Saturday, October 10, 2009
Tea Tasting Saturday #41 - Singbulli Darjeeling SFTGFOP1 Musc.
The letters after this tea's name stand for Special Fancy Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe Number 1. Say that five times really fast, will you?
Category: British Legacy Black Tea
Purveyor: Upton Tea Imports (so my tea is not the exact same one Michael Harney includes in his book, but I decided this Singbulli Darjeeling was close enough)
Dry leaf appearance: Wiry pieces of tea ranging from light to dark brown to almost black.
Wet leaf appearance: Sort of a choppy/spinachy look, and I was surprised to see what looked like a few small bits of twig in there.
Steeping temperature and time: 1 teaspoon of tea, 190 degrees, 3-1/2 minutes.
Scent: Now you're going to think this is strange, but hear me out. You ever been out house hunting and walked into a new home under construction? You know that unique smell of freshly cut wood and the last vestiges of drying paint? That's *almost* what this tea smelled like. That may *sound* bad for a tea, but it wasn't. Once steeped, however, I detected sweet, almost grapelike notes from the tea. When I realized this package says "musc." for "muscatel," I remembered that Darjeelings are known as "the champagne of teas," and the taste tells us why!
Color: A medium orange-brown.
Flavor: What an utterly delicious tea! From first sip to last, I really enjoyed this tea's full, rich and almost sweet taste. I drank one cup entirely black and finished it with no puckery sensation. Mid-way through the second cup, however, I decided to add a bit of milk. Again, just a great cup of tea!
Additional notes: If you have the Michael Harney book, I highly recommend reading his excellent intro to the British Legacy Teas and the Darjeelings. Harney says the northeastern region of Darjeeling is famous for three seasons of tea, spring's First Flush, summer's Second Flush, and the late summer and fall Autumnal teas. "Though they grow more subdued the farther they get from spring, all three seasonal teas have a charming rounded quality, a depth and a gentleness to rival Chinese black teas." He also notes that Darjeelings should be brewed between 190 and 212 degrees.
Next week's tea: Margaret's Hope, which I've been eager to try!