Leaf Type: Green
Where to Buy: Shanti Tea
This rare Darjeeling green tea is cultivated at about 7000ft in the Himalayas, at the renowned Makaibari Estate, the oldest (est. 1859) and most respected tea estate in the world, and also the world’s first biodynamically cultivated tea garden. This exquisite green tea has a light amber color, a mild, natural aroma and subtle flavor, with delicate floral hints.
I have tried a few teas from Shanti Tea and one thing that I’ve noticed which remains consistent with every tea that I’ve tasted thus far is Shanti Tea’s dedication to delicious, high quality tea. This tea is certainly no exception.
I was surprised to see the dry leaves – they are LARGE! Most of the Darjeeling tea leaves I’ve seen up until now have been a smaller, cut (or torn) leaf, and while these leaves are torn, they are much larger than the small leaves I’m used to seeing when it comes to a Darjeeling. At first glance I would have thought it to be an Oolong. And that’s not the only thing that makes this different from a typical Darjeeling!
The leaves produce a clear, pretty amber colored liquor that is beautifully fragrant. The aroma is somewhat floral but there is also a somewhat toasty/musky/woody kind of scent in there too. It’s quite an interesting bouquet, bringing together feminine floral notes with a warm, masculine undertone.
The taste presents a lovely complexity to the palate, starting with a hint of flowery notes that taste almost jasmine-esque. The floral notes are soon joined by a toasty flavor that is somewhat nut-like, followed by the subtlest note of musky wood. About mid-sip, the slightest taste of sweet pear appears.
The flavor is light and refreshing, and so different from what I’m used to when it comes to a Darjeeling tea. I am used to black Darjeeling teas which tend to be crisp and light in flavor. This one has that crisp, light flavor too, but while a black Darjeeling has the muscatel that tends to come off as a sparkling, wine-like note, this one has more of a rich, toasted nut flavor. This one focuses less on the fruity aspects and more upon the rich, buttery nut taste. The muscatel is still there with this tea, but it is just … different. Deliciously, refreshingly different.
A beautifully complex Darjeeling that causes me to rethink what a Darjeeling is supposed to be. I like that!