Example of bad brew, good brew. Where the bad brew beats you up and the good brew is like a purring kitten.
Brewed: Full boil (203) (says 212 in the tin), 4 minutes (says 5 on the tin) in the ingenuiTEA
Spent leaf appearance: Muddy fall colors, reds, greens, browns muted and browned
Spent leaf fragrance: Steamed wood pulp
Liquor scent: Wood and malt
Liquor color: Clear gold.
Bitter. A pine + astringent finish. If the tin hadn't said otherwise I'd think this was badly overbrewed. Too hot and too long. Milk AND sugar make it mildly palatable, but lots of bitter pine. Bleh.
Let's try what I think it should be done at...
Brewed: Out of the coffee machine tap (190+/- some), 3 minutes
Spent leaf appearance: Same
Spent leaf fragrance: Apple blossom and moss, sweet hint (sweetness being a scent as much as a taste)
Liquor scent: Mild honey notes, otherwise not much scent
Liquor color: Gold tending towards orange. Clear as anything.
Sweet. Classical Darjeeling muscatel notes, with that depth and complexity, sweet fruit made complex flower scents and flavor. Just a hint of astingency in the finish, since it really is the same stuff as in the first brew. It's the sour from sweet syndrome that the Golden Monkey didn't exhibit. Probably a second flush from the lack of aromatics and the real depth in the flavor (and the 2's in the name!!). Likely an estate tea, not a mix, because of the moss in the finished leaves.
To be honest, for all that so many people rave about Darjeelings of various types, I avoid the things. Sure, there's forty kinds of estate Darjeelings with three flushes to choose from, each with their own character, and there is the old romance of the First Tea of the Season, which Upton plays upon nicely. I've tasted St. Margaret's Hope First Flush (brain goes "roses!") and it's good stuff. I like the Makaibari Estate Organic 2nd flush muscatel (brain goes "mead") a lot, though I like their silver tips (tea brain says "moon tea") better. But they're all tricky like this one, a few degrees, a few breaths and you get crap tea for upwards of $10-20 an ounce.
Still, it's a nice cup if you can get it right.
And, yeah. I know. I have two from the sampler. It's a good thing I like 2nd flush better than 1st, usually.
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