|"The fruity and nutmeggish notes didn't manifest 'til the 2nd infusion, which - at double the steep time - I thought was better than the first."|
Puttabong is a fairly well-known tea garden in the Darjeeling district of India. Further research lists it as a "census town", meaning it has a population of over 5,000. That is one large tea garden. American Tea Room touts this as being an "SFTGFOP1Q". Sure, to the untrained eye - such as my own - that looks like a prison registry. Unabbreviated, it means: Super Fine Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe. Basically, the tea grade. I'm not entirely sure what the "1Q" stands for, and no amount of Googling garnered any answers beyond math equations. I wager it has something to do with the quality.
Unlike the few other Darjeelings I've tried, this batch is almost entirely brown. Occasionally, I've run into Second Flush teas that still had an unoxidized green hint to some of the leaves, not the case here. The scent was spicy-tart, similar to others of its kin. I'm often reminded of Mexican food when I think of it. I have no idea why.
They recommend brewing it at 195F for three minutes. I didn't have the luxury of being in an environment where I could properly judge the temp. I was at work. So I poured a 12oz coffee cup of hot water, let it stand for a minute. Then I took one of my do-it-yourself tea bags, shoveled a heaping teaspoon of Puttabong, stuck a plastic lid on the cup, and guesstimated three minutes by cell phone clock.
It brewed to a medium copper, almost to what you'd expect from an Assam. The scent was like getting punched by blackstrap molasses. I felt a caffeine jolt just by the whiff. The flavor was quite pleasant; no bitterness on the tongue, no sense of having the moisture sapped from the palate upon touchdown.
If I had any tea-geeky gripe, it would be that - for a Darjeeling - it lacked a bit in the "nuance" department. The taste wasn't entirely complex, but nor was it run-of-the-mill. It was an exceptional cup o' Darj, just not the best. The fruity and nutmeggish notes didn't manifest 'til the 2nd infusion, which - at double the steep time - I thought was better than the first. This make me wonder how Puttabong First Flushes taste. I look forward to finding out.
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