Lochan Tea Tasting – #9 Castleton FTGFOP 1 CH SP 2009

November 12, 2009

#9 Castleton FTGFOP 1 CH SP

Dry Leaf: Dark and small pieces with hints of chocolate

Wet Leaf: Aroma is very vegetal like cooked spinach. Small broken leaf pieces of no uniformity. Peppery.

Brewed: The scent is very interesting, it’s got a tiny bit of the muscatel from some of the other Darjeelings we’ve tasted but seems much more mild and balanced with a touch of the vegetal/spinach and peppery quality of the wet leaf. The flavor is very different, and actually the vegetal notes are right up front in the flavor. It’s actually overpowered to the vegetal side for my tastes in a Darjeeling. Spinach is what I got from the wet leaf and spinach is what I get in the liquor, also a bit slippery in mouth-feel which rounds out the thought and taste. It has that deep, mineraly, peppery, leafy green quality of a spinach or kale but the scent of the cup coming up for a sip fakes you out into expecting a bit more standard Darjeeling/muscatel experience. Surprise!

This one isn’t so much in my wheelhouse, personally. I can see how some may like this departure and unique flavor, but it’s an odd combination for me and one I can’t force myself to get over or particularly enjoy. I’m actually one who swoons for the fishy notes in a good Japanese green tea, so I wouldn’t have thought my reaction would be as strong as it is in this instance. Again, before this tasting, I normally stuck with the very strong muscatel Darjeelings only, and often that meant Margaret’s Hope, so my view of the category is a bit narrow admittedly. However, this is a flavor profile I have never had before in a Darjeeling, in any capacity, so it could just be the surprise of it that has formed my opinion. I’d like to believe that but I don’t think this one will even come to grow on me. There’s a tea for everyone, this one just doesn’t bear my name.

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Lochan Tea Tasting – #7 Thurbo FTGFOP 1 CL TPY 2009

November 8, 2009

#7 Thurbo FTGFOP 1 CL TPY

Dry: Oaky/smokey hint of coconut husk and fuller leaf

Wet Leaf: Nutty and vegetal while brewing. A little melon.

Brewed: coconut on the nose and then a fairly lively brew that kicks off with a pretty strong almond note that turns into coconut and a little bit of bitterness through the middle and into the finish where the bitterness quickly recedes a touch of astringency and a nutty/coconut oil finish that gently coats and stays around for a nice long time.

This is a very good tea to be sure, however this one doesn’t hit any specific chords that resonate with me personally. All of the flavors and complexities are well balanced and there is no fault found with the tea itself. I feel that this is a tea that I will revisit off and on over time and eventually could even grow into a favorite, often initial indifference from me leads to a new addition to the stable. There are wisps of muscatel hiding and swirling behind the scenes and I think that makes me just want them front and center in a cup of Margarets Hope, but often the subtleness is actually a positive and becomes more desirable than just a full-on hit.