Tea (rec.drink.tea) Discussion relating to tea, the world's second most consumed beverage (after water), made by infusing or boiling the leaves of the tea plant (C. sinensis or close relatives) in water.

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Default My first enjoyable Darjeeling

Hi all,

Thanks to some lurking and searching here, I experienced my first
enjoyable Darjeeling today. This brief writeup is aimed at other
novices now or in the future, and also a way of introducing myself to
the group. Hello!

Darjeeling to me has always meant "Yuck, bitter!" which in hindsight
indicates poor quality and/or long steeping times. As I became aware
recently that to many others, Darjeeling means "the height of tea
enjoyment", I figured it was time to try again.

So I bought some Goomtee First Flush from The Tea Centre in Sydney
(A$21.50/100g) and brewed up a pot (using an infuser basket, 3 minutes
steeping time). This was much nicer than previous experiences, but not
overwhelming. Straw colour, floral overtones, but generally seemed
weak rather than having the delightful complexity I've read about.

Second attempt today, with improved results. Used a higher
concentration of leaves for a single cup (in a small pot) brew. This
time: no infuser, 1 minute steep. After straining into a glass I
instantly prepared the second steep (2 minutes). First and second
steep were very nice. A richer taste than yesterday, and a delightful
accompaniment to my sandwiches. A sense of perfectly balanced tea:
flavour without undue strength. No bitterness, very refreshing.

Summary: heaped teaspoon of tea, no infuser, 8oz boiling water, 1 min
(1st steep), 2 min (2nd. steep), no milk or sugar, great results.

For future experiment: increase steeping time (probably 2 min will do),
try a little sugar.

I notice IPOT sells Goomtee FF and SF, which is a good sign. A
question for the more experienced tea drinkers: is the tea I bought at
a Sydney store likely to be the same as the tea IPOT sells, given
they're both called Goomtee FF?

Cheers,
Gavin

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Default My first enjoyable Darjeeling


"Gavin" > wrote in message
oups.com...
> Hi all,
>
> Thanks to some lurking and searching here, I experienced my first
> enjoyable Darjeeling today. This brief writeup is aimed at other
> novices now or in the future, and also a way of introducing myself to
> the group. Hello!
>

Gavin, welcome!
>
> For future experiment: increase steeping time (probably 2 min will do),
> try a little sugar.
>

Although some consider it heresy, I find a little sugar offsets any trace
bitterness, allowing longer steep times. I also recommend using water
around 88-93 degrees C, especially for FF. Using lower temperature water
gives you more latitude with steep times. I generally steep around 3
minutes, except when using BOP leaf, where I stick to 90-120 seconds.

> I notice IPOT sells Goomtee FF and SF, which is a good sign. A
> question for the more experienced tea drinkers: is the tea I bought at
> a Sydney store likely to be the same as the tea IPOT sells, given
> they're both called Goomtee FF?
>

In Darjeelimg a "flush" is a harvest season; within each flush there may be
several batches or "invoices". Some will be better than others. Unless the
vendor tells you what invoice their particular lot comes from there is no
guarantee that his offering is the same as another's, even from the same
estate. Heck, some vendors don't even tell you the harvest *year* unless
you ask! Since freshness is a virtue in FF, it's always wise to ensure
you're buying from the latest harvest.

Reputable online vendors tend to buy their tea and then seal it into various
sized bags; since the tea is sealed from light and air, it's shelf life will
be longer than a store, which usually keeps tea in big tins. It's certainly
fun to go to the store and sniff all those tins, but it does nothing good
for the tea, IMHO.

Regards,
Dean


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Default My first enjoyable Darjeeling

"Gavin" > writes:

> Hi all,
>
> [...first DJ success with Goomtee first flush...]
>
> Second attempt today, with improved results. Used a higher
> concentration of leaves for a single cup (in a small pot) brew. This
> time: no infuser, 1 minute steep. After straining into a glass I
> instantly prepared the second steep (2 minutes). First and second
> steep were very nice. A richer taste than yesterday, and a delightful
> accompaniment to my sandwiches. A sense of perfectly balanced tea:
> flavour without undue strength. No bitterness, very refreshing.
>
> Summary: heaped teaspoon of tea, no infuser, 8oz boiling water, 1 min
> (1st steep), 2 min (2nd. steep), no milk or sugar, great results.


I don't know this year's Goomtee FF, but based on my experience with
other FF Darjeelings, you might want to go further in the same
direction. Try using much more leaf for the same amount of hot water,
*very* short steeps (maybe 15 seconds for the first steep), and water
not quite boiling. You might find you get five or six delicious
steeps, each different from the others.

/Lew
---
Lew Perin /
http://www.panix.com/~perin/babelcarp.html
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Default My first enjoyable Darjeeling

Lewis Perin wrote:

> > Summary: heaped teaspoon of tea, no infuser, 8oz boiling water, 1 min
> > (1st steep), 2 min (2nd. steep), no milk or sugar, great results.

