enough from the other samples to be memorable.
Looking at the dried leaves, I found that they were mostly orthodox, whole leaves. There were quite a few gold tips in the sample—more than I expected from a breakfast blend.
I steeped 6 grams of tea in 12 ounces of near-boiling water for 4 minutes.
The liquor came out bronze or dark amber—very similar to the color of brandy. Very pretty.
The liquor didn’t have much of an aroma to it. What aromas it did have, though, were not anything specific—just like a generic black tea would normally have.
Tasting the tea, I found it had the wet rock taste I would expect from a second flush darjeeling—not the muscatel flavor of a second flush, but the wet rock flavor was there. This was confusing to me since, according to the package, this was picked in November. There was a very slight astringency to it, but not much. Other than that, I didn’t find any other outstanding flavors; I saw that other reviewers noted a malty flavor to it but I did not find that.
Overall, it wasn’t bad, but it also wasn’t great—it was good. It wasn’t what I expected at all from a breakfast blend—much lighter than how that type of tea blend usually comes. I expect a breakfast blend to hit me on the taste buds with a hammer and a shout and a caffeine rush arriving like a bullet train. This one was far too delicate for that kind of action—it was more of brushing the taste buds and squeaking out, “umm, hello?” And, rather than the bullet train of caffeine it was more like the speed of the Chicago Metra—slow moving, but eventually getting there.
NOTE: The sample I used was marked with a date of picking of November, 2016
Flavors: Astringent, Wet Rocks