Nepal First Flush Aged and Revisited


Fully oxidized tea leaves for a robust cup.

Nepal First Flush Aged and Revisited

Postby skywarrior » Sep 1st, '09, 14:32

A bit over a year ago, I bought a canister of Nepal First Flush and tried it. Much to my chagrin, the tea came out like a very strong smokey oolong with the bitter astringency of a Darjeeling. :cry:

But I decided to hang onto it and let it age. Black teas can sometimes get better with age and I've never had an older black tea taste bad (just different). So, this morning, I wanted to try something different and decided to go back to it.

Oh my, That was the right thing to do. Boy, did it improve. :D It tastes like a cross between a floral Darjeeling, a Ceylon (oddly enough) and a nice oolong. I could catch the butter and floral notes in it distinctly and the smokiness was gone. It still has an astringency, but it's manageable. I was very happy with what I found and I'll have to try out a second steep to see what that is like.
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Re: Nepal First Flush Aged and Revisited

Postby Victoria » Sep 1st, '09, 18:59

Sounds nice. I have a few that might age well too, I might have to try that.
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Re: Nepal First Flush Aged and Revisited

Postby Intuit » Sep 1st, '09, 20:14

This must be quite an interesting tea from the sound of the reviews at Adagio. It will have the classic darjeeling mild astringency, but it appears to have been dried over a smokey fire, it's not an intrinsic flavor of this tea. If you read about the wood shortage and springtime air quality problems in the deep valleys of Darjeeling/Sikkim, you'll understand my comment. Not surprising that on storage, the absorbed smoke notes subside.

More interesting is the duality of the light oxidation greenish floral and oily/woodsy mouthfeel and undertone complexity.

I think I might just order this tea again (bought it elsewhere, couple years ago). As a seasoned black/oolong tea lover, I've shied away from FF Darjs because of the astringency, preferring the muscatel quality of the second and deeper woody notes of the autumnal harvests. But I also have discovered that you really do have to treat Darjeelings by appearance - they look like a green tea and tend to favor green-tea like infusion technique (lower leaf, lower temp, short steeps) to accentuate the floral sweetness and avoid excess astringency. I've finally noticed after careful comparison that the less expensive Darjs tend to be less floral and have more bite - maybe these are the bastardized (read: diluted) teas that account for the 2/3rds inflation in sold leaf vs actual harvest yield.

The exception of a slightly higher temp needed for this tea to bring out the layers of flavors in this tea doesn't mean it likes a long steep. Short with less leaf, if it's strongly flavored may be the way to go.

Thanks for brining this tea to our attention.
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Re: Nepal First Flush Aged and Revisited

Postby skywarrior » Sep 2nd, '09, 01:19

A couple of things of note. First, the longer the tea sat in my cup (without the leaves), the bitterer and more astringent it became. :shock: I have no idea why that is, but it seems to be a rather temperamental black tea -- something I'm not used to. After pouring a third cup, I had to throw it out after 15 minutes. It was undrinkable and lost all its charm. Even so, it surprised the heck out of me with the first two cups.

Second, I was very surprised that no one in the reviews, except me, caught onto the smokey flavor. I'm not a big fan of smokey teas, so I was very disappointed when I first bought it a year ago. It has a small bite at the finish, but I attributed that to the Darjeeling like astringency. Just thought I'd add some more thoughts about the tea.
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