This Darjeeling found its way to me in the form of a free, 3 gram sample that was included in a mid-October order I placed with House of Tea.
House of Tea’s notes say that the Oaks tea estate, which is located at Sonada, has been around since the beginning of the 20th Century.
This tea is of China bush origin, and was grown at an elevation of about 1500 metres. As the name suggests, these leaves came from a second flush harvest.
The dry leaf wasn’t giving much away, bar very subtle aromas that suggested both black and green teas.
Seeing as this was a small sample and also a tea of Indian origin, I went with a Western style approach…
Water Used: Filtered tap water
Weight of dry leaf: 3 grams
Infusion style: Western
Steeping vessel: 200 ml ceramic teapot
Water temperature: 95°C
No. & duration: 3 infusions of 40, 40, and 60 seconds duration
After a few seconds in the warmed up pot the leaf had a bit more to say for itself, chattering away about raisins and and cookies.
The first infusion was very interesting. Everything about the liquor placed it on the beefier end of the Darjeeling scale. There was a delicious chocolaty aftertaste that was reminiscent of a Yunnan Gold, as well as that dark raisin like fruitiness.
The second infusion saw the fruity thing ramped up a tad, but also a green apple crispness knocking at the back door.
The third steeping fell into the old familiar “drinkable but session delimiter” category.
Unlike other, lighter Darjeelings, which I tend to envisage being sipped under a parasol on a blindingly hot Summer’s afternoon, I could easily see myself enjoying this tea on a cold Autumnal evening or even a biting Winter night, sat in front of an open fire.