Review of Republic Darjeeling

9 of 104 of 52 of 570 of 100

The tea is made up of large, but broken pieces of leaf. The description says that the tea is graded TGFOP (Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe), though, which should be mostly whole leaves. There is a reasonable proportion of tips, so it is decent quality tea, but not as good as I expected from the description or the price ($13.50 for 3.5 ounces).

The dry tea is quite pungent and smells wonderful. The aroma is of oak leaves, lavender, and a hint of cocoa. The steeping tea has a more vegetal aroma, similar to fresh string beans. This tea is less oxidized than many black teas, so it retains some of the character of green or oolong teas.

The flavor starts out weak, but the finish is phenomenal. Lightly bitter and moderately astringent, the lavender that I smelled in the dry tea comes out. The maltiness is distinctly Darjeeling, but isn't the predominant flavor as it is in lesser Darjeeling blends. The vegetal aroma is quite pronounced in the finish, again like raw beans or pea pods. It tastes a bit like Japanese green tea mixed with a mild Assam.

This tea is unlikely to be one of the delicate first flush Darjeelings, but is a more robust and flavorful (if somewhat less complex) second or third flush. It's much better than the typical third flush blends simply labeled "Darjeeling", though.

Both Darjeelings and teas from Republic of Tea tend to be a overpriced and this tea is no exception. It's good quality, but there are much better black teas available for $4 an ounce, especially online. If, however, you like Darjeelings in particular and don't want to shop online, this tea isn't a bad choice.

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