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Organic Arya Diamond Second Flush Darjeeling Tea from Canton Tea Co.

arya_diamond_darjeeling_black_teaTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black (Darjeeling)

Where to Buy:  Canton Tea Co.

Tea Description:

One of the Arya Estate’s acclaimed ‘Jewel’ teas. The Diamond delivers the bright, beautifully balanced muscatel flavours of one of the most sought after teas in the world. The dark, twisted tea leaves have streaks of gold and fuzzy silver tips. When infused, the tea is smooth and rounded with a long, sweet aftertaste that evokes dried fruits and nuts.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

When I received a sample of this Organic Arya Diamond Second Flush Darjeeling Tea from Canton Tea Co., I knew I was in for a treat.  I have been very impressed with the quality of teas that I’ve tried thus far from the Arya estate, in fact, I might go so far as to say that they’re one of my very favorite Darjeeling estates.

So, I had high expectations going into this tea and it did not let me down!  This is excellent!

As I’ve said on more than one occasion, second flush are my favorite when it comes to Darjeeling.  I love that muscatel flavor from the second flush and that’s something that you don’t often find (occasionally you do but it’s rare) in a first flush.

This is nice and smooth.  It has a nicely round flavor.  The muscatel notes are sweet and grape-like.  The finish is smooth with very little astringency.  The aftertaste is sweet and fruity.  The above description suggested a nut-like flavor, but I didn’t really get anything that tasted nutty to me.  Instead, I just got a really enjoyable fruit taste that reminded me a bit of a sweet wine.  The cup disappeared before I could finish the review!  That’s always a sign to me that the tea is seriously good!

Goomtee Oolong Tea from Udyan Tea

GoomteeOolongTeaTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong (Darjeeling)

Where to Buy:  Udyan Tea

Tea Description:

Goomtee is a very well known Darjeeling heritage garden planted with pure china bushes almost a century ago. It produces one of the best teas from Darjeeling. This tea is for Darjeeling Tea Lovers and newbies alike. It has a very sweet aroma with fruity notes. It makes a well balanced cup that leaves a sweet after taste and refreshing feeling as well. The flavour is superb with a soft and smooth texture.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I’ve always been fond of Oolong teas from Darjeeling so when Udyan Tea sent me this Goomtee Oolong Tea, I was excited to try it.

I brewed it the same way I’d brew most Oolong teas – in my gaiwan!  I did a 15 second rinse, and then steeped the first infusion for 45 seconds (180°F).  I added 15 seconds onto each subsequent infusion.

My first cup is the combination of infusions 1 and 2.  And it is wonderful.  The best way I can think of to describe the flavor is what you might taste if you combined an autumnal flush Darjeeling (with all those lovely muscatel notes!) with an Oolong – I’m thinking an Asian Beauty type Oolong – something light and fruity.  I get the crispness from the Darjeeling, the pungent grape-y notes of muscatel and the smooth body of an Oolong.  It’s not a heavy tasting tea – it’s light and refreshing.  There is some astringency to this, the finish is slightly dry.

And because it is an Oolong, that means that you can look forward to many wonderful infusions with this tea.

My second cup (a combination of infusions 3 and 4) was more intensely flavored than the first.  I’m getting a lot more of the muscatel now.  Still very sweet, I’m picking up on notes of a light buttery taste that reminds me of a browned butter taste.  It has a silky texture to it.  There is more astringency to this cup but it isn’t something that gets in the way of enjoyment.  It’s more like a dryness to the cup, sort of like what you might experience if you were to sip a glass of wine.

My third cup (infusions 5 and 6) is where I started to notice the flavors were waning.  The second cup was so profusely flavored and this one is much lighter.  Still quite nice though!  The texture is not as silky or buttery as the second.  But I still taste the muscatel – this cup is much more like a Darjeeling than an Oolong to me.

Overall, a very enjoyable tea experience – one I’d recommend to all Oolong enthusiasts as well as those fond of Darjeeling teas.  It’s a rather wonderful tea!

Goomtee Autumnal Black Tea from Udyan Tea

GoomteeAutumnalTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black (Darjeeling)

Where to Buy:  Udyan Tea

Tea Description:

Goomtee is a very well known Darjeeling heritage garden planted with pure china bushes almost a century ago. This tea is for the strong hearted autumn flush lovers as it has a strong body with a very slight tinge of muscatel (grape flavour usually associated with second flush Darjeelings). It is a well balanced cup that leaves a stong after taste as well. With repeated steepings, the liquor becomes sweeter and midler. Perfect tea for long winding day with a good book in hand to read.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

A lovely second flush Darjeeling tea, this Goomtee Autumnal Black Tea from Udyan Tea!  It’s a stronger tea than what you might expect from a Darjeeling tea.  This is not as crisp and light as a typical Darjeeling, but it’s not as heavy as other black teas.  This still has a very recognizable Darjeeling character to it.  When I sip this, my palate still identifies it as a Darjeeling.

And the question I usually have for a Darjeeling (especially a second flush) is:  am I tasting muscatel?  And the answer here is YES!  The muscatel here isn’t as strong as one of those lighter, crisper second flush Darjeeling teas but there is still that lovely, muscat grape taste that I absolutely covet when it comes to Darjeeling.

