|"...dessert-like all by itself. A taste that might result from eating honey made by bees feasting on apricot and peppermint blossoms."|
There are definite benefits to being a reviewer for Teaviews, and teas like this one fall into that category. I'm usually a second or autumnal flush person, but this tea is just lovely. It's a pricey tea, at £15.00($25USD) for a tin of 125g.(4.5oz), but you expect to pay more for the best. I followed the brewing suggestions to the letter and all I can do is describe my experience.
"Place one teaspoon per 6oz. cup into an infuser, filter or teapot. Switch the kettle off, before it boils, when you hear the water rumbling. Add the hot, but not boiling, water and infuse for 3 minutes. Best enjoyed without milk." -- from the Tea Palace website
Dry leaf - Green, brown, large broken and unbroken leaves. Aromas of eppermint, cotton candy, cake batter, eucalyptus, flowers, a very "Darjeeling" character.
Wet leaf - Large leaves, green, gold, brown, very fresh looking. Apricots, flowers, a bit of frangipane. A hot sugar smell, but much more complex. A repeat of the dry smells, but muted by the heat.
Brewing tea - leaves floating at the top until I swirled them down at the end of brewing time. Tea is a lovely pale golden-green hue, light and very transparent, deceptive compared to the deep flavors it contains.
Tea (First Brewing) - Green hay, mint, freshness, delicate but very potent. A parade of different flavors, not competing with each other, but taking their turn to point out just how complex this tea is. A very green flavor, not like green tea, more like tasting spring in a cup. Deep, but in a very different way from a second flush tea. Tannins more present as it cooled off, but it was the tannins that are a part of the experience of a very complex tea. Not at all unpleasant. A sweet, minty aftertaste, dessert-ike all by itself. A taste that might result from eating honey made by bees feasting on apricot and peppermint blossoms. Hot tea on a 100+ desert afternoon, actually quite refreshing. I'll have to try this iced later on.
I've had this without and without organic sugar. Both work just fine for me. The Tea Palace folk don't recommend milk, and I'm with them. I think lemon would fight with it, too. This is just a very happy beverage, tasting of spring and freshness. Still, it is definitely not a green or an oolong, but a very full-flavored first flush Darjeeling. If this tea were a horse, it would be running at Churchill Downs, and prancing up a show, playing to the crowd.
Another reviewer suggested trying all of our teas both hot and iced, and I think that's an excellent idea. So, I brewed this one up and iced it. I followed the same brewing instructions except for using an extra 1/2 teaspoon of tea. It makes an intereesting iced tea! The first few sips were very disappointing, tasting only bitter and tannic, even just flat. After sitting for about 15 minutes, the flavors were starting to develop. At 45 minutes, it's delicious; the fruit and flowers are starting to peek out. Tannins are still strong, and I think that I would actually use less tea to brew it for icing, rather than more. I have to say, though, this tea is better hot.
After an hour, it's very good chilled, but I wouldn't waste this delightful tea on ice. This is such a lovely, lively, thoroughbred of a tea. If you are lucky enough to obtain some (Tea Palace is currently sold out), drink it hot and enjoy it.
— To purchase Tea Palace Organic First Flush Monteviot 2009, or for more specific information on ingredients or the story behind this particular tea, click here to go directly to the manufacturer's web site.
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