Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Tea Tasting: Three First Flush Darjeelings


Recommended Posts

A Darjeeling is just a Darjeeling, right? That's what the mass market grocery store tea vendors would have us think. It's. just. not. so. Different Darjeeling tea estates and different flushes during the year make for interesting variations when the tea meets the mouth.

So the purpose of this Tea Tasting & Discussion is to give us the opportunity to compare the differences in three first flush Darjeelings (known as the champagne of teas) from different estates.

Bill Waddington at teasource.com is providing the Darjeeling tea samples.

Namring Upper Estate, 1st Flush, FTGFOP1

Puttabong Estate, 1st Flush, SFTGFOP1

Castleton Estate, 1st Flush, FTGFOP1

Sets of the samples will go to up to three eG members active in the forums: if you have at least 50 posts anywhere in the eG Forums in the past 12 months, or if you have at least 10 posts in the Coffee & Tea Forum and are interested in receiving the free samples and participating in this TT&D, please read on and then PM me.

The Details

The set of three Darjeeling tea samples (10g each) will go to each of up to three eGullet Society members who will begin brewing, tasting, posting and discussing the teas within one week of receiving the samples.

These teas may be brewed 1) "western style" using a small teapot or infuser cup. Please, no tea balls since they do not allow the loose leaves to open fully and infuse well. Brewing suggestions in an upcoming post.

Preference will be given to eGullet Society members who have never received tea samples and participated in a Tea Tasting & Discussion, and who have at least 50 posts anywhere in the eG Forums in the past year. This preference will last one week, until midnight October 21, 2010. If that sounds like you, please PM me ASAP. Others who have at least 10 posts in the Coffee & Tea forum, may PM me their interest at any time.

If you have any questions at all, please feel free to post them here or PM me.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have been buying quality teas from Bill Waddington's teasource.com for several years, and am pleased that he is continuing to support these Tea Tasting & Discussions by contributing the three first flush Darjeelings for this TT&D. Bill is a prominent figure in the tea world, and here is a brief bio from the Tea Source website.

Bill Waddington is a world recognized authority on specialty tea. He is the founder and president of TeaSource (1996). As such he imports, blends, and wholesales some of the finest specialty teas from around the world.

Bill’s mission is to seek out the very best and most unique teas in the world, make them available in the U.S., and help Americans learn to appreciate them.

Bill is a frequent quest on the National Public Radio show, The Splendid Table: hosted by Lynne Rosetto-Kasper.

Bill has also served on the Board of Directors of the American Premium Tea Institute, was Chairman of the 2004 Specialty Tea Institute Symposium, and was the keynote speaker at the China International Tea Expo, Beijing, China Oct. 2005.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, if you - or anyone else - do not have 10 posts in this Coffee & Tea Forum at this time, it is pretty easy to add to the many existing topics on tea here, or to start a new topic. Questions, answers, comments - all good.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The period for giving preference for the free Darjeeling samples to members who have never received free samples before ends tonight. After that it will be opened up, as described above. If you are interested, please review the first post in this topic and PM me.

Edited by Richard Kilgore (log)
Link to post
Share on other sites

A Darjeeling is just a Darjeeling, right? That's what the mass market grocery store tea vendors would have us think. It's. just. not. so. Different Darjeeling tea estates and different flushes during the year make for interesting variations when the tea meets the mouth.

So the purpose of this Tea Tasting & Discussion is to give us the opportunity to compare the differences in three first flush Darjeelings (known as the champagne of teas) from different estates.

Bill Waddington at teasource.com is providing the Darjeeling tea samples.

Namring Upper Estate, 1st Flush, FTGFOP1

Puttabong Estate, 1st Flush, SFTGFOP1

Castleton Estate, 1st Flush, FTGFOP1

Sets of the samples will go to up to three eG members active in the forums: if you have at least 50 posts anywhere in the eG Forums in the past 12 months, or if you have at least 10 posts in the Coffee & Tea Forum and are interested in receiving the free samples and participating in this TT&D, please read on and then PM me.

