Maybe It’s a conditioned response of the type that would have made Pavlov himself salivate, but once the weather starts to get even a tad warmer at this time of the year this young (**cough**) man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of Darjeelings.
Considering that, it put a happy wee smile on my face to see a 3 gram sample of this tea included in a recent order I placed with House of Tea.
This is a first flush, hand plucked and hand processed Darjeeling from the highly thought of Runglee Rungliot estate, which is located in the Teesta Valley area of Darjeeling. The leaves are of the Runglee Rungliot clonal varietal. The tea was grown at a fairly high altitude – 1,554 metres.
An interesting thing I’ve read about this tea is that due to the altitude’s thin, dry air, the withering stage of manufacture is described as “hard” and “quick“, meaning that the leaves dry before they can fully oxidise, meaning an oxidation level of approximately 75%. This in turn means that the tea retains a certain “greenness“, as evidenced by the appearance of the dry and used leaf, as well as some of the flavour characteristics.
Now, I’ve never had a great deal of joy when attempting to Gong-fu Darjeelings, so played it safe and followed House of Tea’s Western leaning recommendations…
|Weight of dry leaf:||3 grams|
|Steeping vessel:||200 ml porcelain ce bei|
|No. & duration:||3 infusions @ 1.5, 1.5, and 2 minutes|
The tea’s floral bouquet exploded from the pot the moment that hot water encountered leaf. As I’ve said many times before, I have no nose whatsoever for fragrant, flowery things, so complex, sweet, and intense is the best that I can do in terms of describing the effect. The image that springs to mind is one of taking the stock of a decent sized florists and cramming it into a wardrobe, leaving it for 15 minutes, then opening the door, sticking your head in, and taking a deep sniff…
That powerful aroma wasn’t totally dominant, however. There was still a nutty, biscuity, thing going on, at times almost Longjing like, sat there behind the aromatics, but not overpowered by them. I felt the merest tickle of refreshing astringency.
As always when discussing a sample it ultimately comes down to the simple question – “did you like this tea sufficiently to actually pay to drink it next time?”, and the answer here is an unequivocal “yes“…