Darjeeling tastes awful for me

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Darjeeling tastes awful for me

Postby NewTonil » Jul 16th, '10, 10:34

Hi,

I'm new to this forum. I'm from Spain, so please, forget my poor English.

Although I'm a black tea drinker since a child, I just recently began to expand my tea experience. One week ago my sister brought from Paris a box of Vintage Darjeeling from Twinings. Tempted by the reputation of this kind of tea, I surfed all along the web to search for the optimum brewing methods. So I began with 2g per 8oz cup, 85ºC (185ºF), and a steeping time of 3 min. The first impression was AWFUL. I would say that the flavour was mild, but with an initial briskness that made me think of this tea as a combination of black and green tea. But what overly disappointed me was the "associated" flavour that came with the regular tea flavour. In my palate, it felt like a very strong flavour, not sweet nor bitter, somewhat watery, I would say almost brassy, very similar to the flavour of a badly boiled tea, that topped and almost overcame the regular tea flavour. Even worst, this tea left me a very very strong and very astringent aftertaste of the same flavour, similar but much worse than the bergamot aftertaste flavour of a cheap and largely overbrewed Earl Grey. And (horror!) it lasted for more than 1 hour in my throat!! At the third cup I began to feel a bit nausea. And no trace of muscatel or sweetness.

So, I tried the other brewing method commonly found on the web: boiling, 3-5 min (4 min for mine), so more or less a regular black tea brewing. Same result, but now with an bit unpleasant bitterness. I tried a few more times with different techniques, pots, quantities, and even water (tried four different bottled waters)! The horrible aftertaste was invariable, maybe sometimes more nauseating, sometimes a bit less. One slurp each ten I could detect a very very very subtle hint of sweetness that I wished to think that reminded me white wine or grapes.

I began to think that maybe the tea was plainly awful (Twinings Vintage Darjeeling, although being FTGFOP, is a blend of 2nd and 3rd flush Darjeeling, so it's not very good quality). So I bought some Castleton SFTGFOP1 2nd Flush Darjeeling. Well, after 5 diferent brewings, I could say that, althought it tastes better and more complex than the Vintage Twinings, that is much more full bodied and strong, that the aftertaste is much more gentle and much less lasting, and that the sweet notes are a tiny bit more noticeable (but continues to be almost indistinguishable), the awful brassy, watery and astringent flavour continues to impregnate the liquor, and I can't never say "I had a nice cup of tea".

So what happens? It could be a simple matter of taste, but I actually like the wine taste and grapes, and I don't find almost nothing in common between wine & grapes and Darjeeling.
One important thing to note is that I suffer of nasal polyps, and have a reduced capacity of smelling, so I barely can smell anything more than a vegetable aroma in this tea, or a flowery scent only at the very moment I open the tea container. I discarded through experimentation other possibilities like poor water (I use now a 37 ppm mineral natural water, almost perfect), bad container, bad brewing methods, drug interaction, or detergent/chemical action.
On the other hand, my nasal polyps hasn't impeded me enjoying and smelling other teas like Earl Grey, Lady Grey, Black Tea, Green Tea, White Tea, Tarry Souchong, flavoured blacks, Indian Chai or Moroccan Mint Tea. I'm a huge tea fan, but if all teas tasted like Darjeeling I would give it up forever.

¿Please, do you have any suggestion or idea about why I can't even taste Darjeeling?
Thanks!

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Re: Darjeeling tastes awful for me

Postby chef07172 » Jul 16th, '10, 21:36

Most darjeeling teas are verry light with subtle flavors. They are a bit more full bodied than a green tea and most oolongs. If you usually drink bleanded black teas they usually come from assam and ceylon. These areas are known for their full bodied teas with high tannins. They are quite more robust than any darjeeling will ever be. Maybe darjeeling is just not for you or you were expecting something a darjeeling can never be.

