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Monday, January 3, 2011

Review: Thunderbolt Tea’s 2010 Sample #5 Tea

© 2011 A.C. Cargill photos and text – All rights reserved.
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The Subject:  2nd Flush 2010 Risheehat Clonal Flowery
Company:Thunderbolt Tea. [More info] [About Clonal Teas]

Straight Tea Rating:

About the new rating designation.

Water temperature:180° F (our guess)
Steeping time:3-4 mins. (our guess)
Tea type:Green based on leaf appearance
Aroma, dry leaves:  Planty, fruity

1st Infusion:  
Steeping time —3 mins.
Aroma, plain —  Fruity, planty
Taste, plain —Mild, fruity, not bitter, slightly planty
Color, plain —Golden, rosy
2nd Infusion:
Steeping time —3.5 mins.
Aroma, plain —  Fruity, planty, sweet caramelly
Taste, plain —Mild, fruity, not bitter, slightly planty
Color, plain —Golden, rosy
3rd Infusion:
Steeping time —4 mins.
Aroma, plain —  Fruity, planty
Taste, plain —Mild, fruity, not bitter, slightly planty
Color, plain —Lighter golden, rosy

Thunderbolt Tea is quite an amazing company. You don’t get a bunch of nondescript Darjeeling. You get very specific teas from specially selected tea gardens. That means the flavors will vary with each year, flush, and garden, so each tea is a new adventure, yet they all have that distinctive Darjeeling character. This tea is no exception.

The Risheehat Tea Garden in the Darjeeling province of India is at one of the lower elevations, ranging from 980 to 2050 meters above sea level. It has over 250 hectares planted with tea and harvests at least three times during the year. This 2nd flush tea was probably harvested in September.

The tea leaf pieces are large for the most part and include the leaf-bud combo. The color of the dry pieces varies from a coppery brown to a deep, cool green. Their fragrance was preserved by the sample’s wonderful vacuum-sealed foil package, as fresh as the day it was sealed at the Risheehat Estate. They enlarged nicely during steeping.

Since no steeping instructions came with the tea (just as with the first sample in this 2010 batch), we took a guess and went with the water temperature and steeping times we use for sturdier green teas such as Gunpowder. We started at a 3-minute steep and added 30 seconds to each subsequent steep time. There could have been a 4th or maybe even 5th steep, but we stopped at three. You could try going further and see how you like it.

As with other teas, the flavor of this one changed subtly as it started to cool after being poured into the cup. It never became bitter, though, as some teas do. The fruitiness became more pronounced with a planty finish (hubby calls it a “solid flavor base” — sounds okay to me).

You won’t need any sweetener or milk for this tea. Just set your tastebuds on “stunning” and prepare to enjoy!

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


  1. Nice Review Darjeeling Tea my friend!

  2. I have yet to try anything from the Risheehat garden. This tea certainly sounds worth trying, however. I love Darjeeling greens. I'd be interested to see if I could taste the elevation difference, sampling tea from a garden lower than many of the others. I definitely am starting to get a sense of what "high-grown" tea tastes like.


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