The Details

The set of three Darjeeling tea samples (10g each) will go to each of up to three eGullet Society members who will begin brewing, tasting, posting and discussing the teas within one week of receiving the samples.

These teas may be brewed 1) "western style" using a small teapot or infuser cup. Please, no tea balls since they do not allow the loose leaves to open fully and infuse well. Brewing suggestions in an upcoming post.

Preference will be given to eGullet Society members who have never received tea samples and participated in a Tea Tasting & Discussion, and who have at least 50 posts anywhere in the eG Forums in the past year. This preference will last one week, until midnight October 21, 2010. If that sounds like you, please PM me ASAP. Others who have at least 10 posts in the Coffee & Tea forum, may PM me their interest at any time.

If you have any questions at all, please feel free to post them here or PM me.

The free samples are now available to eGullet Society members who have at least 50 posts anywhere in the eG Forums OR at least 10 posts in this Coffee and Tea Forum. PM me if you are interested.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The three sets of Darjeeling samples from Tea Source for the Tea Tasting & Discussion go to...

baroness

cdh

shamanjoe

Whether or not you receive the samples, all eGullet Society members are welcome to participate in the discussion, as usual.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

Have just opened up the Namring and it doesn't disappoint my memory of fantastic Namring of old. Dry, the leaves' aroma is slightly papery, with a strong hint of apricot. 3.3g of leaf steeped for 3.5 minutes in 290ml of 190-ish water gave off a more expected malty aroma (still with hints of apricots). The flavor in the cup is slightly astringent, quite malty, with a nice thick rich mouthfeel. Longlasting malty aftertaste.

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

Link to post
Share on other sites

Have just opened up the Puttabong and set it to brewing. 3.2g in 275ml of 175F water for 3.5 minutes. Dry aroma is that typical darjeeling fruitiness. Less specifically apricot-y than the Namring, but just very fruity. Wet, the fruitiness adds a minty dimension as well. I'm brewing these in a stainless mesh infuser basket inside a mug, and the leaf color of this tea is significantly greener than the Namring, which was an even golden brown. This is, in typical darjeeling style, a hodgepodge of brown and green leaf segments.

This tea has none of the malty and papery low notes of the Namring, and lots of the higher notes. I'm getting an indistinct spiciness lingering in the background too... somewhere between floral and cookie spices. Negligible astringency... probably a result of the 175F steep.

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

Link to post
Share on other sites

Giving the Castleton a try now. Since the directions on the packet specifically call FOR (rather than warn against) boiling water, I'm going to give that a try. The dry leaf aroma is lacking any fruit hints. It's grassy and papery. I recognize I'm using "papery" as an aroma descriptor a lot lately and haven't gone into detail about what I mean. What I mean is that sorta sweet scent that comes when you open, say, a fresh box of manilla envelopes. Second hand bookstores kinda smell like what I'm talking about.

Now when 275ml of water a minute off the boil go onto 3.3g of the leaves, a maltiness emerges in the aroma, and the greener leaves float to the surface. This aroma makes me anticipate a strong tannic astringency, and puts me of a mind to take this cup with milk. I poured the tea from the brewing mug into a drinking mug, letting it pour long and splashily, and the aroma is now quite grainy. Strong bitter malty astringent first sip, though the expected tannic astringency does not materialize. Remarkably short follow-through on the flavor. A strong hit quickly fades into just a lingering bitterness on the back of the tongue. As it cools, a wee hint of something herbal comes out in the aroma, but the flavor is just fairly flat.

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok, with a first brewing of each of the Darjeelings done, I must say that the teas are each remarkably different from each other. The most green, or least oxidized, seems to be the Puttabong, and it has come to the front of the pack in my estimation. The Namring has much more of a black tea flavor profile, but manages to infuse lots of interesting complexity into the cup. The Castleton is, unfortunately, just un-interesting... or maybe that is just the boiling water's effect on the brew, which is unique to the the treatment I gave it.