The sip starts out brisk with woodsy notes.  Almost immediately after my palate notices those woodsy tones, I start to pick up on a sweetness that reminds me of the sweetness I’d experience from golden raisins.  By mid-sip, that raisin-y note transcends into something more like a muscat grape taste.  The finish is dry and slightly astringent, but not overly so.

When it comes to Darjeeling teas, the autumnal harvest is usually my favorite, so I’m really glad that I got to experience this Autumnal Black from the Goomtee estate.  It’s really delightful to sip.

Mankota Exotic Assam Second Flush Black Tea from Golden Tips

MankotaAssamTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Golden Tips

Tea Description:

Mankota produces some excellent second flush black teas every year. This tea in particular boasts of all characters of a premium Assam tea. The tea is robust, bold and extremely malty. The full-body of the tea finishes on a slightly sweet note which makes it an absolute prized possession. Sprinkled with golden tips all over, the dark red liquor shimmers in the cup. 
A fantastic breakfast tea and a must-try if you love Assam tea. 

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

After taking my first few sips of this Mankota Exotic Assam Second Flush Black Tea from Golden Tips, I found myself in complete agreement with the last sentence of the above description.  This is definitely a fantastic ‘breakfast tea’ – it tastes great straight up, but it would take the additions of milk and honey very well too.  And I would put this on the ‘must try’ list of anyone who enjoys a good Assam.

I brewed this tea in my Kati tumbler, adding 1 bamboo scoop of tea to the basket and pouring 12 ounces of nearly boiling water (205°F) and steeped the tea for 2 1/2 minutes.  The reason I lowered the temperature slightly is because Assam teas tend to be somewhat temperamental and can become bitter.  A little lower temperature and a little less time in the steep can do much to help avoid a bitter cup!  It’s a little extra effort that’s well worth the investment because the payoff is a wonderful, malty cup of Assam!

This tea is indeed delightful!  It’s rich, malty and has a satisfying, thick texture.  It has notes of freshly baked bread, evoking thoughts of a warm loaf of French bread with a crisp, chewy crust.  The caramelized sweetness of the crust of that loaf of bread comes through in the undertones of this tea.

Fruit notes!  I didn’t pick up on them right away but by mid-cup, I started noticing notes of raisin and wine-like grape.  Sweet.  Notes of plum and even a hint of citrus in there too.  I’m not sure how I missed these flavors at the start because they’re so abundant now, I can only think that I was so enchanted by the warm, freshly baked bread notes that my palate was ignoring all else!  But now, I am enjoying the way the sweet, malty notes marry with the fruit tones.  Quite lovely, indeed.

It’s an invigorating tea – it’s got gusto!  It’s a bold cup of tea, but it’s not an overly aggressive cup.  It isn’t bitter and it doesn’t have a lot of astringency to it either.  It’s actually quite smooth.  There is some astringency toward the finish, a slightly tangy effect.  The aftertaste is sweet.

A truly rewarding tea.  I highly recommend this those who love a good Assam!

Arya Ruby Darjeeling Black Tea from Golden Tips

ruby-darjeelingTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Golden Tips

Tea Description:

Our second flush ‘Arya Ruby Black Tea’ is a classic example of Darjeeling summer royalty. The well-made leaves are wiry and have a delightful appearance with plenty of silver tips. Manufactured to perfection, the tea boasts of an immensely complex character with abundance of muscatel flavor. The fruit-flowery notes flush your mouth with a sweetness that is pleasant and comforting. The aroma scents of rich caramel with a slightly woody character. The nose is sharp and slightly fruity which resonates muscatel richness. Overall, the tea has a fantastic texture, a balanced and rounded body with an extremely smooth flavor that leaves a sweet lingering aftertaste in your mouth. An excellent limited edition Darjeeling second flush black tea. 

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Having tried Arya Ruby Darjeeling teas in the past, I was pretty confident that I’d enjoy this.  It’s one of my favorite Darjeeling teas out there.

And this is indeed lovely!  Sweet, delectably fruity and delightfully floral!

To brew this tea, I used my Breville One-Touch.  I measured 2 bamboo scoops of tea into the basket of my tea maker and added 500ml of freshly filtered water.  I set the temperature for 195°F (my go-to temperature for Darjeeling teas unless they look really green, then I might lower it to 190°F or even 185°F.)  I set the timer for 2 1/2 minutes and I let my tea maker do the rest.

A few minutes later, the tea is done!  Mmm!

The sip starts out with some what I’d describe as a medley of floral and fruit notes.  By mid-sip, hints of fruity muscatel shine through.  Subtle yet lovely notes of grape!   A mild astringency toward the finish.

I’d categorize this as a medium bodied tea, it’s got a little more texture to it than a typical Darjeeling, but it certainly isn’t as hearty as say, an Assam tea.  It would make an excellent afternoon tea!

A really lovely Darjeeling.  I’d recommend this to any tea drinker, and especially those who might not have liked Darjeeling in the past.  I believe this Darjeeling could change their opinion of Darjeeling!