First Flush Darjeeling Singell DJ-2
No, I’m not being redundant: this is another tea sourced from the tea company Camellia Sinensis of Montreal/Quebec ;-).
A wonderful aroma of sweet chocolate in the dry leaf — it really just surrounds you when you open the sack for the first time.
Infused, more or less as suggested by Camellia Sinensis, in a four-cup For Life Curve teapot (red, to be exact ;-), with about four rounded teaspoons of leaf and water brought to a full boil then lowered to just bubbly. Steeped for just nearly five minutes — it would have been somewhat less but for the UPS driver ringing the bell. (Knowing that he was bringing my recent order from In Pursuit of Tea, what can I say but that the delivery was the momentary priority!)
The extra minute or so beyond what is recommended by Camellia Sinensis doesn’t seem to have harmed the tea. No bitterness, slightly puckery, smooth with a fruity/floral aroma that seems to be reaching my “sniffer” from my throat rather than through my nose. An interesting sensation to say the least.
The aroma from the cup is almost like chocolate-covered flowers. Not a strong aroma, just a gentle hint of this combination. And I like it!
The infused leaf very much resembles a white Ceylon Silver Tip surrounded by a bit of greenery. Interesting.
Camellia Sinensis’ description mentions the “traditional” Darjeeling muscatel flavour, but either I’m missing it or it was the casualty of the extra minute of steeping. Will have to experiment with this.
This is a Fair Trade and organic tea, although it was the description, not these factors, that influenced the purchase of this tea. You can read the full one-paragraph description of the Singell garden and this particular tea here. Quite an interesting story about the garden. A French-language version is also available si vous voulez.
Having now sampled four 2008 FF Darjeelings from different gardens, the common thread I’m seeing is a gentle “drinkability” rather than the intense cosmic experience we’ve had in some previous years (or the so-so quality in other years). Tea newbies, if you’ve been thinking about sampling First Flush Darjeelings but are concerned that you haven’t quite developed a sophisticated enough palate (as one newbie put it to me), this is the year to give them a try. Very “user-friendly” this year.
Camellia Sinensis offers a series of tea-tastings and workshops, so if you are in the Montreal or Quebec area, don’t miss out.
I’m quite delighted with this unusual — and unusually pleasant — tea!
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