Review of Afternoon Darjeeling

9 of 104 of 53 of 580 of 100

Served at Velvet Sky Bakery in Jenkintown. This tea has become a regular of mine--I have found I enjoy it much more when I'm very careful about brewing. I recommend a brief initial steeping, about 1 minute, followed by a longer steeping, 3 minutes or more, for a second cup.

The cup is pleasantly aromatic, with a classic aroma of Darjeeling tea: muscatel grape and flowers, with undertones of caramel and spice. There's also some wintergreen in there too.

The flavor is bold but I find it is actually surprisingly bitter, almost to the point of being harsh, if you're not careful about brewing. It's stronger even than some Assams, but lighter-bodied. I normally like Darjeeling teas that combine a light body, complex aroma, and an edginess or kick...this is almost slightly too much though--it requires care in brewing.

That said, I still love the aromatic complexity of this tea...there's so much going on in it. It tastes a lot like teas from Makaibari estate, and I wonder if it's from there or at least contains some of that tea, as it is fair trade certified and not many estates in Darjeeling are, and even fewer have that distinctive taste.

I thought this tea good, but I found it overpriced. Hampstead Tea's Darjeeling is very similar in character, and I actually like it better because it has less bitterness and a bit more body, and is less syrupy...but more importantly, it's much, much cheaper and still fair trade certified.

So far, from Octavia, I prefer their Darjeeling green tea--which is also on the bitter side, but which I think is a more exceptional tea, in that I haven't been able to find anything like it for a lower price.

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