Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Tea Merchant, Biodynamic Darjeeling

The Tea Merchant Description:
Our select high grown tea is hand picked, artisan processed, and brews a brisk, bright cup much lighter than other black teas. It is grown in high altitude steep slopes of up to 4000 ft. This tea is from the Makaibari estate in the Darjeeling hills at one of the last family-owned tea estates in Darjeeling, India. It is home to the finest high grown Darjeeling teas and the leader of biodynamic and organic permaculture.

A first flush tea, it brews a pink, light amber color, with fresh floral, apple-like character, and a slightly astringent finish. It is a rare treat to experience this 100% Pure Darjeeling tea outside of India.

This is my third sample provided by The Tea Merchant. My experience with Darjeeling is a bit limited. I have a bagged Darjeeling from Mother Parker with Saturday breakfast, and a few years ago, I used to drink loose Ahmad Darjeeling. I view the opportunity to taste this tea today as continuing education.

Removing a scoop of leaf from the bag reveals this is CTC (cut, torn, curled). That is not an indication of quality. It is actually a very typical production method for black tea. The scent reminds me of unscented pipe tobacco leaf.

Steeped for 3 minutes with almost boiling water resulted in a golden amber color brew that appears more orange as I pour. The sip is a bit different than I expected. It actually does have an apple like character. When hot it feels brightly tart (astringent?) on the sides of the tongue. This disappears as the cup cools. The apple flavor becomes more apple wood as it cools. Then the traditional muscatel flavors I was expecting begin to show through. At one point I thought I caught cinnamon hints. This seems a bit drying. A really nice cup with no bitterness. It has me craving breakfast.

Visit The Tea Merchant website.

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