|"I would hesitate to consider this a "true" Darjeeling, as its flavor profile is much more akin to a Yunnan, a sweet Assam, or a Nilgiri. Almost maple-y in flavor."|
The dry leaves are medium-long, wiry, and containing a mix of deep browns with lighter shades of tan. There are actually a fair amount of stems in the blend as well, which is unfortunate. Aroma-wise, this tea sets you up for the flavors ahead - pungent, sweet, and intriguing are three descriptors I would use. A backbone hint of wood-like character is behind a more prominent toffee-like smell, but also has the (and I know this will sound incredibly strange) odd allure of bad breath - but in a good way, if you can imagine as much.
Once infused, this tea manages to produce a nice cup anywhere from the 3 to 6-minute-plus range. Rich in flavor not unlike that described above, the caramel and malty notes come through nicely. I would hesitate to consider this a "true" Darjeeling, as its flavor profile is much more akin to a Yunnan, a sweet Assam, or a Nilgiri. Almost maple-y in flavor. Yet this tea doesn't quite reach the level of intensity or pure satisfaction as you might expect with those descriptors. Perhaps it has something to do with the expectation combined with the surprise of the flavor.
A second infusion stands up well, but not as much as the initial cup. And it stays tasty even when cooled completely, though the astringency factor increases. I imagine the caramel notes would take well to some cream, but have not dabbled in this myself. Overall, this tea is very tasty, totally drinkable, and satisfying, but seems to fall in the middle of many other teas near and dear to my heart which excel at what they do instead.
— To purchase Golden Tips Tea Namring Upper Second Flush 2011, 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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