Review: Hooker Tea Company Darjeeling Double Malt

Black Tea, Darjeeling Tea, Hooker Tea Company Add comments
Dan’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"The name was intriguing, but I can't say the tea was reflective of something twice as malty as other Darjeeling's. Still, it is very fine indeed."
Dan’s Teaview: 8.8/10
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I guess it's not unreasonable to say that boutique tea shops and companies are now officially in-vogue. There are inevitably one or two in just about every sizable city in America with many of the bigger cities housing half a dozen or more. I believe Hooker Tea Company popped up in St. Petersburg FL in 2009, and has just expanded to a second store in Tampa at the tail end of 2010. They have a receiving warehouse that distributes the teas and products to both locations. Over Memorial Day weekend, 2011, I popped into the St. Pete location for the first time and was impressed - a hip coffee shop feel (board games aplenty, very clean and open space) with comfortable seating via tables & chairs, sofas, and a bar area. They serve delicious-looking desserts, possibly other things - but of course an entire wall full of great looking teas (and an opposing wall full of very nice modern teaware - including many items I have not seen before). It didn't hurt that the location was ideal: overlooking the bay, across from North Straub Park, and adjacent to my favorite English pub in FL The Moon Under Water.

My wife and I walked out with two different iced teas (their house-blended LVP was amazing - hopefully they add it to their site soon!), and a 2-ounce sack of Darjeeling Double Malt. I don't believe I have ever encountered a Darjeeling touted as a "double malt", so I was very intrigued. (However, a quick Google turns up several offerings - many with identical descriptions, so it's tough to tell what the origin is. My guess is that Kokomo Tea supplies Hooker Tea with this one). The name was intriguing, but I can't say the tea was reflective of something twice as malty as other Darjeeling's. Still, it is very fine indeed.

The dried leaf consists of the full range of Darjeeling hues - deep mahogany to light tans, muted green to roasted chocolate. A scant few stems, but mostly pure, rich leaf at just the right size of broken tips. A definite malty scent, but again, not doubly-so as the moniker would indicate. A bit of spiciness as well. A 3-4 minute steep is recommended by the purveyor - I've tried anywhere from 3-5 minutes and all cups have been very delicious.

The cup brews up just beautifully - a super-bright coppery amber in both the first and second infusions. A slight hint of citrus (orange, particularly) comes through amidst the malty astringency. A slight bitter bite on a 5-minute cup, but very quaffable, and possibly even more drinkable due to the intrigue from that tang. Additionally, the second infusion is not as satisfactory after a 5-minute initial infusion, so in all I would agree with a 3-4 minute range. I also made a pitcher of this tea over ice, with a touch of local honey, and I blew through 32 ounces of that in just under an hour. A double-infusion (4 minutes each) of 1.5-times the amount of leaf results in a crisp and refreshing summertime glass - highly recommended.

Overall, a sturdy, versatile and tasty Darjeeling from a great little shop that I heartily endorse. I'm looking forward to sampling many other teas from their vast selection.

— To purchase Hooker Tea Company Darjeeling Double Malt, 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: Dan Dan
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