Take my parameters on the Castleton as a warning, rather than a recommendation, and do something different and let me know how your treatment works out. The Namring, I think might benefit from water at 175, so I might try that next.

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

Link to post
Share on other sites

I've just brewed the Castleton with water at 180F, 3.3g, 275ml, 3.5 minutes. It's much different than with the boiling water. Malty and astringent. Still low fruit. Not flat, but a very low note tea. Not changing much as it cools down... just trending a bit more bitter. I think the second half cup will get the milk and sugar treatment. And yes... this is a tea built with milk and sugar in mind. Quite a dramatic improvement of the experience that a splash of 2% and a demitasse spoon of raw sugar makes.

Edited by cdh (log)

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

Link to post
Share on other sites

Super chilly night tonight, brewing up all three for a head to head tasting. I'll post a seperate blurb for each one, then a comparison after sampling each one individually.

"...which usually means underflavored, undersalted modern French cooking hidden under edible flowers and Mexican fruits."

- Jeffrey Steingarten, in reference to "California Cuisine".

Link to post
Share on other sites

First, the Puttabong.

The dry tea has a very mild scent to it, a little bit grassy, a little bit fruity and slightly sweet.

Getting some sweetness and faint vegetal notes from the tea as it is brewing. The scent is telling me to expect a very light flavour.

On tasting, the scent does not do this tea justice. It has quite a depth of flavour compared to the aroma, with a slightly grassy finish, and a first taste on the tongue that reminds me of something like an apricot pit. It has a very clean fruitiness to it, with a hint of astringency in the finish, complementing the grassy notes.

"...which usually means underflavored, undersalted modern French cooking hidden under edible flowers and Mexican fruits."

- Jeffrey Steingarten, in reference to "California Cuisine".

Link to post
Share on other sites

Second is the Castleton.

The dry tea has some grassy notes to it, as well as a very heavy sweetness.

The brewing aroma has some hints of the sweetness as well, though the grassy aroma overwhelms it somewhat.

On the first taste, it has some pretty astringent notes to it, and a hint of bitterness on the finish. Not tasting any of the sweetness that I smelled from the dry tea. I have to agree with cdh, the flavour is pretty flat, and I'm thinking a bit of milk would really open this tea up. Next brewing I'll have to give that a try. So far though, not crazy about this one.

"...which usually means underflavored, undersalted modern French cooking hidden under edible flowers and Mexican fruits."

- Jeffrey Steingarten, in reference to "California Cuisine".

Link to post
Share on other sites

Lastly, the Namring.

The dry tea has a very pleasant scent, mostly sweetness to it, with hardly a hint of grass and no astringency whatsoever. I can't say I smell any fruitiness in it, but it does bring to mind peach pits, something akin to a very light scent that suggest some fruit rather than any actual fruit aroma.

The brewing aroma is fairly mild, some sweetness and a fair amount of the nice clean fruitiness that the dry tea hinted at.

First taste is a very mild tea that almost tastes pre-sweetened. I don't detect any grassy notes, and there is a very subtle, very clean fruit flavour to it, something halfway between a peach and an apricot. Just the slightest hint of astringency on the finish. This is a tea I would like to brew double-strength and use it as an iced tea. The sweetness for me suggests that it would make a killer sweet tea.

"...which usually means underflavored, undersalted modern French cooking hidden under edible flowers and Mexican fruits."

- Jeffrey Steingarten, in reference to "California Cuisine".

Link to post
Share on other sites

Now for the comparison.

In order of preference, the teas are:

Puttabong

Namring

Castleton

The Puttabong was my particular favourite in this tasting, followed closely by the Namring. Both of these teas dry had a very clean scent, and some fruitiness that was very subtle, and reminded me more of apricot pits than the fruits themselves. The Puttabong will definitely be a hot tea, something to be drunk fairly quickly, as I learned that it takes on some heavy astringency as it cools. The Namring will get a go as an iced tea, since it has more of the characteristics of an iced tea than a hot one for me.

