Am I brewing darjeeling wrong?

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Apr 30th 10 1:25 am
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Am I brewing darjeeling wrong?

by aya_s » Apr 30th 10 1:25 am

I was recently given a number of sample loose leaf packets of First Flush Darjeelings by a Japanese tea shop, Lupicia (lupiciausa.com)

I was told that as a fan of oolongs, I might also take right to darjeelings as they have many similarities.

I've brewed darjeeling twice now and drunk it from the Leland Tea Company as they've brewed it and I'm afraid I'm not seeing it.

I don't wish to insult anybody's choice of tea or love of darjeelings, just saying that when I've drunk it, I've personally found darjeelings to taste somewhat smoky, with a flavor I describe as "weedy"- dry and sort of flat, like a Nepal tea of indeterminate quality a friend once gave me.

I don't see the similarities to green tea or to oolong (at least, the floral light ones that I prefer) at all. The only oolong I've drunk that was similar is a several years-old bag of indeterminate origin that I got from a cool looking cardboard cannister that my mother had sitting on her desk. I naturally expect it's long past its prime.

I have tried brewing them between 3-5 minutes, with near-boiling water, around 200F. Should I be using a different temperature or steeping time?

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Re: Am I brewing darjeeling wrong?

by Victoria » Apr 30th 10 1:33 am

Your brewing sounds fine. It could just be a not so great batch,
Don't give up. Keep you eye on the boards and reviews here and
soon the best ones will begin to emerge. Then sample those.
:)

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Re: Am I brewing darjeeling wrong?

by omegapd » Apr 30th 10 6:15 am

Darjeelings just may not suit you. I didn't like any of the ones I've tried- so basically quit trying them...

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Re: Am I brewing darjeeling wrong?

by cindyt » Apr 30th 10 12:59 pm

I am also a longtime oolong fan and a darjeeling newbie. I've recently tried darjeeling first flush for the first time (Lochan's 1st flush samples), and found that there are indeed some similarities between oolong and darjeeling. They are both floral, complex, and with beautiful finish. Darjeeling is probably more similar to the greener oolongs IMO.

I also noticed that darjeeling from some estates are more oolong like, like Goomtee, and some are more black tea like.

Oh, yeah, I basically brewed it the same way you did, near boiling, 3 minutes, western style..

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Re: Am I brewing darjeeling wrong?

by Chip » Apr 30th 10 1:12 pm

A good Darjeeling should never ever taste or smell smokey. Light, fruity, floral are indications of a good Darjeeling.

With FF Darjeeling, sometimes a bit cooler water may work, but something is wrong with the tea you have IMHO.

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Re: Am I brewing darjeeling wrong?

by entropyembrace » Apr 30th 10 5:25 pm

Darjeeling is not a smoky tea...sounds like low grade darjeeling or even darjeeling that´s been blended with another, less expensive tea. (which is quite common)

So... +1 what Victoria said...watch for our 2010 Darjeeling reviews and try some of those :) Also even if you don´t like 1st flush Darjeeling after that try the 2nd flush...it´s very different!

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Re: Am I brewing darjeeling wrong?

by Tead Off » May 17th 10 7:31 am

As others have said, Darjeelings are not smoky like Wuyi oolongs that have been over-roasted. There is a distinct 'flavor' to Darjeelings that is fresh, clean, and, fruity. They describe a 'muscatel' flavor but I'm unsure what this really means. I do notice a certain flavor that is present in most of the teas to one degree or another.

I was given some FF Goomtee which is very light, fresh, and, just shy of astringent. Very drinkable. But, my preference so far is 2nd flush teas where the flavor and balance is much fuller and sweeter, more complex. Jungpana and Phuguri are 2 favorites. Don't give up. They are some of the best bargains in the tea world.

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Re: Am I brewing darjeeling wrong?

by aya_s » May 17th 10 6:50 pm

I brewed a Puttabong SFTGFOP1 Clonal Queen 1st flush darjeeling the other day with slightly cooler water and I think I caught a taste that is... sophisticated? It's a similar flavor to what I tasted when brewing Adagio's Yunnan Gold.

I'm starting to think darjeelings simply may not be my cup of tea. This was probably as fancy a tea as I've ever tried and it got a "hm... eh." from me. I pick up fruity notes very easily in other black teas, but it's very subtle to me in darjeelings, and overpowered by a weedy dry taste.

I guess I'll try 2nd flushes next!

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Re: Am I brewing darjeeling wrong?

by Tead Off » May 18th 10 2:48 am

2nd flush is quite different and very tasty. It's a better place to start, IMO.

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Re: Am I brewing darjeeling wrong?

by sneakers » May 18th 10 3:06 am

I found first flush Makaibari vegetal, astringent, and not to my taste, actually similar to greener oolongs. How does second flush Darjeeling taste different?

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Re: Am I brewing darjeeling wrong?

by Tead Off » May 18th 10 4:38 am

Fuller, deeper, more complex flavors and aroma. Hard to describe these things. Best to try and experience for oneself.

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Re: Am I brewing darjeeling wrong?

by Victoria » May 18th 10 1:18 pm

sneakers wrote:I found first flush Makaibari vegetal, astringent, and not to my taste, actually similar to greener oolongs. How does second flush Darjeeling taste different?
Exactly why I love them. How do you feel about darker oolongs? The second flush is more like darker oolongs ... and closer to a true black tea taste. Astringency is way down. Smoother. As Tead Off says you should try and see. :)