>
> I don't know this year's Goomtee FF, but based on my experience with
> other FF Darjeelings, you might want to go further in the same
> direction. Try using much more leaf for the same amount of hot water,
> *very* short steeps (maybe 15 seconds for the first steep), and water
> not quite boiling. You might find you get five or six delicious
> steeps, each different from the others.


Hmm, 5-6 steeps? You'd want to be thirsty! I'll try it with my Teeli
infuser, since I'd be looking at 5-6 smallish cups, not 5-6 smallish
pots.

As a practical matter, how fussy should one be about freshly drawn
water and correct water temperature for each of those steeps? I can't
imagine refilling the kettle and "almost boiling" it for the sake of
making the third or fourth small cup.

Gavin

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Default My first enjoyable Darjeeling

DPM wrote:

> In Darjeelimg a "flush" is a harvest season; within each flush there may be
> several batches or "invoices". Some will be better than others. Unless the
> vendor tells you what invoice their particular lot comes from there is no
> guarantee that his offering is the same as another's, even from the same
> estate. Heck, some vendors don't even tell you the harvest *year* unless
> you ask! Since freshness is a virtue in FF, it's always wise to ensure
> you're buying from the latest harvest.


Thanks for the info. I tend not to ask such questions since I doubt
the person behind the counter will know the answer, and if they think I
consider the year to be important, they could just pretend it's the
current year. Best just apply blind faith until faced with
contravening evidence

> Reputable online vendors tend to buy their tea and then seal it into various
> sized bags; since the tea is sealed from light and air, it's shelf life will
> be longer than a store, which usually keeps tea in big tins. It's certainly
> fun to go to the store and sniff all those tins, but it does nothing good
> for the tea, IMHO.


I'm sure you're right. I wonder if the effect on the tea can be
quantified somehow.

Cheers,
Gavin



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Default My first enjoyable Darjeeling

"Gavin" > writes:

> Lewis Perin wrote:
>
> > > Summary: heaped teaspoon of tea, no infuser, 8oz boiling water, 1 min
> > > (1st steep), 2 min (2nd. steep), no milk or sugar, great results.

> >
> > I don't know this year's Goomtee FF, but based on my experience with
> > other FF Darjeelings, you might want to go further in the same
> > direction. Try using much more leaf for the same amount of hot water,
> > *very* short steeps (maybe 15 seconds for the first steep), and water
> > not quite boiling. You might find you get five or six delicious
> > steeps, each different from the others.

>
> Hmm, 5-6 steeps? You'd want to be thirsty! I'll try it with my Teeli
> infuser, since I'd be looking at 5-6 smallish cups, not 5-6 smallish
> pots.


Well, I usually brew roughly four ounces at a time in a gaiwan.

> As a practical matter, how fussy should one be about freshly drawn
> water and correct water temperature for each of those steeps? I can't
> imagine refilling the kettle and "almost boiling" it for the sake of
> making the third or fourth small cup.


I'm about as fussy as you, but there are others who fuss harder.

/Lew
---
Lew Perin /
http://www.panix.com/~perin/babelcarp.html
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Default My first enjoyable Darjeeling


"Gavin" > wrote in message
oups.com...
> DPM wrote:
>
> > In Darjeelimg a "flush" is a harvest season; within each flush there

may be
> > several batches or "invoices". Some will be better than others. Unless

the
> > vendor tells you what invoice their particular lot comes from there is

no
> > guarantee that his offering is the same as another's, even from the same
> > estate. Heck, some vendors don't even tell you the harvest *year*

unless
> > you ask! Since freshness is a virtue in FF, it's always wise to ensure
> > you're buying from the latest harvest.

>
> Thanks for the info. I tend not to ask such questions since I doubt
> the person behind the counter will know the answer, and if they think I
> consider the year to be important, they could just pretend it's the
> current year. Best just apply blind faith until faced with
> contravening evidence
>

Well, considering that some premium Darjeelings can exceed US$250 per kilo,
I'm fairly fussy as to year, invoice and storage. Which is one reason I
tend to shop with reputable online vendors - they know and understand the
details, and expect that their customers are no less fussy than they are.

Dean


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Default My first enjoyable Darjeeling

> Thanks to some lurking and searching here, I experienced my first
> enjoyable Darjeeling today. This brief writeup is aimed at other
> novices now or in the future, and also a way of introducing myself to
> the group. Hello!



Hi, Gavin. From your description, it doesn't sound like you are a
novice to me! It's really refreshing to see a thread on darjeeling
because it's become my new interest these days. I mostly drink Chinese
teas, but I am wanting to know more about other tea varieties.

Anyway, welcome to the board.

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Default My first enjoyable Darjeeling

Darj rules.

Keep trying different estates, flushes, and years. Some will be
blase', but some will be excellent.

IMO, all other varieties of black tea (Assam, Keemun, etc.) innately
have one or more of the defects that imperfect Darjeelings have, and
few have the chance at being as perfect as a perfect Darjeeling. IMO.

--Blair

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