I’m back from vacation and feeling rejuvenated despite a busy return to work this week. I’d like to share an interesting experience I had a few days ago. My colleague brewed a pot of a newly arrived Castleton estate second flush Darjeeling and the first word that popped into my head as I took my first sip was
It had a honeyed peach aroma with rich peach and muscatel flavor notes.
Naturally, we all requested it for our morning tea the following day. As I took my first sip that morning, I thought I had poured the wrong tea into my cup. While it was a very good Darjeeling, all of the wonderful flavor notes I had experienced the day before weren’t there. As my tea cooled, however, I detected them but they were very subtle.
So, what happened?
Different steeping times.
The first cup was steeped at 4 minutes and the second at 3 minutes. What a difference a minute makes, huh?
Look at this gorgeous leaf. It’s huge and chock full of tips/intact leaf sets.
Just like your water source can make all the difference in your resulting cup of tea so too can your steeping time. In light of my recent experience (and it’s happened to me before), I highly recommend that you experiment with different steeping times to find what works best for you. A tea you don’t like with your first cup could end up being your favorite tea by just making an adjustment to the steeping time!
This is the tea steeped for 3 minutes in boiling point water – a glowing medum amber hue.
The cup on the right is the tea steeped for 4 minutes. The color goes deeper and the peach/muscatel aroma and flavor are much more pronounced.
As my tea cooled, I was expecting the longer steeped tea to develop that characteristic “bite” but it never did. I might even try this tea steeped for 30 seconds longer. I like to push the steeping time to just before it develops that bitterness, that well known bitterness of being oversteeped.
So, I encourage you, dear tea friends, to experiment with the steeping times for your tea. That being said, however, I think that it’s best not to change the water temperature or the amount of tea leaves used per cup. Those should remain consistent.
For this tea, I used 2 teaspoons of leaf per cup since the leaf is so huge and boiling point water.
Do you have a story similar to mine? If so, please share!
Enjoy your weekend!