Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Republic Darjeeling from Republic of Tea

Scent in package: dry, sort of a very, very light field/wildflower scent.
Brewed in: unbleached filter bag
Steeped: 4 min. @ just under boiling
Cup: café mug at work

The saying that Darjeeling tea is the “champagne” of teas is a very fair comparison. I don’t care for champagne, and I didn’t care for darjeeling either the first couple of times I tried it. After more experience brewing it, I realized that it’s just a fairly delicate tea, and very easy to ruin with too hot of water or too long of steeping times, depending on which flush I happen to be drinking. A good first flush darjeeling is worth every single expensive penny…while second and third flushes are a little more prone to bitterness, in my opinion.

So I ordered a sample pack of the “Republic Darjeeling” to try. It is a blend of 2nd and 3rd flush darjeeling, and I have steeped it too long/too hot before. But today, I did well, and it definitely has that fruity muscatel flavor that is so revered in a good darjeeling. It’s not really sweet, like many teas with fruit tones, but rather astringent, drying in the mouth. It’s a thin tea, lacking in body, but the flavor is strong and carries through nicely. It’s a very pretty tea when wet with the mixed light and dark leaves.

I think this particular blend would be great iced, perhaps even with a bit of lemon, and dare I suggest a cube of sugar, to bring out the fruity tones even more? Unfortunately, while I’ve enjoyed the sample, I’ll not be ordering this one again. I think I’ll stick with the first flushes, as they are less astringent and more floral.

I do have to wonder though – if you mixed this tea with champagne, would it make the champagne drinkable? Very likely, in my opinion…perhaps I should try it sometime?

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