Brewing Darjeeling Black Tea

Fully oxidized tea leaves for a robust cup.

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Mar 5th 15 8:23 pm
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Brewing Darjeeling Black Tea

by mcrdotcom » Mar 5th 15 8:23 pm

Hi everyone!

I've been on this tea journey for two years now (how time flies) and I must say recently I got into a terrible tea rut! Barely sparing time to indulge, never having meditative sessions to really practice my technique or taste tea anymore. However in the last two months I've made a focused effort to dedicate time each weekend to these sessions and I've been lavishing in all types of tea every evening to some degree :D

Which brings me to Darjeeling! Not a tea I've ever explored a part from the odd terrible free sample. As I write a blog, I was approached about some samples to try and review recently, and seeing as I'm focusing more and more on bettering my tea experience and knowledge and widening my scope I said yes!

I find people talk about Chinese tea prep (gong fu and other related methods), Japanese tea prep and western styled brewing more than anything. I've never heard of a traditional Indian approach to tea and I always seem to see people drinking Darjeeling western style from porcelain handled cups!

So my extremely long winded question (I apologise) is: how do you brew your Darjeeling (including different flushes)? Do you approach it gong fu or western style or is there a particular way to brew it that I haven't come across just yet?

I look forward to some replies :)

Kind regards,

Robbie.

Mar 5th 15 10:28 pm
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Re: Brewing Darjeeling Black Tea

by Alucard » Mar 5th 15 10:28 pm

I like darjeeling but like Chinese tea's better so I only have it when I receive a sample and have only tried western style. I tend to think of DJ, assam, and the like to be a one brew only - maybe this is wrong. I received a 10g sample (second flush) in an order recently and tried it earlier today. I am breaking in a new 100 ml pot so I figured I why not brew it western style in the small pot. It turned out great and the second brew was almost as good as the first. I probably wont try gong fu style with this small sample. It's quite nice so I may order 50g and try gf style.

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Mar 5th 15 10:33 pm
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Re: Brewing Darjeeling Black Tea

by entropyembrace » Mar 5th 15 10:33 pm

Hi Robbie,

Tea was introduced to India during the time of the British Empire to produce tea within the empire, and that required an industrial espionage operation to accomplish at the time. So the traditional way to brew Indian teas would be the traditional British brewing method. I always brew my Darjeeling western style, but with a twist. I don't have a nice 1 cup back handled porcelain pot, but I do have a Tokoname kyusu that's just the right size to fill one of my heirloom bone china tea cups, so that's what I use to brew :)

ps. you can infuse high quality Darjeeling more than once. Usually it's ~3 times like sencha.

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Re: Brewing Darjeeling Black Tea

by kiwi303 » Mar 6th 15 2:08 am

Darjeeling is my hunting tea, enough flavour to satisfy after a long slog with a heavy pack, or if successful a long slog with a pack plus bloody corpse, yet not prone to bitterness or astringency being boiled up.

A good big spoon of tea leaves in a tin billy can, a small pinch salt, add cold water and put either on a stick over a fire or over a camping gas stove, remove from the heat as it boils and let sit until cool enough to drink without burning yourself. Drink straight from the can with the leaves still in, use mustache as strainer.

The tea leaves stay in the can and can be boiled up another time.

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Mar 6th 15 12:18 pm
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Re: Brewing Darjeeling Black Tea

by mcrdotcom » Mar 6th 15 12:18 pm

Thanks for the replies guys! I'll give these a go! :)

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Re: Brewing Darjeeling Black Tea

by hopeofdawn » Mar 6th 15 3:13 pm

I've just recently started trying darjeeling myself, after falling in love with a sample from Darjeeling.cz. :) I've been brewing it 'semi' gong-fu--generally enough leaf to generously cover the bottom of a small 100-150 ml pot, and it's very delicious that way! This way I get multiple (4-5+) infusions, and I just have to be careful not to leave it too long and oversteep. But then, I don't brew my black teas very dark. I don't like bitter notes--if I wanted that, I'd drink coffee. :P

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Re: Brewing Darjeeling Black Tea

by bob » Mar 6th 15 4:30 pm

I drink a lot of black teas, particularly Darjeelings, usually in the morning. I tried many ways of preparing, but in the end I always come back to my "default" way of preparation: approx. 2 teaspoons of tea per 250 ml of 95C water, infused once for 3 minutes. This should give you a very rich, aromatic brew with low-medium bitterness.

