86 Tasting Notes
I received a box of this tea from one of my tea-drinking co-workers (thanks, Tatyana!). We have been sharing our favorite teas with each other. This is what she and her husband drink regularly.
The dried leaves are very long and thin—tightly-rolled; very dark—black. It reminds me of other Ceylon teas I’ve had and enjoyed.
I steeped 9 grams of tea in 20 ounces of boiling water for 5 minutes. I followed-up with a second steeping of the tea for 7:15.
The color of the liquor was a basic kind of brown you get with most black teas. Very clear—not cloudy at all. Definitely a hearty color!
The initial aroma was of honey, which also translated into the tea. It has a pure flavor—no astringency. It carried the flavor well and was not overpowering. The second steeping did not work at all—this is a one-time use tea only.
Overall, it was very good and I would be glad to have this on a regular basis. It would make an excellent tea to have for breakfast each morning. I am glad to have been introduced to it and will be sure to keep an eye out for it in the future.
This tea was an all-around pleasure to drink.
The dried leaves were whole, mostly golden tips, and rolled well.
I steeped 4 grams of tea in 12 ounces of near-boiling water for 4 minutes.
The color of the liquor was like a wheat pilsner—very light, pale yellow.
The aroma was floral, but undefined further than that. The floral aroma translated also into the flavor, along with hay and a slight muscatel flavor.
Overall, it is an excellent 1st flush Darjeeling—one that I’d like to keep in stock on my shelves for days when I am in the mood for a 1st flush. Given the nature of the tea, though, I don’t think it would have a long shelf life. Plus, the price is a bit high for me to make this a regular brew.
NOTE: My tea had a date of picking of 08 April 2017
Flavors: Floral, Hay, Muscatel
Another sample from the black tea sampler from Vahdam.
I admit that I used too many grams of dried leaves when steeping this. My sample was only six grams, and I didn’t want to use a regular amount and not have enough left over to use in the future, so I steeped the whole sample: 6 grams in 12 ounces of nearly-boiling water for 3 minutes, 15 seconds.
The color of the liquor was a beautiful copper with red hints. It was nice.
The aroma was a sweet muscatel, which also translated into the flavor, along with the usual wet rock/mineral flavor I find with second flushes. There was also a bit of stone fruit in there—apricot, maybe?
Overall, it was a good tea, but not one that I would order on its own. There are other second flush (summer) Darjeelings that I’d prefer over this one. Maybe my opinion would be different if I used better quantities. :/
date of picking: June, 2016
Flavors: Apricot, Mineral, Muscatel, Stonefruits, Sweet, Wet Rocks
Another of the samples I received in my package of black tea samples purchased from Vahdam.
The dried tea leaves were very green—much greener than I expected them to be. I was surprised also by the color of the liquor when it was fully brewed—it had a copper-brown color, not the light yellow shown in the picture here and on the Vahdam website.
I steeped 11 grams of dried leaves in 20 ounces of near-boiling water for 4 minutes.
The aroma coming off the finished liquor was muscatel—again, not something that I expected from a first flush. This aroma carried over into the flavor, along with a light flavor of wet rock/mineral. Again—both more like a second flush than a first flush. But, the primary flavor of the tea was very vegetal—cooked spinach, to be more exact. It seemed more like a green tea than a black Darjeeling. It was good, but unexpected.
I don’t think I’d go out of my way for this tea again. The variety of flavors make it hard to pin down, so I can’t say that I’d ever definitely be in the mood for it. I had it before bed since the caffeine content was low, but it would be a good tea for any time of day.
Date of picking: 09 April 2017
Flavors: Mineral, Muscatel, Spinach, Vegetal, Wet Rocks
This was a Father’s Day gift from my family, so I have been excited to try it. They bought it at my local tea cafe which, as it turns out, only sells Art of Tea teas, so I will have to remember that for future use.
The dried leaves were well-curled, dark with lots of golden tips interspersed throughout. I found almost no stems in there. The leaves are broken—not whole, but that adds to the flavor, I’m sure.
