January 8, 2009

Mariage Freres Darjeeling

Darjeeling Tea is a tea that I always used to have on hand. For the past couple of years Ive been more focused on Oolongs and Japanese Sencha and kinda forgot how much I like Darjeeling. I think that Darjeeling more than any other tea is affected by the weather and other uncontrollable,s. When it,s a good year the tea,s are amazing. But for about the past 5 to 6 years Ive not seen anything that came close to a "good" year for Darjeeling. That's not to say the tea,s are bad, but nowhere close to the legendary status their known for. Having said that though I have been buying a few here and there and am happy to say I,m not disappointed with my purchases. This tea is from the Princeton Estate, T.G.F.O.P. is the acronym assigned to this tea. Which means Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe. But I also like another definition I read on another tea blog which is Too Good For Ordinary People. HaHa. This Tea,s is comprised of a mix of small whole leaves and broken leaf. This appears to be a blend of both first and second flushes. The dry leafs colors range from dark browns, light greens and rusty reds. The aroma of the dry leaf is fruity, slightly peppery and floral. One thing I like about this company is that they nitrogen flush the tea tins. Which means that the tea will stay fresh for a very extended length of time. *Using the standard rule of thumb for Darjeeling,s I used 2 &1/4 gms. of tea for 6 oz. boiling water with an infusion time of 3&1/2 min. The result is a crystal clear golden amber cup of some darned fine Darjeeling. Heady aromatics fill the air, smells like pears, grapes and flowers with that slight peppery smell that makes me want to drink cup after cup. (but I don't) I do add the slightest touch of sugar to Darjeeling's. I think the addition of sugar can sometimes bring out and highlight some of the more delicate flavors in a Darjeeling. The tea,s flavor follows right along with the aroma with the slightest "briskness" or as a lot of tea vendors call it "nuttiness" in the cup. A 100 gm tin,s price is $17.00, not bad really. For anyone interested in trying this tea I know that most William Sonoma specialty cooks stores carry this brand of tea,s.

*even though giving the "official" qty, steep time recipe this is a tea that I just eyeball it and go with the 1&1/2 tsp. or so tea for the 6 oz. water.


  1. Picture's nice, not as nice as Tyson's but he's got that petulant, expectant look, hard to duplicate with a tea canister. But really the light was rather nice and the Pearl S Buck novel was a nice touch. I've never made much headway with Darjeelings. This might make me give it a whirl. I've tried a few but probably not the top of the line and so I've missed out or I haven't gotten the brewing parameters quite right.

  2. Thanks Eileen. Yes I was pleased with the clarity of that pic. and the novel? Just a spontaneous grab for something with a little color. It is one of my favorite books though.Ive got some more "gourmet" Darjeelings on the way. From Uptons. Taking pics of brewed tea at night it,s hard to get a accurate color so sometime today I,ll get those.