Tuesday, May 9, 2006

TN: 2006 Makaibari Estate, 1st Flush, Darjeeling

I ordered 3 Darjeeling samples from Upton Tea, and the order came in perfectly packaged tin-lined bags inside a box filled with styrofoam. An elegant and classy way to deliver teas, I thought.

The first sample I tasted was the...

2006 Makaibari Estate, 1st Flush, FTGFOP1

Dry appearance: a mixture of darker leaves, greener leaves, and lots of twigs. All short. On their website, the picture of the leaves, however, shows larger green leaves w/o any twig, so I thought it was a misrepresentation.

Brewing method: 6oz gaiwan, 100'C boiling water, enough leaves (well, obviously, with a lot of twigs too) to fill 2/3 of the gaiwan when the leaves have unfurled fully. 10s, 7s, 7s, 10s, 15s, 15s, 20s, 20s, 30s, 50s,...

Medium orange/ light brown liquor. Delightful aromas of vivid peach, ripe mango, floral and spring grass. The tea came out quite strong with the first brewing of 10s. The second brew of 7s gave a more balanced taste. In the mouth it's quite tannic and puckery, but the interplay of tastes and aromas are very interesting. Refreshing and pleasurable! The leaves held out more than 10 infusions...amazing!

Wet leaves appareance: the leaves opened up to show their greener side. They are mostly broken leaves, and among them are a lot of brown twigs. I think the fact that the leaves are broken and the twigs are present in abundance made the tea very tannic and somewhat coarse.

=== / 5 (good), would have given more points if the tea was smoother.

3 comments:

The Simple Leaf said...

Found your blog through Tess' teadonism blog. I love your detailed reviews.

I was surprised to learn that this 1st flush held out for 10 infusions? How long was each successive infusion? Am I reading something wrong, or did you really only infuse for 10 seconds, 15 seconds, etc.? I would imagine not getting enough flavor with such a brief infusion. But then again, flavor is in the tongue of the beholder!

~ Phyll said...

Hello "The Simple Leaf". I'm glad you like the reviews and thank you. As you can see from the pictures, I used a lot of leaves in ratio to the bowl size and water volume. When the leaves have opened up, they filled about 4/5 of my gaiwan. I did it the chinese style, which was probably not the best way to handle Darjeelings in many people's opinion. I'm new at this, so I brewed it with the method/principle I knew best.

Yes, each successive infusion was only seconds longer than the previous. As I remember and from my note, the first infusion (10s) was way too tannic and concentrated. I'm still adjusting my method to achieve the best result for 1st flush darjeeling.

Your suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

The Simple Leaf said...

First flush teas are usually quite astringent, so I'm not surprised you found it tannic and concentrated. Usually this starts to disappear in the 2nd flush, and the autumnal season is quite delightful.

That being said, I'm glad you're experimenting! I would maybe try reducing the amount of leaf to about a teaspoon (2g) or so in your 6 oz gaiwan and increasing the infusion time to about a minute. But don't take my word for it, and keep experimenting! Who knows, maybe you'll love it with a 20 second infusion time...