I used my usual steeping measurements for black tea: 11 grams in 20 ounces of near-boiling water for 4 minutes.
The liquor comes out very dark—much like the teas of my youth. There is no astringency at all to the flavor. The primary flavors are both earthy and woody (wet wood?)—reminding me of what I’m told the better-quality puer teas are supposed to be like. There is also a very faint smoke flavor to it, but definitely more wood and earth than smoke.
Overall, it is a wonderful tea that I will be happy to have again. I don’t think I would’ve picked it myself if I had been shopping on my own since I usually stick with either muscatel/floral Darjeelings or breakfast teas and blends that have malt, toast, or honey for their primary flavors. This is completely different than my usuals but I really enjoyed it and may have to expand my purchases in this direction going forward. I am glad the family got this one for me — definitely an excellent choice!
Flavors: Earth, Smoke, Wet Wood, Wood
This was an excellent black tea which would be good any time of the day.
The dried leaves are attractive—small and curled well. They are dark—darker than most Assam teas I’ve had, but not as dark as the Kenilworth Ceylon that I have been enjoying recently. And this is what I was expecting the tea to be—something more like the Kenilworth Ceylon, with its dark liquor and strong flavors.
I brewed 9 grams of this tea for four minutes using 20 ounces of nearly boiling water. When the four minutes were done, I was worried because the liquor was much lighter than I expected it to be. It had the color of clover honey—goldish-brown but not nearly as dark as I expected. I was worried I didn’t use enough dried leaves.
The first flavors I noticed are honey and toast, with the honey flavor definitely being the strongest. There is a slight maltiness to it, but it is more toasty than malty. There is no astringency to it at all. The honey ends with a slightly different caramel or sugary flavor. It isn’t a heavy tea, like many of the Assam teas I normally have in the morning, but that would make this tea very good for any time of the day. This is definitely not similar to a breakfast blend or a pure Assam.
Overall, I am very happy with this tea and will add it to my regular rotation, I think. The caffeine level makes it good to start the day and the flavors are appealing. I might add another gram or two when I make it in the morning, but 9 grams for 20 ounces of water is a good amount for later in the day, since that ensures it isn’t too heavy.
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Caramel, Honey, Malt, Toast
Today was a sipdown of this one, sadly. It has become one of my favorites in the past few weeks.
I knew I was getting low but I saved just one final serving until I thought I was going to have something similar on my shelf. I saw that my order of a similar tea had shipped and was finally in my state, so I decided to have the last of this tea this morning.
After I finished the tea and got to work, though, I checked the status of my order and saw that it now says that the package needs to clear Customs before being released for delivery. Damn. They always say, “don’t count your chickens before they hatch…” :(
I had a sample of this this evening and loved it! I ordered a full shipment of the tea to brew again and see if I enjoy it as much a second time as I do now, but I really like it so far! I will have a tasting note with more details after I try another steeping (I don’t like doing tasting notes after only one attempt), but I hope my next shipment gives me more clarity. But, so far, it is an excellent second flush Darjeeling that I hope will be my “go-to” tea this summer.
More to come after a new steeping.
Went with a double steeping of this tea today—one for breakfast and one for my afternoon.
The dried leaves are very pretty: Whole, orthodox, rolled leaves with lots of gold tips.
I brewed 10 grams of tea in 20 ounces of near-boiling water for 4 minutes (first steeping) and 4 minutes, 30 seconds (second steeping). The brewed liquor came out to be a lovely red-brown hue.
As this is a black Assam tea, it had the expected malty aroma and flavor—not overpowering but good. There was also a flavor of toasted bread—not unexpected for an Assam. Very little astringency to it. Finally, with both steepings I noticed a very slight spicy flavor to it—very hard to pin down what spice, exactly, but I came to the conclusion that it was similar to nutmeg. I wasn’t expecting this at all, but it was very good!
Overall, this tea was very good. I am sad that this was only a sample so I have none left to try again later, but enjoyed this one immensely today.
Flavors: Malt, Nutmeg, Spices, Toast