Edited and reprinted with permission from the Tea in the Ancient World blog
An exceptional tea, and a unique version of a Darjeeling. The full name is Gopaldhara Emperor’s Choice
In tasting the tea the general impression stands out more than specific tastes: bright, rich, sweet, balanced, nuanced. As to flavors, a rich and layered honey sweetness, in the floral range, is balanced by a complex flavor structure. There is a hint of muscatel but not much, and a bit of citrus integrates with that. The tastes are very clean and refined, simple in a way, but complex in a different sense. There is very little astringency in the tea, beyond coming across as full bodied.
An earthiness and mineral background that contributes complexity is hard to describe. It’s like that background context that comes across as a related set of tastes and texture (feel) in white teas, particularly in silver needle style versions. One might describe it in different ways, with the taste aspect in the range of sunflower seed, a mild light wood tone, or only part of the flavor of chamomile, but what I’m talking about relates to character beyond tastes, in a way those somehow both seem related.
I’ve been drinking a Peony style white tea from Sri Lanka recently that has a similar effect, from Ebony Springs, a subtlety and richness, an experience not well defined by specific tastes. It’s exhibited much differently in terms of other trace components, in the mineral range instead of sweet floral (with a write up on the first time it crossed my path here). I’ll do more with describing that source and related teas in a later post, since in that one I didn’t get beyond mentioning the link for that tea maker.
John Bickel is a tea blog writer based in Bangkok, Thailand, originally from the United States. He works in the Information Technology field, as Senior Quality Assurance Manager in a leading data center company. Tea interests relate to social media participation (admin for the International Tea Talk Facebook group), tea related travel in Asia, trying teas from different regions, and review of tea processing and cultivar background.