Review: Thunderbolt Tea Singbulli China Classic Super Fine (First Flush 2011 – Organic)

Black Tea, Darjeeling Tea, Orange Pekoe Tea, Organic Tea, Single Estate Tea, Thunderbolt Tea Add comments
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Thumbs up!"Worthy of a cup…or pint."
Geoff’s Teaview: 8/10
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This was the glorious second first flush tea I found completely by surprise in the recesses of my inventory. Yes, I actually need to use the word “inventory” now. I think five-plus boxes of tea warrant the need for that word. I digress.

Thunderbolt Tea mentions that Singbulli is best known for their first flush teas. So much so that even the other estates look to them as the trendsetter. I wasn’t quite sure if I’d ever tried anything from Singbulli; the name certainly sounded familiar.

The leaves were splendidly green – par for course with a lot of first flushes – but what was lacking was the requisite spice-grape-wilderness aroma. Sure, it was there, but it was quite understated in comparison to other 2011 first flushes I’ve had of late. This could mean that the brew itself was more understated as well or more prevalent on the winy note. Either way, it smelled like spring.

When brewing, I used my typical Darjeeling approach – almost-boiling water and a two-to-three-minute steep. However, instead of an 8oz. normal cup, I doubled it. It was my “morning”. I required a pint of the stuff.

The liquor brewed up gold-to-amber, not much of a surprise there, with a typical muscatel aroma. Added to that was a finishing scent of wood and caramel. On tonguedown, the flavor started off with a smooth delivery with a slight bite of bitterness. The top note was consistent with Darjeeling’s spicy strengths, but it tapered off a little too quickly. The lingering finish was an odd combination – reminding me of smoke and tulsi. It had a character similar to Runglee Rungliot’s (another Darjeeling estate’s) second flush.

A second attempt a few days later at thirty seconds less on the infusion turned up far better results. The second steep even tasted like oranges. How often does that happen?! I can’t say I didn’t enjoy it, but compared to some of exquisite first flushes I’ve had lately, it was a bit lacking. That isn’t to say that it isn’t worthy of a cup…or pint.

— To purchase Thunderbolt Tea Singbulli China Classic Super Fine (First Flush 2011 – Organic), 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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