best darjeeling estate?


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best darjeeling estate?

Postby dejj » May 1st, '06, 20:42

I just got the latest edition of Upton Tea's catalog in the mail. Usually, I enjoy green teas, but I'm excited by the prospect of trying a new darjeeling (yes, black) tea. But the list for single estate darjeelings is overwhelming. I'm wondering if there is an estate that is generally known as "very good" or "must try." I've heard about the Margaret's Hope Estate, but any others?
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Postby MarshalN » May 1st, '06, 20:51

Makarabi is an important estate, i think, although I really haven't tried enough
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Postby dejj » May 1st, '06, 21:18

Thanks, MarshalN. I just discovered that I can get a Makaibari (that is the estate you are referring to, no?) Green Leaf. I didn't know that they do green darjeelings!
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Postby Steve S. » May 1st, '06, 21:37

Namring is my first choice for first flush. Jungpana or Castleton my first choice for second flush.

Of course, depends what you are looking for... Makaibari also has a very high reputation, but with a somewhat lighter touch than Jungpana or Castleton.

Right now I am LOVING both a Jungpana second flush (very complex, including a hint of apricot-orange fruit) and a Castleton first flush which is in much the style of Namring -- rich, full-bodied, flowery.

Gopalhara is also very highly-esteemed by connoiseurs, light and complex with a more unusual sort of fruity element. Not an estate I would personally recommend as a starting point.
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Postby Chip » May 1st, '06, 22:25

...I have never been disappointed by Arya, very aromatic...it is organic. I usually like Makaibari also, nice muscat aroma. I have both in black and green.
I always talk to the vendor before I buy a Darjeeling...been disappointed too many times. I want to know what I can expect from a particular Darjeeling. It's too easy too get one that your not happy with!!!
You might as well make sure you get 2006 harvest at this point. First flushes are out. mmmmmmmmm!!!

I get mine from Upton...just make sure you order new releases that are listed on their web site
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Postby dejj » May 2nd, '06, 22:13

Thanks, Steve S. and chip. And now I have a question: chip, why were you disappointed by some darjeelings?

And yes, I think I'm going to wait for more 2006 teas to come in before I place my order....
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Postby Chip » May 2nd, '06, 22:50

I get Darjeelings that are fruity/flowery in aroma and taste and not overly astingent. Some either were not fresh or never had it to begin with or were too astringent...let's face it there is a good reason why one is $5 and another is $30. Now I also only purchase tea from several estates.

I have learned that talking to a reputable supplier such as in my case Upton, saved alot of disappointment. Their customer service people actually are pretty knowledgable and experienced (they actually drink them) with their Darjeelings. They can also tell you whether or not a particular tea is a 2006...whether it is very astringent or not...etc. They made sure that I got what I "wanted," but you need to ask questions and never assume anything. Having at least several selections in mind helps...you have a starting point that way. They have easily 60-75 mostly single estate Darjeelings so there is something for any Darjeeling enthusiast.

I usually go for $12-19 price points for 80-125 grams...anything less will show it and anything more has diminished returns on the added cost.

I hope this helps. And 2006 1st flushes are starting to be listed on there informative though too extensive web site. Go to NEW LISTINGS.

Good luck and let me know how you make out.
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Postby MarshalN » May 3rd, '06, 00:02

I generally only drink first flushes, and I like the lighter darjeelings with the bite to it, rather than the second flush ones.

To each his own though, and there are lots of them...
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Postby Phyll » May 16th, '06, 03:19

I quite liked the 1st flush Makaibari Estate Darjeeling from Upton Tea that I sampled recently.

2006 Makaibari Estate, 1st Flush, FTGFOP1

Dry appearance: a mixture of darker leaves, greener leaves, and lots of twigs. All short. On their website, the picture of the leaves, however, shows larger green leaves w/o any twig, so I thought it was a misrepresentation.

Brewing method: 6oz gaiwan, 100'C boiling water, enough leaves (well, obviously, with a lot of twigs too) to fill 2/3 of the gaiwan when the leaves have unfurled fully. 10s, 7s, 7s, 10s, 15s, 15s, 20s, 20s, 30s, 50s,...

Medium orange/ light brown liquor. Delightful aromas of vivid peach, ripe mango, floral and spring grass. The tea came out quite strong with the first brewing of 10s. The second brew of 7s gave a more balanced taste. In the mouth it's quite tannic and puckery, but the interplay of tastes and aromas are very interesting. Refreshing and pleasurable! The leaves held out more than 10 infusions...amazing!

Wet leaves appareance: the leaves opened up to show their greener side. They are mostly broken leaves, and among them are a lot of brown twigs. I think the fact that the leaves are broken and the twigs are present in abundance made the tea very tannic and somewhat coarse.

*** / 5 (good), would have given more points if the tea was smoother / less astringent
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