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.