Margaret's Hope White Pearls


White and yellow teas are among the most subtle.

Margaret's Hope White Pearls

Postby scruffmcgruff » Jan 19th, '07, 19:33

I just put in an order for some Margaret's Hope White Pearls (http://www.thunderbolttea.com/pages/special_teas_darjeeling_tea_gardens.html) from Thunderbolt Tea. I'm a huge fan of Darjeelings, and I just got my first gaiwan, so this seemed like a perfect match. :)

Anyway, I'm curious about a couple of things. Does anybody have experience with either this tea or this vendor? This is my first time with both, so I wanted to hear some others' thoughts. Thanks!
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Darjeeling logo

Postby Salsero » Jan 19th, '07, 20:54

I love their site and their teas look wonderful, but I can't find the official Darjeeling logo that protects consumers. It is pictured at the top of the following page:

http://www.dtrdc.org/home.htm

If you want to pursue it, I suppose you could ask Thunderbolt why they don't display the Darjeeling logo. I know that none of the India tea I buy from US retailers has the logo, but I would expect to see it all over the place from an Indian supplier.

Still, the site makes my mouth water! I may contact them myself to ask the question.
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Postby scruffmcgruff » Jan 19th, '07, 22:26

Hmm, thank you for mentioning that-- I've heard of the logo but I don't think I've ever looked for it. I've always assumed that Upton is big enough that they couldn't go unnoticed if they were selling fake Darjeelings, but I suppose it is more important for the smaller sites.

On the Thunderbolt FAQ page it seems to say that the buyer should check the individual tea packets for the logo, so maybe that's where it can be found. I'll let you know when my order comes if the logo is there or not.
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Meanwhile . . .

Postby Salsero » Jan 19th, '07, 23:21

Meanwhile, I couldn't resist sending them e-mail inquiring about the logo issue. Will keep you informed.

The FAQ certainly implies that the logo is on their tea containers. The prices are reasonable enough that it's worth ordering just to find out. I also like to see that some things are sold out. Suggests that they probably have pretty fresh stock.
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India replies . . .

Postby Salsero » Jan 19th, '07, 23:30

Well, that was fast. They replied to me saying:

"Namaste and Greetings from Darjeeling!

Thank you for your valuable inquiry.

Well, its a good point that you have noted and we are ultimately giving a thought of adding the Darjeeling Tea Logo to our website. However every package has the Darjeeling Tea logo on it."

They go on to say that there is a certain amount of fudging that goes on even when the logo IS displayed, but they don't even fudge.

How could I have doubted such nice people!!
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First Impressions

Postby scruffmcgruff » Jan 27th, '07, 03:32

Just received my order today. Haven't had a chance to drink it yet, I'm still working out some problems with my kettle and the dreaded scale deposits.

Anyway, here's my initial report:

WOW!

Calling these little pearls downy wouldn't do them justice-- even down does not have this much fuzz. They look absolutely gorgeous. I was a bit concerned because they weren't packed in peanuts or anything of the sort, which I sort of expected for the steep price I paid for shipping, but luckily there does not seem to be any harm done-- they looked fine to me.

Oh, also, since we were wondering about the Darjeeling logo, it is indeed on the packet label. It is printed on the Thunderbolt Tea label glued to the packet, displayed prominently in the center.

Anyway, I will update when I do the first taste test-- I just don't want to ruin it with the taste of scale which is, frankly, quite nasty.
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Postby Salsero » Jan 27th, '07, 10:06

Exciting!
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Postby Chip » Jan 27th, '07, 13:44

...interesting tea,,,I have often checked out their site, but have not gotten anything yet. I presume this is a white tea...

This should be interesting...white darjeeling...could be awesome. White darjeeling always seems quite expensive...I think it will come down in price at least a little as they gear up for more production aimed at white tea. 10 KG is a very small production...let us know how it is!!!
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The taste test... and photos!

Postby scruffmcgruff » Jan 27th, '07, 20:00

First, here's a picture of the dry leaves. Not bad, eh?
Image

And here's one of the infused leaves, 5 or 6 infusions later:
Image

But the real magic is what those leaves did between those two pictures.

I swear I am not getting paid to say this, but this tea was incredible. Especially for what seems to be an experimental batch (as only 10kg were made), this was a magnificent example of what tea can be. Clearly a white tea, and also clearly from Margaret's Hope. I like my teas to be sweet (without adding sugar or sweetener, of course), and this did not disappoint-- not only was the classic white tea sweetness present, but there was also a beautiful muscatel note-- reminiscent of the "Muscatel Delight" second flushes-- especially in the second and third infusions.

Surprisingly potent for a white tea, these little pearls held out for many more infusions than I expected (though, to be honest, I do not have as much experience with white teas as I probably should).

The main drawback was definitely the price. Not only did it cost $27.75 for 50 grams, but the shipping was $23! Don't get me wrong, the shipping was lightning quick, especially coming from a mountain town in India, but there was no slower/cheaper alternative. If you do buy anything from Thunderbolt Tea (which I do suggest), make sure to buy a lot at one time.

Still, if you have $50.75 burning a hole in your pocket, get some of this before it runs out. It's worth it.
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Postby Salsero » Jan 27th, '07, 20:07

Great pictures and review. Thanks. Looks like a real find.
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Postby Chip » Jan 27th, '07, 20:16

...wOOt...23 bucks for shipping...well the tea sounds like it is a great and very rare find and will provide a lingering memory...
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