It is very cold in Darjeeling, so cold that Benoy Thapa, the owner of Thunderbolt Tea, thinks it may snow! However, it is not snowing here and the sun is out, and I am going to have a cup of Thunderbolt's Arya Estate Emerald, a second flush green tea. A lot of Darjeeling estates are getting into green teas and this is one. The dry tea is so pretty – huge long wiry green, white and tan leaves and buds, smelling of a meadow. I brewed it at about 180 degrees with about 2 teaspoons of tea because the leaves were so large. I also brewed it for about 4 minutes, because every time I tasted it before then it didn't taste “done”. As it brewed there was a lovely delicate floral scent given off, but it was not particularly sweet. There was also some dried herb mixed in the full scent package. The liquor was a really pretty yellow, with a faint tinge of brown.
This is definitely not a Chinese or Japanese green tea, so do not expect anything like them. This must be judged on its own merits. The brewed tea is very delicate and at first it seems as though you are drinking hot water. However, as it cools to the warm side of hot, the flavors begin to come out, somewhat floral, a hint of almond, a hint of sweet. I think you could easily do multiple short infusions of this tea, with water about 160 degrees and be quite happy. I will try that another day. I also think just a tiny bit of lemon would add to it. This is a very nice, very special tea. For someone wanting to try green teas, this would be a good one.
In this month's issue of Tea Time Magazine there are some really cute pewter teabag holders, made by Tin Woodsman Pewter. They are available on http://www.amazon.com/ and would certainly make neat Valentine's Day gifts.