Gopaldhara Red Thunder 2016 & Red Thunder Gold 2016 – Review by John Bickel

John Bickel’s summary review of Red Thunder Gold 2016 & Red Thunder 2016. Darjeeling Autumn Flush description, based on the following reviews:


Darjeeling Autumn Flush Description for Gopaldhara’s Red Thunder Gold

This tea shares some common aspects with the Red Thunder tea, with a blog post covering a comparison tasting review of both in the Tea in the Ancient World blog.  This simplified version reviews only this tea.

The smell of the dry tea is really nice, full, sweet, and fruity, including raisin and grape scents, citrus, and with a touch of molasses rounding out sweetness and adding some earth tone.Darjeeling Autumn Flush Description

The brewed tea is soft and rich, with bright and well balanced flavors.  A trace of black tea astringency adds some body and a faint hint of dryness, but it’s still in a very soft range.  Primary flavors include cooked yam / sweet potato, along with citrus and other fruit, which could be interpreted differently, perhaps as nectarine.  There is an interesting trace of floral tone that combines to give the tea a pleasant complexity, across a range that includes heavier floral tone (dark rose) and lighter and brighter scope (chrysanthemum).  The way those elements combine, fruit and floral, it resembles pandan leaf, a fruit and floral intensive tropical herb.

As the tea is brewed over multiple infusions—a potential number of steeps that varies related to the proportion of tea to water used—an underlying mineral tone picks up slightly.  A light touch of spice increases, a bark spice related to cinnamon but not exactly the same as that flavor.  The complexity goes even beyond that list, with another element resembling toasted pastry, not yeasty, but adding a warmth and depth to the other elements.

Overall the effect is that of a complex, balanced, clean-flavored tea that expresses a range of fall-theme flavors well.  The tea is well suited to Western style brewing, prepared per vendor instructions to make two to three infusions, or it also works to increase that proportion, adding infusions.  Or it can be prepared Gongfu style, as is common for Chinese teas, with an even higher tea to water proportion, brewed ten or more times.  The basic flavors results aren’t different but preparing the tea different ways allows one to experience the flavors aspects transition in more detail.

On the whole it’s a great tea, complex, soft, and full as black teas go.  It’s a black tea that might also suit oolong drinkers, even though the basic aspects range still matches those in black teas.

Darjeeling Autumn Flush Description for Gopaldhara’s Red Thunder:

This Red Thunder version is similar to the Red Thunder Gold tea, with a similar but slightly different flavors profile and a different astringency effect that gives it a fuller body / structure.  The flavor profile includes plenty of fruit, in warm, soft, earthy and mineral context, very approachable and well balanced.Darjeeling Autumn Flush Description

Fruit related to muscatel is one aspect, with that one element just not as pronounced as it would typically be for a second flush teas.  Other flavor elements include cooked yam and sun-dried tomato, with a mild spice tone picking up in later infusions, all flavors that match an autumn theme tea.  An underlying earthiness bordering on wood-tone aspects is between dark wood and red sandstone, mild and sweet.  The tea has nice sweetness for balance, and the empty cup retains a scent of dark honey after tasting.

The tea is mild, with no roughness or briskness associated with some black teas.  The astringency that is present gives it a nice body, a bit fuller than the Red Thunder Gold tea, which is a little smoother, with a just touch of dryness.  The flavors overlap between the two teas, with this a little earthier, without the floral-range aspect in the Gold version.

This tea works well brewed Western-style, the typical teaspoon per cup formula based on brewing two or three infusions with the leaves.  Or using a higher proportion of tea to water it could be brewed more times, even adjusted to the many-infusion Gongfu style used more typically for Chinese teas and oolongs.  The more standard Western approach brings out the same range of flavors, adding infusions just enables noticing changes across infusions better.

The above Darjeeling Autumn Flush Description is posted with permission from John Bickel.

Read More of John Bickel’s blogs here :

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