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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Review: Thunderbolt Tea’s 2010 Sample #10 Tea

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

Straight Tea Rating:

About the new rating designation.

Water temperature:200° F (our guess)
Steeping time:3-4 mins. (our guess)
Tea type:Black based on leaf appearance
Dry leaves:  Broken leaf, dark brown to coppery, fruity/cocoa-ish aroma

1st Infusion:  
Steeping time —3 mins.
Aroma, plain —  Roasty cocoa/fruity
Taste, plain —Mild, not bitter, yet not fruity, overly roasty
Color, plain —Dark Amber
Taste, enhanced —  Sweetener is good, a bit of milk is good too but not without sweetener
2nd Infusion:
Steeping time —3½ mins.
Aroma, plain —  Lighter
Taste, plain —Milder flavor
Color, plain —Dark Amber

Another 2010 Autumn Flush sample, this one from the Giddapahar tea garden in the foothills of the Himalayas in the Darjeeling area of India. Benoy of Thunderbolt Tea rides his motorcycle through those foothills and seeks out the best teas.

This one is a bit of a puzzle. The first infusion did not have the taste qualities we had come to expect in a Darjeeling. That Muscatel fruitiness was not present but the flavor was instead mild and a sort of roasty planty quality. It wasn’t bad, just different. I tried it with a bit of sweetener added and liked it. Hubby, though, thought that both milk and sweetener were needed, so we tried it that way and found it quite appealing.

Look at these lovely leaves, not ground up dust, but broken leaf pieces that are the range of cocoa brown to coppery after steeping:

Another great package label, showing how we would like other teas labeled (with the tea estate, the flush, and the year), and stating that this is a clonal tea.

We used the same steeping temperature and time that we had for other Autumn flush teas and did 2 infusions but could undoubtedly done a 3rd. The 2nd infusion was lighter in aroma and taste and so was enjoyable straight, but still lacked that Darjeeling quality we have grown to appreciate so well. We recommend some options here:

Rinse the leaves briefly before steeping.
Steep for 2 minutes, 2½ minutes, and 3 minutes (shorter steep times than we used).
Steep 2 infusions as we did and then combine them into one medium tasting liquid.

We did the last one once the tasting was done and added some milk and sweetener for a tasty cupful (or two!).

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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