Review: Thunderbolt Tea Risheehat Exotic Spring (First Flush 2011 – Clonal)

Black Tea, Darjeeling Tea, Orange Pekoe Tea, Single Estate Tea, Thunderbolt Tea Add comments
Geoff’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"When I brewed this up at work, the liquor color and aroma smelled like Bai Hao - yellow-to-amber-ish palette with a floral honey aroma."
Geoff’s Teaview: 9.6/10
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Oh, 2011 Darjeelings, how I love thee. Regardless of the political crap the region has been experiencing lately, this was a great year for their tea. The second flush produced one of the single best Indian oolongs I've ever tried, and I don't think there was one tea I hated out of the whole lot. The one estate that went missing in my sip-perusal, though, was one that got me started on Darjeeling in the first place - Risheehat. I hadn't tried any of their '11 offerings. Luckily, I had - not one but two - OPs to pry through. I started with the Exotic Spring.

I cut open the vacuum-sealed bag with a pair of kitchen scissors. Spice and leaf-smell exploded from the newly-torn opening like an aromatic smart-bomb. What an intense but wonderful scent! The leaves themselves were as first flush as they come - green-to-brown, forest-like, twisty and ready for steeping.

Brewing instructions weren't present for this tea, but I had a fairly good idea on how to go about it. Darjeeling first flush teas were a lot like oolongs in their specs - 1 tsp. in 8oz. of near-boiled water and a two-to-three minute steep. I went with a tablespoon of leaves in 12oz. of 200F water infused for three.

I'll be honest, I had to take the leaves with me on the go in a do-it-yourself teabag. It was sharing a pouch with another baggie of Bai Hao oolong. When I brewed this up at work, the liquor color and aroma smelled like Bai Hao - yellow-to-amber-ish palette with a floral honey aroma. I thought I had brewed the other bag by mistake. It was only when I tasted it that I knew I got it right. Straight spice and fruit greeted the tongue with glee. This was also less vegetal than other first flushes I've had, which bordered on green tea. The muscatel presence was definitely there and a bit bolder than the average firstee; more like a second flush in delivery. I guess I would call this a recommendation for Risheehat.

— To purchase Thunderbolt Tea Risheehat Exotic Spring (First Flush 2011 – Clonal), 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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