|"Bright and punchy, this is a high quality first flush with a lot of character. Nicely done!"|
My first attempt at brewing this tea failed miserably. I spaced out and didn't set a timer. The tea infused for probably 6 to 10 minutes and became quite astringent, with a heavy serving of bitter Brussels sprout-like notes in the finish. Based on past experiences with Arbor Teas and my colleague Geoff's review, I decided this was not an accurate portrait and started over.
Instead of using water that had come to a full boil as I did initially, based on the instructions of the package, I opted to steep a teaspoon of leaves in water heated to 205 degrees Fahrenheit for 2 minutes. These little adjustments paid off! A yummy toasted bread aroma permeates the brew. The reddish tan-coloured cup is now full of juicy muscatel, raisin, nutmeg, malt and toasted bread notes. As it cools, it takes on a brighter, almost lemony character. There is a hint of peppery bite to the finish, just enough to lend a pleasantly brisk tone to the brew. The sweet finish lingers on and on, infused with honey and melon notes. The body is almost syrupy and can easily take the addition of milk and sugar, although I preferred to drink this flavourful tea plain. After 3 minutes, a second infusion of this tea is well worth it, still being pleasantly brisk and lemony, with a slightly dry, sweet, malty finish.
The leaves are very potent and fairly finicky. I didn't pick up on the promised floral dimension of this tea. However the thirst-quenching combination of lemon, muscatel and melon notes more than makes up for its absence. I would recommend this engaging tea as a cup for sipping, as it requires (and deserves) one's full attention. Bright and punchy, this is a high quality first flush with a lot of character. Nicely done!
— To purchase Arbor Teas Makaibari Estate Darjeeling 1st Flush Black Tea, 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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