Leaf Type: Black (Darjeeling)
Where to Buy: Tea Horse
A beautifully bright fragrant rare tea from the Himalayan kingdom of Sikkim.
Learn more about this tea here.
What a lovely single estate Darjeeling! So crisp and bright tasting; it has a clean, uplifting flavor that is perfect for an afternoon pick-me-up … which is just what I need right at this very moment!
The aroma is pleasing with subtle notes of flower and fruit, I also detect notes of wood and gentle spices. This fragrance tells of what the flavor has in store, as I taste layers of flavor. The overall cup is so light and refreshing, it almost seems to sparkle on the tongue. No wonder Darjeeling is often called the “Champagne of Teas.”
This is a tea that benefits from a few moments of cooling off time after the tea has been decanted. When very hot, the flavors seem almost jumbled together, resulting in an overall taste that is crisp and delicious, but it is difficult to discern all the different facets of flavor within the sip. After cooling for about three minutes, though, those layers of flavor really begin to come to life, ready to reveal themselves.
Up front, I notice a lovely flowery note – not a sharp floral tone, its more like a soft, sweet note that melds almost seamlessly with a wood-like tones, evoking thoughts of a tree in bloom. Beneath this flavor I notice a gentle, warm set of ambiguous spices which lends an exotic touch to this cup.
In this Darjeeling, there does not seem to be a strong “muscatel” presence … at least, not at first. Instead, I detect a cleaner, lighter fruit tone, tasting a bit like a finely filtered apple juice, crisp and sweet. It is quite faint, really, as if maybe a drop or two of the juice were added to the cup. However, as I made my way to mid-cup, I began to notice a slight muscatel-esque taste emerging. These fruit notes never really become distinctly pronounced, though. Very soft and clean, in keeping with what seems to be the overall theme of this tea.
Also keeping with the clean taste, the astringency seems to cleanse the palate. The aftertaste is equally as clean, leaving only hints of what was tasted during the sip: whispers of flowers, slightly woody, insinuations of fruit, and a dash of spice.
This is one of those teas that you want to enjoy on a quiet afternoon. It is a contemplative cup that restores you as you explore its many layers of flavor. A truly wonderful experience.
Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Rare Tea Republic
This excellent first flush tea delivers a rich liquor with sweet floral notes and creamy undertones. Hints of juicy pineapple are apparent in this well balanced selection. Plucking date: April 19, 2011.
OK, let me say it right now. I’m LOVING Rare Tea Republic. First of all, their packaging is really cool. Not necessarily the box that it was shipped in, or even the pouches that they packaged their samples in. It’s the “packing peanuts.” That’s right. I saying I love their packing peanuts. They aren’t the typical Styrofoam peanuts, or even the new biodegradable cornstarch peanuts… these are little, light-weight (cardstock weight) cardboard bits that have been folded into a dimensional triangle. I love them because they ARE biodegradable, and beyond that, they’re even recyclable and perfectly acceptable to toss into the recycle bin! But, I plan on re-purposing them and turning them into a holiday decoration of some sort (add that onto my list of art projects!)
And… that’s just me excited about the packing peanuts! I haven’t even gotten to the best part about Rare Tea Republic – their TEAS! This First Flush Darjeeling from the Sikkim region is absolutely delightful. The freshness of this tea is apparent from the flavor: it tastes light, crisp and very fresh.
I would classify this as a medium-bodied tea because of it’s light-weight feel to the palate, but it offers an astonishing amount of flavor for a medium-bodied tea. So many beautiful layers of flavor to this complex Darjeeling: in one sip, I note floral tones, a hint of earth, a musky wood-tone, and an outstanding fruit note. Yes I can taste the pineapple as mentioned in the above description, but there’s something else too. Something that tends to be pretty important to those of us who love Darjeeling: Muscatel! Yes, I am getting that distinct muscat grape taste to this, but, there is a surprising smoothness to this too. I don’t taste much astringency, something that I generally prepare myself for when I sip a Darjeeling … it is quite unnoticeable in this cup.
This is an excellent Darjeeling – one that I would say stands out amongst even the best Darjeeling teas that I’ve tasted. In fact, I even rated it 100 on Steepster. Yes, it’s that good. I highly recommend it to those who like Darjeeling, and I would even recommend this to those who have tried Darjeeling in the past and felt it was not for them. I think this one can change your ideas about Darjeeling.