The dry scent of this Darjeeling First Flush Tea is sweet and complex, with aspects of fruit, peach, melon, and blackberry. The brewed tea is sweet and complex with a rich, buttery feel.
The main characteristics are brightness, sweetness, full feel, and flavors intensity, and the main taste range is fruit. Peach, melon, citrus, muscatel, and a pronounced floral layer all integrate into an intense, clean, integrated range. A subdued muscatel element joins that, it’s just not one of the more dominant flavors. The flavors complexity could be described different ways based on interpretation, with no one flavor aspect dominating the others. There is no significant astringency to compensate for in brewing, no bitterness or rough feel to the tea, just a rich fullness.
This type of tea could be brewed Western style, with a standard proportion of tea to water and brewing time; in rough terms one heaping teaspoon of tea to cup of water brewed for approximately three minutes, varying for preference, and extending time across multiple infusions. But with so much complexity it also works well prepared Gongfu style, using a higher proportion of tea to water and much shorter infusions, with more of those, starting around ten to fifteen seconds and extending to forty-five seconds to a minute in later rounds. The brewing results might be comparable for both approaches, related to the character of the brewed tea, but Gongfu brewing allows for a more complete experience of transitions that occur.
Across infusions the tea aspects transition but the bright, sweet, clean effect remains consistent. Initially the full, rich feel is coupled with an actual butter taste aspect. Fruit is more pronounced initially, first peach, then citrus becomes more predominant, first the full, sweet citrus range expressed in sweeter versions of grapefruit, transitioning to lighter, bright citrus in orange zest later on (orange peel aromatic oil). Across the transitions floral aspects remain a consistent and positive background element, with more light mineral tones joining in later infusions.
This is a sophisticated, complex, entirely positive version of a white tea. Some aspects are common to other Darjeeling versions from Gopaldhara but the overall character is unique. Darjeeling First Flush Tea
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.