|"Complex and refreshing. Tasted different with almost every sip."|
So far, everything I have tasted from Golden Tips (GT) has been wonderful--especially their Darjeeling. However, they advertise Darjeeling teas as having a "muscatel" quality. Since muscatel is a desert wine and a variety of grape, I wondered what that really meant when it came to tea. As much as I have enjoyed these teas, I have never encountered anything grape or wine-like in a cup of Darjeeling.
According to tea reviewer and merchant "Tea Lula," the muscatel characteristic presents itself as an " impossible combination of grapey fruitiness and a yeasty, buttery, fresh-baked brioche aroma. " Wikipedia says the flavor is a "musky spiciness."
Any tea site I perused said the muscatel experience in a tea is rare and unmistakable. Few knew what caused it. Author Bruce Richardson, (The New Tea Companion, The Great Tea Rooms of America, and more,) reported that the flavor is ingrown-- a product of 100-year-old tea bushes, originally from China. It is a feature, his article continued, that newer, clonal bushes cannot muster. Tea Lula, and several chat room sites, said the flavor comes from (harmless) chemicals excreted by green flies!
I'll be on the lookout for that elusive, muscatel quality because so far, I haven't encountered it. Still, GT's Jubilee Tea was magnificent. It had a light, golden color in the cup, and an unmistakable lemon scent. The flavor, too, was lemony, but extremely mild. I prefer a much stronger tea, so I steeped it longer than the recommended three to five minutes. The flavor became more malty, but retained its astringency. This tea was so complex, each sip seemed to possess a different flavor. But all ended with a pleasant, citrus kick. Rarely is a hot drink so refreshing. I rate it a 9.
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