Review: Thunderbolt Tea Arya SFTGFOP1 2009 First Flush

Darjeeling Tea, Thunderbolt Tea Add comments
Vanessa’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"I first noted vegetal notes, but then I picked up on honey notes, followed by a buttery flavor, and now with my most recent sip, a nutty flavor was most prominent. This tea may be described as many things, but 'boring' is not one of them!"
Vanessa’s Teaview: 8/10
Other Teaviews: Steven gave it 8/10, Laura gave it 7.25/10
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thunderboltfirstaryaThunderbolt Tea specializes in Darjeeling teas and has a fairly impressive array of first flush, second flush and autumn flush darjeelings. The Arya SFTGOP1 that I sampled today is a 2009 first flush tea. The dry leaves are various shades of green, with an occasional twig thrown in for good measure (or perhaps more likely accidentally tossed into the mix). When brewed, the leaves open to reveal their light green color and they produce a pale liquor, although it was a bit darker than I expected for a first-flush Darjeeling. This is a complex tea and, as a result, I am struggling with putting together the words to describe it. This seems to be one of those teas whose flavor changes with each sip. I first noted vegetal notes, but then I picked up on honey notes, followed by a buttery richness, and now with my most recent sip, a nutty flavor was most prominent. This tea may be described as many things, but 'boring' is not one of them! The aroma of the liquid is equal parts grassy and flower (although interestingly I hardly picked up on any floral in the flavor).
As with most first flush Darjeelings, this tea seems to have the potential to become bitter. I controlled the water temperature and infusion time as directed on the Thunderbolt website and that proved to keep the astringency in check. There was still a tiny little bite to the flavor, but nothing so strong as to be offensive. However, I do think that if this tea were steeped too long or if the leaves were to be scalded in too-hot water, the results could be unpleasantly bitter. Of course, this could be said of any first-flush Darjeeling and shouldn't be considerd a shortcoming of the tea as much as an inherent quality of this type of tea. All it means tis that the brewer must pay careful attention to details when brewing this tea in order to maximize flavor and minimize disappointment.
I would rate this among the better Darjeelings I have sampled, from Thunderbolt and elsewhere. This tea seems well-suited as a companion to reading the Sunday paper or other seemingly enlightening activities. Sadly, I cannot recommend that you purchase this tea because according to the Thunderbolt Tea website, this tea is already sold out. There's hope that next year's first flush harvest may be similar.

— To purchase Thunderbolt Tea Arya SFTGFOP1 2009 First Flush, 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.

Teaviews Member: Vanessa Vanessa
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