Trying to put together a Teabox Darjeeling order...

Fully oxidized tea leaves for a robust cup.

Jan 20th 15 12:23 pm
Posts: 22
Joined: Dec 24th 14 10:56 am
Location: Silicon Valley, California

Trying to put together a Teabox Darjeeling order...

by beanbag » Jan 20th 15 12:23 pm

Hello folks,

I want to try a bunch of different Darjeeling teas. It seems that teabox has the largest selection, and fortunately with sample sizing. However, I really have no idea how to pick out the "good" ones. It seems like I could just pick up one of their put-together samplers. Or I also heard that Tea Emporium and Camellia-sinesis has good teas, although no sample sizes. So I can just try to pick the same ones at Teabox.

My experience with this type of tea is limited. First I had a Twinning tea bag, and it seemed "fine", with a slightly sweet mellow taste that wasn't too bitter. I also got to try a 1st, 2nd, and Autumn flush from my Lupicia sampler. They were also "ok", although not having any particularly distinctive taste I could describe, except the perceived roast levels.
Embarrassingly, the one I have liked the most is a muscat-flavored darjeeling, because at least the grape flavor was obvious.

From reading the descriptions of the teas on these vendor website, you'd think that there are all kind of fruits, sweets, caramels, etc just jumping out at you. What I'm worried about is getting a big batch of tea, and they all taste very similar to each out. Mainly I am looking for "distinctive" flavors that I can latch onto.

Am I better off buying a larger amount of a single tea instead (e.g. 50g) so I can try one particular flavor multiple times to understand it better?

PS I am still a newb when it comes to describing the flavors in food.

Jan 20th 15 1:54 pm
Posts: 460
Joined: Feb 3rd 14 5:24 pm

by bonescwa » Jan 20th 15 1:54 pm

If you're in america, Upton is a cheap way to get samples

User avatar
Jan 20th 15 4:50 pm
Posts: 703
Joined: Jul 7th 08 11:06 pm
Location: ostensible universe

Re: Trying to put together a Teabox Darjeeling order...

by puerhking » Jan 20th 15 4:50 pm

Here is another vendor that has samples...http://goldentipstea.com/

User avatar
Jan 20th 15 6:31 pm
Posts: 474
Joined: Jan 23rd 07 7:50 pm
Location: Philadelphia

Re: Trying to put together a Teabox Darjeeling order...

by Evan Draper » Jan 20th 15 6:31 pm

I second Upton Tea for Darjeeling samples, but many vendors will suffice. Small quantities, large quantities--it is just going to take some time to map your own flavor understanding. Don't worry, most of those flavor analogs are just marketing. And I know, it seems a shame that you are going to drink a lot of tea before you "completely understand it," but consider instead that this is the exciting discovery phase! One distinction to learn first: 2nd flush darjeelings are going to have "darker" flavors because the "woodier," faster-growing leaves need to be oxidized further. That's where you'll get more muscatel flavors. The slow-growing 1st flush will be "greener" by comparison, with brighter flavors. Have fun!

User avatar
Jan 21st 15 1:14 am
Posts: 673
Joined: Jan 10th 10 12:38 am
Location: Toronto, Canada

Re: Trying to put together a Teabox Darjeeling order...

by sherubtse » Jan 21st 15 1:14 am

I would opt for a Teabox order, for several reasons:

1. They have a far wider range of teas from Darjeeling than Upton, including non-blacks.
2. The details on their website for each tea are much more complete.
3. The teas may well be fresher. (I am not sure how old Upton's offerings are, due to the paucity of info they provide.)
4. They have a nice sampler pack of many teas (and types of tea) from Darjeeling.:
http://www.teabox.com/sample-of-all-darjeeling-teas

On the other hand, Upton does offer larger sample sizes.

Best wishes,
sherubtse

User avatar
Jan 22nd 15 8:00 am
Posts: 4583
Joined: Apr 1st 09 4:48 am
Location: Bangkok

Re: Trying to put together a Teabox Darjeeling order...

by Tead Off » Jan 22nd 15 8:00 am

Coincidentally, I am in Mumbai drinking some teas from Teabox at my friend's house. The loose leaves come in sealed, black packets, maybe 5g/packet. Half of the packets are printed in Russian (Cyrillic) and they all come in a textile bag with a draw-string. I couldn't find it on their site, but with a little looking or email to them, you might get lucky. There are some very good teas in these samplers, all Darjeeling, I think, as one of them said Jungpana and the others had the Darjeeling ratings on the packets.

Jan 22nd 15 9:18 am
Posts: 22
Joined: Dec 24th 14 10:56 am
Location: Silicon Valley, California

Re: Trying to put together a Teabox Darjeeling order...

by beanbag » Jan 22nd 15 9:18 am

Thanks for all the suggestions.

It seems goldentips is a very similar site with samples as well. The main difference between them and teabox was that goldentips seems to have more teas from a particular farm, and teabox had more farms. Sort of like a vertical vs horizontal tasting.

Anyway, I went with the Teabox sampler set, so now I have a whole lot of testing to do :lol:

One question regarding darjeeling: Is this tea the kind where you are supposed to do a single steeping and be done with it, or is there some benefit to doing multiple steeps and note the flavor change?

User avatar
Jan 22nd 15 9:33 am
Posts: 4583
Joined: Apr 1st 09 4:48 am
Location: Bangkok

Re: Trying to put together a Teabox Darjeeling order...

by Tead Off » Jan 22nd 15 9:33 am

There are different systems for different tastes.

In general:
1-2 tsp into 240ml, 3-5 minutes. You can usually do 2 good pots full.

If you want to use a smaller pot, like 100ml, you can put in about 5g of tea and get multiple steepings in small cups using quick brews. Experiment from flash brews to 15sec. You 'll get the hang of it soon enough.

Then, you can judge what you like.

User avatar
Jan 22nd 15 7:43 pm
Posts: 474
Joined: Jan 23rd 07 7:50 pm
Location: Philadelphia

Re: Trying to put together a Teabox Darjeeling order...

by Evan Draper » Jan 22nd 15 7:43 pm

I only ever do single steeps with British legacy teas, because I assume that's the method for which the tea maker has "designed" them. I might try varying temperature and steep time though. That's not to say there's no "benefit" to trying multiple steepings.

Jan 29th 15 10:28 pm
Posts: 209
Joined: Feb 17th 10 5:16 pm
Location: Virginia

Re: Trying to put together a Teabox Darjeeling order...

by Alucard » Jan 29th 15 10:28 pm

puerhking wrote:Here is another vendor that has samples...http://goldentipstea.com/
have you order from here? I'm getting into Assam though still waiting for my first order to see if I really like it. I am interested in trying different vendors.