Soom Estate tea

Soom Estate tea

Name: Soom Estate 1st Flush Darjeeling

Brand: English Tea Store

Type: Black tea, Darjeeling First Flush

Form: Loose leaf

Review: Those who know me have heard me carp on the mediocrity of many a first flush Darjeeling. As I am fond of saying “They don’t know whether to be a green or a black tea when they grow up.” The first flushes can be interesting, but I prefer the fuller flavor of a second flush, and my personal preference is for the Autumn flushes, which are often so nutty and robust.

Soom Estate’s 1st flush is actually quite tasty, and for the price (first flushes can be pricey) this tea is a good value.

Unlike some first flush Darjeelings, this one has no aspirations to becoming a green tea. It is certainly a black tea, but with some characteristics that remind me of white teas, including a slight “juicy” quality. The nose on the dry leaf is pungent, though this mellows out after brewing.  In the cup, the tea is a light gold with a hint of green.

This tea’s flavors are complex: I detected a hint of almond along with some light, sweet muscatel. Don’t even think about adding anything to this tea, or you’ll ruin everything that makes this tea worth drinking.

Preparation Tips: Take the water temperature down just a smidge when preparing this tea to maintain its sweetness. Don’t oversteep: Two minutes works well, two and a half minutes if you like a more intense cup. Let it cool slightly before drinking.

Serving Suggestions: I’m not a fan of first flush Darjeelings with food, as I feel that their flavors are too complex and delicate to be properly appreciated when served with edibles. Soom Estate Darjeeling is no exception: Drink this on its own, preferably in the afternoon and out of a delicate porcelain teacup. It’s just that kind of tea.

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