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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Review: Thunderbolt Tea’s 2010 Sample #2 Tea

© 2010 A.C. Cargill photos and text – All rights reserved.
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The Subject:
1st Flush 2010 Arya Ruby

Thunderbolt Tea. [More info]


Water temperature: 200° F (our recommendation)
Steeping time: 3 minutes (our recommendation)
Tea type: Black
Scents, flavorings added: N/A
Aroma, dry tea leaves: Sweet, fruity, earthy, hay-like

1st Infusion (in the cup):
Aroma, plain — Slightly smoky, fruity, cloverish/flowery
Taste, plain — Mild, not bitter, smooth, grassy, fruity as it cools
Aroma, enhanced — N/A
Taste, enhanced — N/A

Additional Infusion(s):
2nd infusion — Not smoky, mild flavor and aroma, much lighter, flowery taste emerges as it cools

Thunderbolt Tea deals directly with tea growers and factories. Hubby and I appreciate this since we like knowing where the tea we are drinking is coming from. Not absolutely necessary but nice.

The sample came in a wonderful vacuum-sealed foil package that, once opened, revealed it had kept the tea as fresh as the day it was sealed at the Arya Estate. The aroma was sweet, fruity, earthy, and hay-like. The leaf pieces are good sized, yet irregular (some big, some small), and enlarged nicely during steeping.

No steeping instructions came with the tea, nor could we find any on the company’s Website. Just as with the first sample in this 2010 batch, we had to feel our way. This time, though, we fared better. We used the same water temperature and steeping time that we had used for one of the Arya samples from 2009, and it worked well.

According to the information page on the estate linked a couple of paragraphs previous to this one, this is a black tea. Don’t expect it to be like a Chinese, Ceylon, Assam, or Kenyan black, though. It is not as dark, not as full-bodied, and does not take milk. However, you can do multiple infusions. We did 2, and both were delightful, holding up the reputation of Darjeeling teas. Complex flavors seemed to change with each sip as the tea cooled. The liquid was a rich amber color. Well worth a try.

Hubby and I don’t fall for the organic mumbo-jumbo nor assume that something labeled “organic” is going to be better quality (often, it’s just more expensive). Sadly, the Arya Estate got sucked into “going Organic” and as a result saw their production drop 30%. If they had had a 30% increase in quality, one might be able to say it was worth it, but no such claim can be made. Such production losses are common (we’re not talking about your backyard garden here, but large-scale production). Hard-working people who earn their living growing these crops are the ones who suffer most (lower wages and/or loss of their jobs).

Disclaimer: This tea was provided by the company named. However, the rating of the tea and any opinions concerning it are always strictly objective.

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