I wanted to start by thanking Yatra Tea Company for the amazing opportunity to try all of these great teas. They specialize in South Asian teas, predominantly from India but also from Nepal.
If you would like to try some of their teas, they have a great offer called the “Yatra 2018 Sampler” where you can try 9 of their best teas at once. This is great if you aren’t quite sure what type of tea is your favorite. https://www.yatrateacompany.com/shop/yatra-2018-sampler
What makes this tea unique from the previous teas we’ve tried is that it is a second flush. Teas from Assam and Darjeeling are split into two main categories, depending on the time of harvest, although there are other categories in between the two. The first flush is harvested right after the spring rains, usually in mid-March, but it can also be harvested in April as well. This tea is lighter in flavor and aroma and has a delicate astringency. The second flush is harvested later in May or June usually, and yields a much bolder flavor and aroma. It produces a full-bodied flavor along with a specific type of spiciness referred to as “muscatel”.
The leaves from this tea where much smaller then some of the other ones I had tried. I wasn’t sure if they were just more tightly rolled or if they were in fact smaller.
Once I poured in the water, it soon became obvious to me that the leaves had been broken purposefully. I’m sure that this helps with the fermentation process and I am sure it is one of the characteristics that makes this tea unique.
This one definitely has the most notable fragrance of all the ones I have tried so far. There is definitely a fruitiness coming from it and I notice a tiny bit of earthiness in the background. If you really focus, you can find a floral note in the aroma as well.
I was so excited to take the first sip of this tea, I burnt my tongue a little bit! Word to the wise, wait for this too cool off a tiny bit before you drink it. I am used to the Japanese green teas at 160 degrees but this 195 temperature can really catch you off guard if you’re not careful!
Once the tea had a chance to cool off a little bit, I was able to take a proper sip. The fruity aroma definitely transferred into the taste, but the floral perfume did not. This is very typical for teas to have a floral scent but not actually taste very floral. The fruitiness of the tea is very powerful and it takes over the entire palette right away. I notice most of the taste on the roof of my mouth, towards the back. It hangs on towards the end of the sip and lingers for quite a long time. I noticed the trademark “muscatel” spiciness in this cup that was not present in the First Flush Darjeelings I had tried before.
This final note could be characterized as an astringency, and leaves the mouth with a mouthwatering feeling up to a minute after the sip. There is only a slight bitterness to this tea when it is brewed properly and allowed enough water to breath. The bitterness that you do notice is very subdued and pleasant. There is also a tiny hint of cardamom. I know this is not part of the tea, but it really reminds me of the flavor of an earl grey.
When drinking tea, I often like to remark about not only the taste of the tea, but how it makes me feel as well. I’m drinking this one in the morning, and rather than making me feel super alert like I thought it would, it’s making me feel a little more relaxed and calm. I like it though, it’s like a subtle reminder that things don't need to go super fast. Just relax and enjoy, drink a nice warm cup of tea and get the work done at whatever pace you feel most comfortable.
With the first steeping complete, it was time to steep the tea a second time. For the second steepings, I usually use water that is near boiling and allow it about 5 minutes to fully extract everything that is left. The liquor of the second steeping was almost as dark as the first steeping, however the flavor was much more mild. You still get some of the mouthwatering astringency with the second one, but it is much more subdued. I still get the relaxing feeling from this tea even in the second steeping. I really enjoyed this tasting session, and the tea itself was incredible.
I definitely think that this tea switches up my rankings a little bit. This is the best tea I have tried so far. I have 9 teas in total to try, and this is my fourth tasting. My rankings are as follows:
#1: Second Flush Assam from Marangi Estate
#2: First Flush Darjeeling from Puttabong Estate
#3: Darjeeling Oolong from Castleton Estate
#4: First Flush Darjeeling from Goomtee Estate
Thank you so much for reading my review of the Second Flush Darjeeling from Marangi! I will be doing another tea tasting tomorrow, so stay tuned for more!