Tea Horse have sent me a monthly tea tasting box to sample and review of which I thank them very much. It arrived whilst I was at work but was sent in a long, thin box meaning it was easily posted through my letterbox which is always a life saver, nothing worse than having to re schedule a parcel for delivery. So the first note is a positive one.
The monthly taster boxes are currently £11.95 a month. Opening the box I see green craft paper and peeling that back reveals four 20g pouches of tea and 40 large unbleached empty tea filters/bags. This particular month received a shipment of Four Seasons Oolong, 2nd Flush Assam, Green Mint (their own blend) and Darjeeling First Flush – Jungpana Upper. A wonderful array of teas to suit just about any mood. Included is an information booklet explaining a little about each tea, it’s history, steep guides and general, interesting information.
I shall individually review each tea instead of as a collection as I feel personally if I focus on one tea at a time I can write a more n depth and true review. Today I shall start with Darjeeling First Flush – Jungpana Upper.
The booklet explains that this particular Darjeeling is grown very high (roughly 1200m) in the Himalayas Jungpana Tea Estate. The Estate is very much remote and isolated with the tea growing on 800m-1300m high mountainside.
First planted in 1899, until recently the Estate had no road to it and mules were relied on to transport the special teas down the mountainside. Still, the tea has to be carried by tea porters by hand down 380 steps to reach the road!
This tea is FTGFOP1 grade (Finest Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe) and is very exclusive. A fine treat for tea drinkers old or new.
As I open the packet I note dark green, brown and silver leaves that are thin, roughly 3mm long on average and squiggly in shape. On closer inspection I can note there are no stems or sticks.
In scent I can detect hints of wood, earth, musk and a subtle hint of sweet flowers. As a whole it reminds me of being in a woods or forest as it rains, the rich musky scent of those surroundings just reminds me very much of this tea.
In the booklet it has little notes to recommend 1tsp of tea with 95°C water for 3 minutes steeping time.
My teapot holds just over two cups worth of tea so I shall be using 2tsp of tea but shall keep the same water temperature and steeping time for the sake of this review and analysis.
Once steeped this tea is golden in colour with a delicate but sweet, floral and wooden aroma.
The first few sips reveal sweet wood with flowers which finishes as a dry nutty, muscatel combination. Very clean and on the lighter side but with real wood and muscatel tones. It does get a little sweeter and more floral as my taste buds adapt to it’s beauty but as a whole I would still say the wooden musk combination was the most dominant in flavour.
A second steep increases the wooden musk but is now not as dry as the previous steep. Whether that is because I am used to the musk or not I don’t know but it definitely seems less so. Still very wooden and sweet.
Overall I believe this to be a very nice First Flush Darjeeling and an excellent example of one being muscatel. First flush varies a lot to me to the point where some taste more grassy and floral than muscatel at all, it’s refreshing to be taken back to what I expect.
My personal rating of this tea is 9/10.
I would buy more of this tea and would recommend it to anyone that likes Darjeeling or would simply like to try a muscatel tea. A great addition to a monthly box, if the other teas are like this one then you can colour me impressed and sign me up.
If you are interested in Tea Horses Monthly Taster Box then please view their website for more information.
At the moment this tea is so popular it is currently out of stock on their website! Visit their website for more wonderful teas http://teahorse.co.uk/