Wednesday, April 1, 2009

REVIEW: Organic First Flush, Single-Estate Darjeeling Tea, FTGOP-1, The Lavender Lounge Tea Company
Lavender Lounge Tea Company
"Organic First Flush Single Estate Darjeeling Tea, FTGOP-1"

This is a tea swap tea (Thank you, Evelyn!), which is a single-serving tea bag. The tea is quite fresh, within the tinfoil, sealed bag.

Boiling water, single bone china cup (covered), 3 minutes

The leaves are fairly small, quite black, tightly furled, and within some kind of clear nylon baggie thing. I'm not used to tea bags, and this nylon bag is new to me. I hope it won't affect the flavor of the tea. Also, I'm also not used to brewing single servings. Experiment, ho!

The tea is transparent to the bottom of the cup-- which is different from the Clipper tea that I drank earlier this morning. The cup is a rich peachy brown color, quite nice.

I cut open the tea bag and poured out the leaves. Very unusual aroma-- similar to the unsteeped aroma that hit me as I opened up the package. Very bright and a bit like fruit, with the sent of ash. The leaves are broken with quite a few very small pieces. I love the scent of the leaves, and I hope it carries through to the cup (which is unlikely, because teas almost never taste or smell like the leaves they leave behind).

This is the French term for "placeness," which always affects the flavor and smell of the tea. I wonder what single estate this tea comes from? I'm not enough of a tea person to be able to guess, sadly. Maybe someday I'll arrive at that point, where I can tell these kinds of things. At any rate, I wonder why some companies hide the place where they found their teas. I would think it's a selling point, and also a method of teaching their customer base about what their likes and dislikes are.

Very sweet and fruity. To my surprise, I am getting the same smell in the cup as in the leaves-- quite strong, too. For a first-flush, this is a bit surprising. It seems to have the complexity of a second-flush. There is definitely that grapey (muscatel) flavor all the kids go on about. Really, this is probably the dominant feature of this tea-- it almost tastes as though it were brewed with grape juice, rather than simply water. It has a very vibrant, grape-and-herb aftertaste. What herbs? Sweet, like tarragon, or basil.

I can't wait to get my hands on the second cup and compare impressions maybe a few days later. It's pleasing, and I would like to find out more about it.