TeaGuide: Reviews and Ramblings

June 20, 2008

Product review: Darjeeling First Flush Avongrove

Filed under: Darjeeling tea,food,tea — by teaguide @ 5:26 pm
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First Flush Darjeeling Avongrove Organic Invoice E-7
Retail

With the past weeks’ blistering heat wave mostly in abeyance, it’s no longer necessary to exist solely on iced tea, and I can get on with sampling the Darjeelings I recently received from Camellia Sinensis in Montreal/Quebec.

Tea PickerKevin Gascoyne, formerly of Kyela Tea, is Camellia Sinensis’ resident Darjeeling “guru,” and makes annual trips to Darjeeling to choose some of the best invoices available.

Case in point is this Avongrove E-7 Organic. In the package the leaves run a colourful gamut: silver, light green, darker green, a couple of shades of brown here and there. A faint whiff of dry grass and light flowers in the dry leaf.

Infusing suggestion is to use rather more leaf and longer steeping time than some first flushes, with 90 deg C water. I more or less followed their suggestions.

Tea GardenThe floral aroma becomes more pronounced as the steep progresses, but it remains a gentle scent. A light, cool cologne rather than a strong perfume. I left the leaves in the pot, sampling every ten or fifteen seconds after the four-minute mark, until it *just* reached the “pucker point” of astringency.

In the cup, the scent becomes less discernible, while the subtle floral/nutty taste emerges. Long finish that brings to mind a particular type of hazelnut cookies that I very much enjoy. A smooth, easy-drinking tea — I could see it being quite good iced.

The next time I prepare this particular tea I may try using somewhat more leaf and see how that affects the cup.

Since first sampling them at Kyela a number of years ago, I’m favouring more and more these oolong-process Darjeelings. Once an experimental oddity, they now seem to be more mainstream.

Which is most certainly a good thing.

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