Saturday, May 25, 2013

A look at Darjeeling No. 2 : Golden Tips Kanchan View

There is something odd in my relation to Darjeeling teas. I like them, but find them unexceptional. It is pretty much the case of Bach's Cello suites: some people love them and think it the best music ever written or close enough, but no matter how many times I've listened to them or the different performers I've tried, I cannot get what the hype is about; and I really do dig Bach's music in general especially the keyboard music.

So today I give one more honest, open go at Darjeeling teas. The tea today is Golden Tips of Darjeeling Kanchan View and I have high expectations for it and for its companion a first flush (2012?) Highland which we'll check out next time. Both are estate grown black teas from the region.

As you can see, these are neatly packed and once  unwrapped it might be best to have a clean empty tin at hand to transfer the contents. Despite the company's name, there is no indication as to leaf grading. To my untrained eye, the leaves look longish.

Refilled a tin
The brewing time takes just a bit longer than usual. Smells good, but nothing extraordinary. Surprisingly, the maltiness with this one is very subdued. What we get instead is a moderate to bold bona fide plain vanilla black tea taste. No subtle aftertastes here. I guess many people like just that: a true, no frills tea, and this is how I find this one. There is a hint of metallic taste too.

However, when prepared as iced tea very distinct licorice notes emerge.

For my part I usually like some variation to the black tea theme without going overboard; something this one does not meet when hot. Notwithstanding I can still find a use for this one: it can be a trusty base for house blends as, being less astringent than the Lipton, lends a more ample space to work with flavorwise.

Not extraordinary. Good, yes, but not something to go looking for. Overall, the Lipton has an edge over this one. Next time let's see if the First Flush Highland helps change my mind.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

A Sherlock Holmes Story

After reading all of Conan Doyle's collected Sherlock Holmes stories I wrote one of my own for my high school's newspaper back in the day. Some years later I uploaded it to a fan-fiction site and now I publish it here to celebrate the blog's first anniversary. I should give it a revision, but couldn't resist posting it now. Enjoy.

WHILE GLANCING over some of my notes that contain many of the cases of my friend, Sherlock Holmes, I came upon one that distinguished itself for its brevity and unexpected turn of events. It was one morning in the spring of the year 1890, when I entered our lodgings of Baker Street and coaxed my friend  to take a walk with me down to Hyde Park. For three straight weeks he had not had a single case which was worth to mention and the scantiness of clients compelled him to accept my invitation.
When we returned from our stroll Mrs. Hudson, our landlady, informed Holmes that he had had a visitor that waited for him about an hour or so and had just left.
  “Tut, tut, my dear fellow,” said he, when we got to our sitting room “I feared as much. This is not the first time that your excursions make us miss a potential client. But--halloa! What do we have here?”