|"Drink this in fine bone china and you'll be rewarded with a rainbow of flavors."|
The smell of the dry tea also promised a heartier than usual Darjeeling. I detected chocolate and citrus in these multi-colored, finely twisted leaves. I steeped them in near-boiling water for about 5 minutes, the maximum recommended by the Happy Earth (HE) website. I wanted to coax as much boldness as I could out of the leaves and into my cup.
Once wet, the chocolate aroma all but disappeared, leaving behind a delicate, lemony scent. The leaves became lighter and greener, looking not at all like a black tea. The taste, likewise, was nothing like a black tea, or a ruby tea. As usual, I was disappointed in Darjeeling. So I made some adjustments in preparation in an attempt to patch up my relationship with this "Champagne of Teas."
It seemed to me that a tea this delicate should be sipped from a delicate vessel. My usual, ceramic, cup-and-saucer just overwhelmed any flavor. So I got out my Tiffany blue, ultra-thin, bone-china tea set. What a difference this made. The fragility of the cup slowed me down to notice subtler flavors beneath the citrus top note. It was malty. It was fruity. It was astringent and refreshing.
"This is a beautiful tea that never fails to satisfy connoisseurs of Darjeeling," says HE's website. Well, connoisseurs of Darjeeling probably already knew the proper cup to drink this tea from. Dark, frothy, Assam drinkers like me need a little coaching to take us away from our clunky china and giant mugs. From my mug, this tea was downright bland. In the proper setting, it released a myriad of flavors. I rate it an 8.
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