Depending on the tea and how I want it I might vary the time from 2 - 4 minutes or increase/reduce quantity of tea. Occasionally I make another infusion (first infusion for 2 min, second for 4-5 min), but they never taste as good as the first one... So since most Darjeelings are not THAT expensive, I prefer to just make a fresh pot and get the full enjoyment out of it...

For first flush teas I use a bit shorter times (2-3 min), for second flush a bit longer (3-4 min). For Darjeeling-oolong (I tried Makaibari's) I like 2 min infusions, otherwise it gets too bitter.

If you like the results, I suggest you also try some other teas prepared in this way:
- Taiwan blacks from Sun Moon Lake area
- low-medium quality Oriental Beauty
- low-medium quality Mi Lan Dan Cong

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Mar 6th 15 9:59 pm
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Brewing Darjeeling Black Tea

by mcrdotcom » Mar 6th 15 9:59 pm

bob wrote:If you like the results, I suggest you also try some other teas prepared in this way:
- Taiwan blacks from Sun Moon Lake area
- low-medium quality Oriental Beauty
- low-medium quality Mi Lan Dan Cong
Thank you :) I drink a good bit of taiwanese black tea actually, and I've had Sun Moon Lake! I find it excellent brewed as bowl tea! Throw a few leaves into a tea bowl and add boiling water, hold the bowl with two hands and sip. Very relaxing, easy and meditative way of enjoying tea :D
Last edited by mcrdotcom on Mar 9th 15 1:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Brewing Darjeeling Black Tea

by Alex » Mar 9th 15 12:27 pm

kiwi303 wrote:Darjeeling is my hunting tea, enough flavour to satisfy after a long slog with a heavy pack, or if successful a long slog with a pack plus bloody corpse, yet not prone to bitterness or astringency being boiled up.

A good big spoon of tea leaves in a tin billy can, a small pinch salt, add cold water and put either on a stick over a fire or over a camping gas stove, remove from the heat as it boils and let sit until cool enough to drink without burning yourself. Drink straight from the can with the leaves still in, use mustache as strainer.

The tea leaves stay in the can and can be boiled up another time.
I read that with the voice of Ron Swanson in my head


Some great tea suggestions from Bob as well

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Mar 17th 15 6:18 pm
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Re: Brewing Darjeeling Black Tea

by Devoted135 » Mar 17th 15 6:18 pm

Alex wrote:
kiwi303 wrote:Darjeeling is my hunting tea, enough flavour to satisfy after a long slog with a heavy pack, or if successful a long slog with a pack plus bloody corpse, yet not prone to bitterness or astringency being boiled up.

A good big spoon of tea leaves in a tin billy can, a small pinch salt, add cold water and put either on a stick over a fire or over a camping gas stove, remove from the heat as it boils and let sit until cool enough to drink without burning yourself. Drink straight from the can with the leaves still in, use mustache as strainer.

The tea leaves stay in the can and can be boiled up another time.
I read that with the voice of Ron Swanson in my head


Some great tea suggestions from Bob as well
Yes!!! :mrgreen: :lol:

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Mar 18th 15 1:44 am
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Re: Brewing Darjeeling Black Tea

by BioHorn » Mar 18th 15 1:44 am

Came to a very basic starting parameter of:
90ml pre-heated Gaiwan
2g leaf
180-190F
2:30 min 1st infusion

Let us know what you discover.

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Re: Brewing Darjeeling Black Tea

by the_economist » Mar 27th 15 5:43 pm

I recently had some darjeeling just simply in a small bowl (probably around 150ml to the rim).

Image

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Re: Brewing Darjeeling Black Tea

by Drax » Mar 27th 15 11:24 pm

the_economist wrote:I recently had some darjeeling just simply in a small bowl (probably around 150ml to the rim).
That's a black tea.....?

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Re: Brewing Darjeeling Black Tea

by Tead Off » Mar 28th 15 3:12 am

Drax wrote:
the_economist wrote:I recently had some darjeeling just simply in a small bowl (probably around 150ml to the rim).
That's a black tea.....?
If you are not familiar with them, Darjeelings are not like Chinese black/red teas. Many are not oxidized fully and they are more fruity in flavor.

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Re: Brewing Darjeeling Black Tea

by Drax » Mar 28th 15 7:42 pm

Ahhh, thanks, I see. It's true, I never paid much attention to teas from Darjeeling. I thought they were usually on the high end of the oxidation scale. Good to know it's otherwise!