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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Review: Thunderbolt Tea’s 2010 Sample #9 Tea

© 2011 A.C. Cargill photos and text – All rights reserved.
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The Subject:  Autumn Flush 2010 Singbulli Clonal Autumn Queen
Company:Thunderbolt Tea. [More info]

Straight Tea Rating:

About the new rating designation.

Water temperature:180° F (our guess)
Steeping time:3-4 mins. (our guess)
Tea type:Black based on leaf appearance
Dry leaves:  Large pieces, black/coppery/yellow. Fruity, planty, nutty aroma.

1st Infusion:  
Steeping time —3 mins.
Aroma, plain —  Muscatel, nutty
Taste, plain —Muscatel, nutty, no bitterness, tang builds with each sip
Color, plain —Coppery
2nd Infusion:
Steeping time —3½ mins.
Aroma, plain —  Muscatel, nutty
Taste, plain —Lighter, less tang, still has muscatel character
Color, plain —Coppery
3rd Infusion:
Steeping time —4 mins.
Aroma, plain —  Lighter muscatel, nutty
Taste, plain —Weaker but still nice
Color, plain —Lighter copper

Hubby and I have finally gotten to try the first of the 2010 Autumn Flush samples we received awhile ago and thank Thunderbolt Tea for their patience. This amazing company has “flushed” out another Darjeeling tea worthy of the name, again from the Singbulli Estate (see the Thunderbolt Tea Website for photos of this and other tea estates in the Darjeeling region).

True to what is usual for this third flush of the tea-growing season, the dry leaves are large pieces (broken leaf) ranging in color from black to copper to a pale yellow. The wet leaves range from dark green to copper.

The package label shows how we would like other teas labeled, that is with the tea estate, the flush, and the year. It also states that this is a clonal tea.

Since no steeping instructions came with the tea (just as with the other samples from this vendor), we took a guess and went with the water temperature and steeping times we use for other Autumn flush teas. The 3rd steep was a bit weak, so we stopped there, but might have been stronger if we had steeped shorter times for the 1st and 2nd steeps.

We’re relishing the experience of how teas change flavors as they begin to cool after the initial pour into the cup. As with other teas, the flavors of this one changed, the characteristic Muscatel flavor becoming quite tangy, but never bitter.

As with their other samples, this tea needs no sweetener or milk. Just a fabulous and refreshing Darjeeling tea!

By the way, hubby and I wanted to point out that Little Yellow Teapot is wearing a tea-dyed headband from CrafTEA Designs. He has claimed it as an award for being the #1 teapot in our bevy and wears it like a sash. The scarf that the teapot sits on is also from CrafTEA Designs, who will be one of the vendors at the World Tea Expo in Las Vegas this year. The tasting cups are new. We couldn’t resist, they are so cute, even though we suspect that they are saki cups.

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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