In my last installment of my tea blog, I wrote about how sometimes it’s not about what tea you’re drinking but about the purpose it serves. This however is not one of those times. Tonight I was in the mood for something new and special to broaden my tea knowledge and enlighten my taste buds. Tonight, it was time for a tea from Adagio’s Masters Collection.
The exclusive collection is home to a number of rare, high quality teas from different corners of the world and features the likes of silver needle, matcha and the Ti Kuan Yin oolong. I have delved into the Masters range once before, treating myself to a Shincha, a delicate green tea from Japan (read it here), and it was high time that I tried another of these prestigious teas.
This time I opted for a Darjeeling Spring Tip. I’d had a great time (and still am) with the last Darjeeling that I wrote about, Darjeeling – Chinese Tea from India, so i though it would be a good idea to try another and see how this one measured up. This particular Darjeeling is grown on the Risheehat Estate, a tea plantation that was established back in the early 1900s by British planters. The rich soil, steep mountain terrain and misty and rainy conditions make it the perfect to grow the unmistakable variety that is Darjeeling.
As you have likely guessed by the name, this tea is harvested early in the Spring meaning that the leaves benefit from all of the nutrients over the Winter months, providing them with lots of flavour. The name ‘tip’ means that the leaves used in this tea are the tips of the young tea bud rather than the more established adult leaves. This tends to give the tea a more delicate taste and, interestingly, a higher caffeine content too. I’m sure there’s some scientific reason for this but I certainly don’t know it so we’ll just leave it here as ‘one of those things’.
On to the tea then and this Darjeeling is made up of well oxidised tips, it is a black tea after all. It had rather a sweet and malty scent to it that was reminiscent of black teas from the Yunnan province of China. A signal of the origins of the Darjeeling tea plants I would assume. Adagio suggest steeping the tea for three minutes so I popped a heaped teaspoon into my teapot, let the water come off the boil for a few minutes, and waited.
The steeped tea produced a beautiful, dark-gold liquid that really shone in my glass teacup. It was somewhat lighter than the dried leaves suggested and had a delicate sweet aroma, combined with the malty notes. It had a wonderfully soft but complex taste too, with floral and fruity hints. Darjeeling is often nicknamed ‘the champagne of teas’ and just like the famous french wine, this tea had rather a dry and finish which is quite unlike any that I’ve tried before. It also had a slight astringency which counteracted out the sweeter notes to create an incredibly balanced and moreish mouthful.
This is a tea that I thoroughly enjoyed and one that I look forward to drinking more and more. It was similarly light to the other Darjeeling I made reference to earlier but the taste was entirely different which just goes to show the incredible variety that exists within Darjeeling. I suppose that means I’ll have to go and try some more! If you would like to give this tea from Adagio a try then click here, I highly recommend you do.
Are you a Darjeeling fan? Would you recommend any particular estates that I should try and get teas from? Please leave your comments below, I’d love to hear from you.