Review of Sungma, Darjeeling Black tea, First Flush 2014

10 of 105 of 54 of 593 of 100
OutstandingExcellentGood Value

This tea also smelled delightful, better than I remember from last year, and last year's tea was already fantastic. Compared to the other first flush teas, I found it a bit more nutty, but only very slightly so.

Upon brewing, becomes more vegetal than the leaf suggests. Aroma is very floral, suggesting honey and flowers, but also tones of asparagus and cooked greens. As the cup cools, caramel tones come out more, and a faint toastiness. I find the cup smells more complex when it has cooled to room temperature; my intuition is that this would make a great cold-brew.

Flavor is sweet but clean, the sweetness is subtle. I found this tea a little more alien than the Risheehat, and than last year's batch, which could be a good or bad thing, depending on whether you wanted something familiar or novel. Low astringency, even among a first flush Darjeeling...perhaps a tiny bit thin mouthfeel, but this is made up for by the intense and pleasing aroma.

Eminently enjoyable to drink. I preferred using more leaf than with the other samples, in order to get a fuller-bodied tea, but I find you need to be cautious--the flavor is very strong if you use a lot of leaf and I also think it can be pretty caffeinated. I also experimented with the brewing temperature and I found I liked the results better with near-boiling water than the lower-temperature water recommended. This made the flavor bolder without creating any off aromas, perhaps the only downside of boiling water is a faint metallic taste.

Very good. I still prefer the Risheehat so far, but...this is still an outstanding, top-notch tea.

But I thought this tea resteeped seems to retain more of its body in the second cup, as well as retaining most of the interesting floral and nutty tones in the aroma.

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