Saturday, July 6, 2013

A Look at Darjeeling no.3: First Flush

Picking up from where we left last time with the Golden Tips of Darjeeling, today we taste the higher  grade  of the pair: the First Flush.  Golden Tips has plenty  premium teas for sale, but this one appears not be quite on that category though it is a bit more expensive than the Kanchan view and in a smaller package.  

I sent a message to the Golden Tips people through there website to know more about the teas I had with me (Kanchan, and First Flush) before review, but received no answer. Like the previous teas on this series, there is no indication of leaf grading.

So well. When opening the First Flush packet I expected to find something similar to the Kanchan in size and color, but instead I was surprised with almost silvery leaves. For a moment I thought that it might be white tea, but on brewing the first pot, I discovered that it was something quite out of my experience.  Not white tea definitely; but something  in between black and green that defies my precise identification. Gets close to an honest black, but doesn't quite get there on liquor aspect or taste. The brew color, in fact is quite clear with the color of fresh straw moving a bit into lemon.

However, the resulting infusion can be quite good. After half a dozen trials I've got to know this one better. It is delicate and sensitive to to brewing time. About 10% more of the usual black tea amount is needed to give it strength, while  a short infusion time must be followed. Around 3 1/2- 4 minutes yield the best results; a faint bitterness shatters the flavor if left any longer. Also, in my experience, it works better when brewed a cup at a time over a whole teapot. Can't explain this.

As said, the taste is delicate, yet not as faint as that of a white tea. No undernotes did I find. The Darjeeling maltiness is more present than in the Kanchan View, but still comparatively subdued.

So far, this has been the best Darjeeling of the ones I've tasted.


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