Review: Thunderbolt Tea Goomtee FTGFOP1 Yellow Tea 2009 Second Flush

Black Tea, Darjeeling Tea, Orange Pekoe Tea, Thunderbolt Tea Add comments
Geoff’s Teaview Snapshot
Its OK"If I was given a blind test without knowing this was an OP, my first word would've been, "Oolong"."
Geoff’s Teaview: 6/10
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thunderboltgoomteeThis orange pekoe from the Goomtee Tea Estate was described on the Thunderbolt site as a bit of an experiment. Benoy Thapa - the voice behind Thunderbolt - even did an extensive blog entry about it. In said expose, he describes how it differs from most Darjeeling blacks in its flavor profile due to yielding a lighter brew, more in common with a green tea. To that, I agree with him.

There's absolutely nothing like it. At all. The "yellow tea" name is a bit deceiving, however. Chinese yellow tea is considered its own type - along with black, green and white - non-fermented, unoxidized, and nowhere near bitter. This Darjeeling with the same name carries the label and liquid color but an entirely different flavor profile. To even describe it makes my head hurt.

I brewed as I did any Darjeeling I've received thus far; 2 tsp in 16oz of water brought up to a boil, let stand for three minutes. The resulting infusion was indeed yellow, but the scent made an eyebrow cock. Some of the Darjeeling spicy caramel aroma was there, but it was overpowered by a general feeling in the nostrils...of roasted almonds.

The taste was even more bizarre. If I was given a blind test without knowing this was an OP, my first word would've been, "Oolong". The taste was medium-bodied, nutty, roasty, and slightly harsh. All traits I associate with a lower-grade oolong tea. That isn't to say I didn't like it, I just had no idea what to make of it. I encourage and condone tea experimentation wholeheartedly, but I think this needed a bit more time and consideration. It gets a pass on the "let's-see-what-this-button-does" scale, but in comparison to other Darjeelings, it falls short.

— To purchase Thunderbolt Tea Goomtee FTGFOP1 Yellow Tea 2009 Second 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.

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