The straggler in the pack was the Castleton. It had a heavy sweetness in the aroma of the dry leaves, and a quality I believe cdh referred to as papery. It tasted fairly astringent to me at first, though after letting it sit for a while, I am getting a hint of something fruity. I'll make a second cup sometime this week and try adding some milk to it and see if it improves. I might also try this as an iced tea, albeit a cold-brewed one. I'm hoping that method will cut some of the astringency out of it.

"...which usually means underflavored, undersalted modern French cooking hidden under edible flowers and Mexican fruits."

- Jeffrey Steingarten, in reference to "California Cuisine".

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the detailed notes, Shamanjoe. Can you fill us in on the brewing particulars for each tea? Brewing equipment? Brewing parameters - leaf:water ratio, temp and infusion time?

Link to post
Share on other sites

For these first tastings, I used the Tea Source recommendations for each tea. I used a rounded teaspoon of dry leaves for each tea, and placed them in lidded ceramic mugs with 1 cup of water each.

The Puttabong was steeped for 4 minutes with water about a minute off the boil.

The Namring was steeped also for 4 minutes with water about a minute off the boil.

The Castleton was steeped for 3 minutes using water just off the boil.

All three were strained after the brewing time, and smelled/tasted at hot, medium and room temperature to assess any changes.

"...which usually means underflavored, undersalted modern French cooking hidden under edible flowers and Mexican fruits."

- Jeffrey Steingarten, in reference to "California Cuisine".

Link to post
Share on other sites

Glad to see my sentiments on the overall ranking jive with another taster. The Castleton really does improve with milk and a bit of sugar... clearly made with the British style of taking tea in mind... Will have to try the other two with milk and sugar as well...

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...

Thanks to Bill Waddington at teasource.com for providing the free samples of three interesting darjeelings for this Tea Tasting & Discussion (TT&D). And thanks too, of course, to cdh and shamanjoe for participating.

If anyone has more to say about these darjeelings, or questions for the participants, please continue to discuss.

More TT&Ds planned for 2011. If you subscribe to the Coffee & Tea forum, you will be among the first to know when the free samples are offered for future TT&Ds.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Similar Content

    • By Objective Foodie
      During the past year, our coffee consumption at home has increased substantially. We have tried beans from different roasteries from the UK and Europe, but we are constantly in the search of new ones. The speciality coffee market has been rapidly increasing in past years and it is becoming easier to find high quality beans.
       
      The best roasteries we have tried so far:
      UK based: Round Hill Roastery, Square Mile, Monmouth,  Pharmacie, New Ground, Workshop, James Gourmet, Ozone. Europe based: The Barn (Germany), Gardelli (Italy), Hard Beans (Poland), Calendar (Ireland), Roasted Brown (Ireland), Right Side (Spain), Coffee Collective (Denmark).  
      Have you had any exciting coffee beans lately? Do you have any other recommendations?
    • By Kasia
      INSTEAD OF COFFEE? - MORNING GREEN COCKTAIL
       
      After waking up, most of us head towards the kitchen for the most welcome morning drink. Coffee opens our eyes, gets us up and motivates us to act. Today I would like to offer you a healthy alternative to daily morning coffee. I don't want to turn you off coffee completely. After all, it has an excellent aroma and fantastic flavor. There isn't anything more relaxing during a busy day than a coffee break with friends.

      In spite of the weather outside, change your kitchen for a while and try something new. My green cocktail is also an excellent way to wake up and restore energy. Add to it a pinch of curcuma powder, which brings comfort and acts as a buffer against autumn depression.

      Ingredients (for 2 people):
      200ml of green tea
      4 new kale leaves
      1 green cucumber
      half an avocado
      1 pear
      1 banana
      pinch of salt
      pinch of curcuma

      Peel the avocado, pear and banana. Remove the core from the pear. Blend every ingredient very thoroughly. If the drink is too thick, add some green tea. Drink at once.

      Enjoy your drink!
       