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Re: Darjeeling tastes awful for me

Postby Victoria » Jul 16th, '10, 23:55

Yeah the Twinnings was probably not the best example. It could be just a matter of taste if you didn't like the Castleton. Lots of people don't care for Darjeeling. And then there are those who only like second flushes. Try a nice second flush, if you don't like that, then you can probably just write them off.

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Re: Darjeeling tastes awful for me

Postby entropyembrace » Jul 17th, '10, 11:17

Try a good second flush before you write them off completely, they´re quite different from the first flush.

They´re darker and have a taste a bit closer to typical black teas

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Re: Darjeeling tastes awful for me

Postby NewTonil » Jul 17th, '10, 18:01

Thank you for the fast answers!

Well, the Castleton I bought was actually a second flush. As some of you suggested, maybe Darjeeling is just not for me. But I will keep searching, maybe a 1st flush would be more enjoyable for me, or another 2nd flush of a diferent estate.

Thanks!

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Re: Darjeeling tastes awful for me

Postby mark » Jul 22nd, '10, 20:14

Sorry, but if you don't like darjeeling, we can't hang...

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Re: Darjeeling tastes awful for me

Postby entropyembrace » Jul 22nd, '10, 20:44

NewTonil wrote:Thank you for the fast answers!

Well, the Castleton I bought was actually a second flush. As some of you suggested, maybe Darjeeling is just not for me. But I will keep searching, maybe a 1st flush would be more enjoyable for me, or another 2nd flush of a diferent estate.

Thanks!


Castleton seems to be considered a lot lighter than is typical of 2nd Flush

I suggest trying 2nd flush Margaret´s Hope, Sungma(Turzum) or Ruby from the Arya Estate...they have rich, dark flavours unlike the light aromatic tea Castleton is known for.

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Re: Darjeeling tastes awful for me

Postby NOESIS » Jul 25th, '10, 04:58

entropyembrace wrote:
NewTonil wrote:Thank you for the fast answers!

Well, the Castleton I bought was actually a second flush. As some of you suggested, maybe Darjeeling is just not for me. But I will keep searching, maybe a 1st flush would be more enjoyable for me, or another 2nd flush of a diferent estate.

Thanks!


Castleton seems to be considered a lot lighter than is typical of 2nd Flush

I suggest trying 2nd flush Margaret´s Hope, Sungma(Turzum) or Ruby from the Arya Estate...they have rich, dark flavours unlike the light aromatic tea Castleton is known for.


I second the Turzum 2nd flush suggestion. Generally that tea has nice body with lots of up-front stone fruit/muscat. Yummy.

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Re: Darjeeling tastes awful for me

Postby aya_s » Aug 13th, '10, 04:34

I too have tried a number of estate specific Darjeelings and found I taste an overwhelming weedy, dry brassy taste. It sounds much like you describe. It may be that darjeelings are not for us!

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Re: Darjeeling tastes awful for me

Postby bryan_drinks_tea » Sep 3rd, '10, 13:10

I've found that some of that darjeelings that aren't made too well tend to have that brassy taste. Reducing that taste can be really tough sometimes. The only way i've been able to reduce that brassiness is to brew with a lower temperature.

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Re: Darjeeling tastes awful for me

Postby Chip » Sep 3rd, '10, 14:15

... it is also a known fact that there is much more Darjeeling sold than is actually produced! :shock:

Thus your source has to be reputable ... and mass produced Darjeeling is most likely to contain leaf other than or at least in addition to the Darjeeling.

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Re: Darjeeling tastes awful for me

Postby Shambles » Sep 28th, '10, 23:55

I can't comment on the brands mentioned above, but I'd like to say that I personally prefer an Ilam tea (from just across the border in Nepal) to a Darjeeling.

To me, it seems less brassy - but then, I've never experienced a really fine Darjeeling to compare it to.

Having said that, I know it's a purely subjective thing - I've read that many Darjeeling producers blend Ilam tea in with their own stock, which is one of the ways they can sell more than they grow.

More: http://www.nepalitimes.com.np/issue/200 ... tion/14781

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