Disappointing Darjeeling Tea

Look for this seal on your Darjeeling tea to get the real deal!
Look for this seal on your Darjeeling tea to get the real deal!

Every so often it happens — the tea in my cup disappoints. It’s happened less during the past few years as I have learned more about how to choose good quality teas, for, you see, starting with the best makes disappointment less likely. That’s why this incident was so startling — it was a quality tea.

Okay, to be totally fair I should point out that this tea was in its original non-airtight tin and had been in the pantry for a few years (try five, maybe even six). So, really this is all about proper storage and not letting a good tea sit around too long.

The tea in question was a Darjeeling blend, as opposed to a Darjeeling from a particular garden and of a particular flush. Still, it had been quite pleasing from the first, so much so that I had probably subconsciously kept it aside to save for a special time. Then, when I finally considered the occasion sufficiently special, the tea no longer was. Lesson learned.

Darjeeling is one of the most special teas around. It is from the same varietal of the tea bush as Chinese teas: Camellia Sinensis. However, the soil and environment of the Darjeeling side of the Himalayas seems to impart a very unique quality to them, so much so that the Darjeeling Tea Association was able to secure a label that only growers in the Darjeeling region of India can use. This is to assure the quality and reputation of those teas, keeping out fakes and also blends that are mostly some other type of tea with a little Darjeeling tea added in. The tea that disappointed me was a pure Darjeeling blend, just in case you were wondering.

So, you are probably also wondering what was so disappointing to this Tea Princess. First, the typical taste character of Darjeeling teas was totally absent — not a touch of Muscatel-like tang. Second, the same was true of the aroma of the dry leaves and in the cup — no Muscatel, just a dry hay-like smell and taste. There was a time when I wouldn’t have even known the difference. Some say that ignorance is bliss. I guess it would have been here. However, in my present state of experience and some knowledge, the tea was unpalatable. What to do?

Lovers Leap Darjeeling never fails to please and goes especially well with chocolate!
Lovers Leap Darjeeling never fails to please and goes especially well with chocolate!

Hubby to the rescue. Sure, we could have poured it down the drain or watered the plants, but he chose to go ahead and drink it. Oh, I should explain that his allergies had kicked up and therefore his senses of taste and smell were quite dampened. I prefer, though, to think that he is just that kinda guy!

Time to review the teas in the pantry to assure that some are not too old or improperly stored. There could be further disappointing tea times ahead!

See also:
5 No-No’s When Storing Your Flavored Teas
Tea Storage Containers
Ins and Outs of Tea Storage Containers
Review: The English Tea Store’s Lover’s Leap Estate Tea
Darjeeling, Often Called “The Champagne of Tea”
Darjeeling Black Tea Seasons
Review — Soom Estate 1st Flush Darjeeling from English Tea Store
Reading Tea Leaves — Darjeeling Teas
Review of Mim Estate Darjeeling from the English Tea Store
Review of Lovers Leap Estate Black

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

4 thoughts on “Disappointing Darjeeling Tea

  1. Pingback: Guarding the Darjeeling Brand « Tea Blog

  2. Darjeeling teas aren’t suppose to be stored for that long. The results are disastrous for the taste buds.That’s why we stress on cataloguing the freshest ones, not later than 2011.

  3. A.C – certainly open to the air storage will kill most teas in a few months – sooner if in the steamy south. By contrast I was looking for some stale tea for a class and opened a pack of tea I had made in Pakistan 12 years ago – I was foiled in my search for a stale flavor as the tea was still as fresh as the day it was made. Perfect drying to 2.5% moisture and hermetically sealing it within an hour of making it ensures the longevity of any tea. Too few are treated like that in commerce however.

    Nigel at Teacraft

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s