Review of Arya Black (Organic Darjeeling, First Flush 2013)

9 of 105 of 54 of 590 of 100
SuperbExcellentGood Value

A fantastic tea, but tough to brew well.

Dry leaf looks very green, among the greenest first flush I've seen, and has a typical aroma of Darjeeling first flush: lightly fruity and floral. The label "Black" I find rather humorous: there's nothing remotely black about this tea.

I found this tea to be tricky to brew to satisfaction. I preferred brewing as I would green tea, not black tea, using water about 180F or even a little lower, and a relatively brief steeping (3 minutes max). The commercial description mentions a "delicate balance requiring care during preparation" and I definitely agree...but it was worth fidgeting with it a bit.

Aroma is both fruity and floral but there are some strange vegetal notes lurking in the background. When using water that is too hot, it develops some "off" aromas. I find when brewing as I would green tea, these vegetal notes are more dried herbs, almost imparting a savory quality.

Flavor is gentle and sweet; like much good first flush and some green oolongs, it almost tastes like I've added honey to it, even when drinking the tea straight.

This is my favorite tea yet from Arya estate. I consistently find them hard to brew, but usually I'm not able to figure out how to get them to come out the way I wanted, and in this case, I did!

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