Tea: Arya Topaz - Organic Darjeeling Oolong Tea 2009

A Darjeeling Oolong from Thunderbolt Tea - O Organic

This tea has been retired/discontinued.

Picture of Arya Topaz - Organic Darjeeling Oolong Tea 2009
Brand:Thunderbolt Tea
Style:Darjeeling Oolong
Region:Darjeeling, India
# Ratings:1 View All

Review of Arya Topaz - Organic Darjeeling Oolong Tea 2009

5 of 103 of 53 of 553 of 100

Thank you Synth for sending me this one, and Marlena for sending some more. =)

This tea is VERY difficult to brew well, and is affected in major ways by subtle differences in water temperature and steeping time. That said, I've tried brewing this one multiple ways and I've gotten significantly better at brewing it, but I am still not terribly impressed by this tea. I found the important thing was to use a low brewing temperature (180 or lower).

Gong fu brewing, like a Chinese oolong, was particularly non-productive when we used higher temperatures. Even with very brief infusions, it comes out fairly harsh. There's a hint of honey in the aroma which is quickly beaten down by some somewhat nasty herbaceous and vegetal tones. The finish is highly astringent and bitter. We had the best results using water that had cooled somewhat from boiling.

Brewing western-style, for 3 minutes with water just under boiling yields a dark, but transparent cup of tea, with a strongly vegetal aroma suggestive of asparagus, celery, and pepper (but without the sharpness). It would be a stretch for me to call this fruity or floral...I'd say at most it has a vague suggestion of fruit and floral tones.

Interestingly, when brewed western-style, the flavor is smooth...low astringency, almost no bitterness, except a slightly bitter aftertaste, but not much sweetness either. A bit sour though, and a bit savory (although less so than the oolong I've tried from Castelton estate). Not as thin as the oolongs I've tried from Tindharia estate, but still on the thin side.

Imagine a bai hao oolong with a much stronger vegetal aroma.

Although I've tried some truly outstanding Darjeeling oolong (Soureni estate comes to mind), I remain to be disappointed with the majority of Darjeeling oolong--including this one. It tends to be thin, too vegetal, and is also quite expensive--in terms of my personal tastes, this tea is very overpriced. For half this price you can buy outstanding Darjeeling first flush, and for a similar price you can buy outstanding Chinese and Taiwanese oolongs, if you truly want oolong.

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