Just HOW do you brew a good glass of Darjeeling?


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Just HOW do you brew a good glass of Darjeeling?

Postby teachat » Jun 7th, '05, 14:47

I need some help. I purchased some Darjeeling tea, and over the past few days I have tried to brew it three times. The first time I brewed it for 5 minutes because I normally like strong tea, but it was so bitter it made my mouth pucker. The next time I tried it at 3 minutes, and the initial taste was good but it had a HORRIBLE bitter aftertaste/bite to it. Today I tried it for just a minute and a half and I couldn't taste hardly anything but water. Is the tea I'm using bad, or is this just what Darjeeling tea is supposed to taste like? I bought it because I know people who rave about it, but I don't know about it if this is the way it's supposed to taste.

Edwin
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Postby teachat » Jun 7th, '05, 14:47

Edwin,

There is good Darjeeling tea, and there is bad Darjeeling tea. There is also tea that claims to be Darjeeling, which in reality is not. If the tea is good, your first attempt at a five-minute infusion should work well. Just remember to keep the ratio at about one teaspoon of leaves per cup of water. To much tea of any kind may end up tasting bitter, no matter how good it is.

Michael
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Postby teachat » Jun 7th, '05, 14:48

Which Darjeering was it, btw? I am fond of the #22 Darjeerling here (when I drink black tea; I mostly like green) but I didn't like the #1 Darjeerling much. Could just be personal taste buds :D

Sam Fischbach
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Postby teachat » Jun 7th, '05, 14:48

Sam,

When preparing first-flush (spring) Darjeelings, please be sure to treat them as you would a green tea - cooler water and a shorter steep time. This way, you'll get the optimal results. You may still not like it, but at least you will get to try this tea's finer qualities.

Michael
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Postby teachat » Jun 7th, '05, 14:48

Your mention of a "glass" suggests that you have your darjeeling without milk.

Personally, I have never enjoyed India tea without a drop of cold milk in it.

I have also heard all my life about "one teaspoonful of tea per cup, and one for the pot". That has always seemed WAY too much tea to me.

Experiment with using less tea, and steeping it for 3 minutes——longer than that tends to bring out bitter tannins in black tea.

For many years, we were tirannised by Anglophile snobs. Now it' s the Sinophile purists!

Consider putting a little wee bit of SUGAR in your tea. It is not a sin. It is particularly not a sin with black India tea.

Once you learn to prepare YOUR tea to YOUR taste, you will have a lifetime of enjoyment.

E M Tello
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Postby teachat » Jun 7th, '05, 14:49

E M,

I hate to quibble, but you may be simplifying things a bit much by recommending a similar approach to all Indian teas. So while I agree with your point that tea from the Assam region of India will taste great with a drop of milk, the same might not hold for the delicate teas from Darjeeling. Especially those coming from the early Spring flush. Hope you agree.


Michael
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Postby teachat » Jun 7th, '05, 14:49

Michael:

One acts according to the tea that one has before one. There are very delicate darjeelings whose character and especially their aftertaste would be spoiled by milk, quite so.

But let's face it: the average darjeeling one gets in a tin is not that kind. I suspect the darjeeling Edwin had is not early Spring flush——else, how could it have had a "horrible,bitter aftertaste"?

Edward.

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Postby teachat » Jun 7th, '05, 14:49

If it is comeing out bitter usually two things cause this one steeped to long for type of tea meaning you want it stronger add more tea but never over steep and second is if water tempature is to high. Green darjeeling is steeped at 170-180 fro 1 and half to three minutes and black darjeeling from 4 to 5 minutes depending on which type of black darjeelings i have found taste better steeped at 195-200f for 4 to 4 and half minutes is all personly of course. Hope this helps....glen

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Postby teachat » Jun 7th, '05, 14:50

darjeeling is very easy to screw up by oversteeping. i steep my upton darjeeling tgfop (second least expensive darj on the site) 3 minutes exactly for a perfect cup.

have NEVER had a cup of bagged darjeeling i've liked. it's always had that foul bitter taste. i didnt like darj at all until i first tried upton's (actually, the third time i tried it...i ruined the first 2 cups by oversteeping)

John
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Postby Dronak » Aug 27th, '05, 00:03

I hope people don't mind older threads being brought up again. This is on the first page and it's something I've been wondering about, too. Kind of like the original poster, I've heard about how great darjeeling tea is supposed to be and have tried to like it, but I have trouble getting something that tastes good to me.

From what I've read, darjeeling tends towards astringency very quickly and a FAQ elsewhere said the best steeping time is between about 90 seconds and 3 minutes. Usually I have to stay on the short end to keep it from getting way too bitter. And normally I add some sugar because I basically grew up with sweetened black tea; my milk use is rare now. OK, most of the time I've used tea bags and not loose tea and I bet that's part of the problem. But IIRC, I have tried loose darjeeling before and I don't remember it tasting wonderfully better. I have a sample tin of Adagio's Darjeeling #22 right now and it says to steep for 5 minutes with boiling water. I'm afraid that will be way too long. Is that really OK for this particular tea? The site says it's a second flush. Is there some trick to getting darjeeling to brew up right? I know tastes vary between people, but there's got to be some general rule that will produce something pretty good to most people, right? Any (additional) tips would be appreciated. Thanks.

Edit: If anyone's reading the thread, I just tried the Darjeeling #22 as suggested on the tin and it came out fine. I was a bit surprised because 5 minutes seemed like a long time for a tea that, in my experience, tends to go bitter rather quickly. But it's good and I don't think I'll sweeten it. That's a good sign, too, because I'm so used to sweetened black tea, it must be good if I don't want to add anything to it. Another mild surprise -- I saw a whole leaf, almost completely intact, while the tea brewed. I see a lot of big pieces, but I'm pretty sure that's the first time I've ever noticed a full leaf.
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