|"When properly prepared, this is a really nice, very flavorful, Darjeeling. It is definitely for a true die-hard Darjeeling fan, but could also make a nice introduction to the world of fine Darjeelings for the newbie."|
The dried leaves are small, brittle, and broken, with a wide variety of green hues about them -- everything from pale near-browns to deep, deep evergreens to an almost-mahogany hue (and everything in between). The aroma has a surprising "Italian spice" aspect to it - like an oregano/thyme mixture (but with the obvious tea aromas as well).
I made the mistake of losing track of time with my first cup, and it steeped for 5 minutes. I also suspect that the water may have been a tad too hot -- Tea Palace recommends water that's just under the boiling point, but I would digress and use a slightly cooler (180-degrees) water. The result was not undrinkable, but definitely not the experience you want from this tea. A bitterness that dredged up childhood memories of snacking on raw rhubarb from the garden next door. Still I managed to down the entire cup.
Assuming I scalded the leaves, I ditched them and started fresh, this time with 180-degree water and a strict 3-minute steep. The results are like night and day. This cup was not bitter (at least not in comparison), and quite flavorful in a whole different light. The aroma in the cup has a sweet, honey-like presence to it, which is accented on the palette particularly with the introduction of oxygen. For the second infusion, I can't believe it, but I did it again -- losing track of time, this one over-brewed by 45 seconds. The results are slightly between the bitter and the sweet, but leaning more toward the results from cup #1. Timing is everything with this tea, apparently -- as is not surprising with Darjeelings, in general.
When properly prepared, this is a really nice, very flavorful, Darjeeling. It is definitely for a true die-hard Darjeeling fan, but could also make a nice introduction to the world of fine Darjeelings for the newbie.
— 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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