       

    • By Kasia
      Even though I would like to change the situation, the winter is coming. Sooner or later there will be sharp winds, frost and unpleasant moisture. I don't know how you like to warm up at home, but on the first cold day I dust off my home recipe for hot and yummy winter teas.

      You can use my recipe or come up with your own proposals for fiery mixtures. Only one thing should be the same: your favourite tea must be strong and hot.

      Ingredients (for 2 teas)
      Raspberry-orange
      8 cloves
      a piece of cinnamon
      2 grains of cardamom
      4 slices of orange
      2 teaspoons of honey
      your favourite tea
      50ml of raspberry juice or 30ml of raspberry juice and 30ml of raspberry liqueur
      Add 4 of the cloves, cinnamon and cardamom to some water and boil for a while to release their flavour and aroma. Remove the seasoning and brew the tea with this water. Crush two slices of orange with honey. Add the raspberry juice or a mixture of juice and liqueur to the tea. Next add the honey with orange. Mix it in. Decorate the tea with the rest of the cloves and orange.

      Lemon-ginger
      8 cloves
      3 slices of fresh ginger
      2 grains of cardamom
      50ml of ginger syrup or 30ml of ginger syrup and 30ml of ginger-lemon liqueur
      4 slices of lemon
      2 teaspoons of honey
      Add 4 of the cloves, ginger and cardamom to some water and boil for a while to release their flavour and aroma. Remove the seasoning and brew the tea with this water. Crush two slices of lemon with honey. Add the ginger syrup or mixture of syrup and liqueur to the tea. Next add honey with lemon. Mix it in. Decorate the tea with the rest of the cloves and lemon.

      Enjoy your drink!

    • By Kasia
      My Irish Coffee  
      Today the children will have to forgive me, but adults also sometimes want a little pleasure. This is a recipe for people who don't have to drive a car or work, i.e. for lucky people or those who can rest at the weekend. Irish coffee is a drink made with strong coffee, Irish Whiskey, whipped cream and brown sugar. It is excellent on cold days. I recommend it after an autumn walk or when the lack of sun really gets you down. Basically, you can spike the coffee with any whiskey, but in my opinion Jameson Irish Whiskey is the best for this drink.

      If you don't like whiskey, instead you can prepare another kind of spiked coffee: French coffee with brandy, Spanish coffee with sherry, or Jamaican coffee with dark rum.
      Ingredients (for 2 drinks)
      300ml of strong, hot coffee
      40ml of Jameson Irish Whiskey
      150ml of 30% sweet cream
      4 teaspoons of coarse brown sugar
      1 teaspoon of caster sugar
      4 drops of vanilla essence
      Put two teaspoons of brown sugar into the bottom of two glasses. Brew some strong black coffee and pour it into the glasses. Warm the whiskey and add it to the coffee. Whisk the sweet cream with the caster sugar and vanilla essence. Put it gently on top so that it doesn't mix with the coffee.

      Enjoy your drink!
       
       

    • By Kasia
      Today I would like to share with you the recipe for swift autumn cookies with French pastry and a sweet ginger-cinnamon-pear stuffing. Served with afternoon coffee they warm us up brilliantly and dispel the foul autumn weather.

      Ingredients (8 cookies)
      1 pack of chilled French pastry
      1 big pear
      1 flat teaspoon of cinnamon
      1 teaspoon of fresh grated ginger
      2 tablespoons of brown sugar
      1 teaspoon of vanilla sugar
      2 tablespoons of milk

      Heat the oven up to 190C. Cover a baking sheet with some baking paper.
      Wash the pear, peel and cube it. Add the grated ginger, cinnamon, vanilla sugar and one tablespoon of the brown sugar. Mix them in. Cut 8 circles out of the French pastry. Cut half of every circle into parallel strips. Put the pear stuffing onto the other half of each circle. Roll up the cookies starting from the edges with the stuffing. Put them onto the baking paper and make them into cones. Smooth the top of the pastry with the milk and sprinkle with brown sugar. bake for 20-22 minutes.

      Enjoy your meal!
       
       
       

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...