First Flush Darjeeling from Dobra

I have very little experience with Darjeeling so I wanted to share my thoughts on the First Flush Darjeeling that I bought on my visit to Dobra in Greenville. This one is from the Hilton Estate. Since I have such little experience with Darjeeling or Indian teas in general, I asked my friend Geoffrey, better known as The Lazy Literatus for some recommended brewing parameters. I used his suggestions of 3 grams per 8 oz. (236 grams) with water at 190F for 2 1/2 minutes.

The dry leaves had a very floral and sweet smell to them which I really enjoyed.

I did two infusions for 2:30 and 3:00 as Indian teas are generally known to not hold up to multiple steepings like Chinese teas (also Geoffrey suggested two).

And since I can’t resist a good pun (I am a dad, after all), as you may know Darjeeling is known as “the champange of tea” so you know I had to drink it out of a…

The taste was very sweet and floral with a light texture. I also noticed a grape-like note. Is this muscatel? I really don’t know but I enjoyed it. The finish was a bit short but overall pretty enjoyable. I will say this tea was quite different than Chinese or Japanese or Taiwanese teas that I have tried. It’s refreshing to get a whole new taste like that once in a while.

For the second infusion, I wanted to call it juicy. I have never used the word juicy to describe a tea and if you asked me to describe what that means I’m not sure I could give a coherent response. But it just felt juicy. It was also fruity, so it was like a fruit juice. It developed into what I would say resembles white grape juice if I had to pick a certain kind of juice. The finish was dry, which contradicts being juicy, but that’s what I picked up.

The price on this one was $6.50 for 1 oz. (28 grams). At 3 grams per session that comes to 9 sessions per ounce. That’s $0.72 per session. I normally calculate price per “cup”, what that means is per 100 ml, not the standard imperial cup which is 236 ml or 8 ounces. If you use 100 ml as a serving and infuse the leaves two times it will come to $.14 per serving. so even though you can only infuse the leaves twice, if you Western brew it you are still getting a cheaper price per serving than most gong fu Chinese teas that can brew 8 times or more. Something to consider if that is holding you back from trying Indian teas, as it was a factor for me.

I really liked this tea as it was a breath of fresh air and I look forward to continuing to try other Indian and subcontinent teas in the near future. Cheers!

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