Saturday, August 17, 2013

A Look at Darjeeling no.4: Ahmad

Today we close this small series on Darjeeling teas. What we have today are teas by Ahmad. As I said on a previous installment Darjeeling teas in the past have neither excited me or repelled me.

From what I seen, tea people are really nice  and those who sport the most knowledge, those that can be called connoisseurs, tend to get their kicks through quality and grade over added flavorings. I claim no specialized knowledge and I like to think myself as falling somewhere in between connoisseur and layman.

The first tea, the Ahmad Windsor Darjeeling, is in loose leaf form. Once again, no tea grading info. With this Darjeeling I attempted to informally test myself and see if I could pull out some of its hidden flavors. The result: I couldn't. This tea tastes like... jalapeno! Not spicy hot, but it has all the flavor in there. Wow! I knew that tea could have subtle flavors, but I never imagined something so blatant.   This must be an anomaly. But if you like unusual flavors, but dislike added essences and/or flowers, by all means consider this one.

At the same time that I received this loose leaf as a gift, I also got a tin of English Breakfast teabags from the same brand. The tin looks very nice on the shelf, decorated with embossed beefeaters and English guards, but the contents' only redeeming quality is its strength. It is not Darjeeling by any stretch (nor claims to). This one is probably sold as a tourist trap, leading the unwary buyers to believe that they are getting a genuine English tea experience from their purchase. Talk about two opposing results from the same brand name.

Closing the series now, Darjeeling are fine teas to be sure. Through the series my views have indeed changed moderately in favor of the Darjeelings as a whole. This probably was helped in part by listening concurrently to Tea Rage podcast which trumpets the region. I still prefer my China, but now I begin to see somewhat clearly what the fuss is all about. Over the series there were a few surprises and unusual flavors. Of those tasted, I have to give best award to the First Flush form Golden Tips of Darjeeling followed by the Lipton loose.


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