Tea: Darjeeling (Loose)

A Darjeeling Black Tea from Twinings

Picture of Darjeeling (Loose)
Style:Darjeeling Black Tea
Region:Darjeeling, India
# Ratings:1 View All
Product page:Darjeeling (Loose)

Review of Darjeeling (Loose)

6 of 104 of 52 of 557 of 100

At first glance, the tea looks odd for Twinings. Twinings's loose teas are usually broken leaf, but the pieces are much larger and appear to be better quality than what goes into the teabags. The Darjeeling is different. The loose tea pieces are tiny and uniform and look exactly like what goes into the teabags. Like most other Darjeeling blends, there's a mixture of oxidation levels and some of the pieces are quite green. The dry tea smells like dry oak leaves, but with a good bit of sweetness.

The tea brews up a rich red-amber and is quite a bit darker than other Darjeeling blends. The aroma is rich and malty for a Darjeeling, being also less floral than I'd expect. The flavor is surprisingly sharp and astringent. The bitterness is light at first. It grows in the finish, but never becomes unpleasant. The flavor is very vegetal, having notes of fresh pea pods, green beans, and corn husks. The green, bitter sweetness reminds me of Japanese bancha.

Twinings is one of the brands that I'm pretty sure uses different blends for teabags than for loose teas and the Darjeeling is no exception. They're similar, but noticeably different.

Overall, this is a decent tea, but not exceptional. It's a bit pricey for the level of quality at almost $2 an ounce. On the other hand, this is one of the few brands of loose tea available in grocery stores, making it an easy impulse purchase (as it was for me).

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Alex Zorach wrote:
on April 6th, 2019

I definitely have noticed that the quality of the tea that goes into other Twinings teas is markedly different between their loose-leaf and tea bags. The English Breakfast is particularly striking...I think the tea bags are quite bad but the loose tea is in a whole different category.

I've had some very good broken-leaf darjeelings before. I like to order from Upton Tea Imports, and some of my favorite Darjeeling teas I've tried from them were broken-leaf. These teas often infuse faster, and they also can lose their aroma more quickly over periods of weeks or months, not staying fresh as long, but if you're able to deal with those two downsides they can offer a good bargain.

As a side note, I really wish supermarkets in the U.S. would stock better tea. Many stores don't even sell any loose-leaf tea at all, which is irritating to me.

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