Inspired by Toki's tasting of the 2006 Gopaldhara Estate 1st flush Darjeeling, I went to Chado Tea Room yesterday afternoon to buy 2 ounces (@ $8/oz) of this tea to do a tasting comparison. I'm not sure if what I got was the same type and grade as the one Toki tasted. An estate usually produces more than one class of 1st flush Darjeeling hailing from different farms and altitudes.
At the offline last weekend, the manager of Chado gave us a complimentary pot of this Darjeeling. I remember it to be charming, aromatic, tasty and smooth. While I thought the Makaibari 1st flush that I had a couple of months ago was more aromatic, this Gopaldhara was certainly much smoother and approachable.
Brewing method: 120ml gaiwan, 1/2 full dry leaves, boiling water, flash rinse, and then 8s, 10s, 10s, 15s, and 2m.
The dry leaves were considerably small, some with lots of white hair. Color ranges from green with red edges to brownish and black. It smelled of yellow fruits, sea breeze, dried flowers and a bit green. The heated (but dry) leaves in the gaiwan reminded me of Granny Smith apple (?), citrus, and apricot. The smell of the wet leaves was much mellower and fresh, however, than when it's dry: of muscat, honey, peach, plums, and a hint of straw green. Interesting!
The liquor is of medium amber color. The immediate effect of drinking this was a refreshing and relaxing feeling. It was fruity, floral and pleasantly grassy. It had a smooth and an almost creamy texture to it, and it finishes quite dry. In the end, it left a sweet aftertaste.
Brews well for only 3 rounds, after which the tea lacked the abovementioned aromas and taste.
4 stars (vg) a complex, layered, and tasty black tea.
What IS NOT tea?
2 days ago