|"Notes of honey, a bit of peachiness, what I can only call a non-specific summer-sweet-fruity fragrance. You can certainly smell elegant Darjeeling in its heritage."|
It seemed like a good idea to try this tea in the afternoon. (Get it? Afternoon at the Palace?) Unfortunately, my palace is in the desert, and today's weather really didn't lend itself to hot tea. 5:30pm showed 110 degrees outside my door, so I contented myself with appreciating the miracle of air conditioning, whilst examining the dry leaves of this tea. The dominant leaf aroma was good "sweet tea", reminiscent of the tea portion of a tea rose. It seems funny that that doesn't seem enough; after all, it IS tea, and good tea at that. Notes of honey, a bit of peachiness, what I can only call a non-specific summer-sweet-fruity fragrance. You can certainly smell elegant Darjeeling in its heritage. In appearance, black broken leaves, not a physically glamorous tea, but even homely leaves can turn into a beautifully nuanced tea.
I gave up and took a nap until time for Dodger baseball. It had dropped to the mid-80's by the end of the game (10pm), so I braved the heat of the kettle and gave it a try. I followed Tea Palace's brewing suggestions of 2 tsp. leaves, 12 oz. of fully boiling filtered water, and a 4 minute steeping time. The end result was a deep reddish amber liquor with some golden-green lights shifting through here and there. The undistinguished black leaves unfurled themselves into a muted brown calico, with reddish, greenish, even some golden hues. The flavor and texture showed the same subtle complexity. The overall character was a honeyed sweetness, but there was a deeper note, too, on the edge of tannic, but well controlled. Again, a good Darjeeling heritage is very evident.
I got distracted before I could brew my second mug, but it's tasting really great now with some toast here at 4am. Yes, I keep odd hours, but it works for me. I steeped the second mug for five minutes, with much the same results as the first time, albeit a bit muted. The same tea rose, honeyesque (if that's a word) character predominates, tasting more than anything like a "just plain good" tea. It tastes wonderful right now, when it's still quite warm outside, but 66ish here in my office. Living in the desert is very odd at times. With the drapes drawn and my tea and toast at my side, it's autumn in my imagination.
I can't say I would or wouldn't buy this tea, because there are a lot of good everyday teas out there. I can say that this tea is everything Tea Palace promises it to be. If you are a picky black tea drinker, in search of a classy blend, moderately priced for every day, you won't be disappointed by this lovely tea.
By the way, for those who need convenience, this tea is also available as Crystal Tea Sachets.
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