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.