Review: Canton Tea Co. 1st Flush Darjeeling (Giddapahar China Delight)

Black Tea, Canton Tea Co., Darjeeling Tea, Single Estate Tea Add comments
Geoff’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"After a quick swish-around from cheek-to-cheek (like mouthwash), I picked up a muscatel note; more in line with a grape wrapped in ginger, though. Quite alluring."
Geoff’s Teaview: 9.3/10
Other Teaviews: Vanessa gave it 6.5/10, Bryan gave it 5/10
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I knew very little about the Giddapahar Tea Estate prior to trying this, yet I was already familiar with one of their wares - the Giddapahar Musk, which was one of the most perfect second flush teas I ever tried. Also known as "Eagle's Cliff", Giddapahar is a family-owned outfit located on slopes prone to mist-shrouding. Canton Tea Co. describes this as perfect sub-tropical conditions for the Chinese tea bushes that Giddapahar cultivates. Given their expertise on all things/teas Chinese, I wouldn't doubt their word.

This had all the terrific trappings of a first flush Darjeeling. The leaves were a bouquet of greens and browns that gave off a pungently mixed-spice and floral aroma. Inhaling it was an experience all its own; the aroma of jasmine, caramel, jalapeño, and grapes. I didn't realize how much I'd missed this. My poor nostrils hadn't whiffed a Darj this strong since the Musk last January.

Brewing - as recommended by the Canton Tea profile - called for water brought to a near boil (90C/194F), 1 tsp per cup of, and a two-to-three-minute steep. I already knew this from past Darjeeling brew-ups. I went with a teaspoon in an 8oz cup for two-and-a-half, a touch lighter since it was a first flush.

To say this brewed light would be an understatement. A part of me thinks I should've gone with a three-minute infusion instead, for the color was a bright, medium gold. I was relieved to find that was how the Canton site described how the liquor should look. All was well, then. The aroma was spicy, malty, with a shade of unsweetened caramel. There was a light, bitter kick on tonguedown, but that translated into an overall creamy foretaste. After a quick swish-around from cheek-to-cheek (like mouthwash), I picked up a muscatel note; more in line with a grape wrapped in ginger, though. Quite alluring. The aftertaste ended a little dry, but not overpoweringly so; more in line with a good high-altitude oolong.

While the leaves for this are plucked in the spring, it's odd to say that it makes a perfect fall beverage. The color of the liquor, the spicy-hop taste, the mid-morning kick in the pants, all scream "Autumn" to me. This made me want to stroll through falling leaves with a teacup in one hand and scissors in the other. What can I say? I make-believe dangerously.

— To purchase Canton Tea Co. 1st Flush Darjeeling (Giddapahar China Delight), 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: Geoff Geoff
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