Spring 2020 Harvest

I received this as a sample from Alistair @ What-Cha. Thank you!

I don’t always enjoy Darjeeling teas, but I tend to enjoy 1st Flush offerings. This is probably because they are essentially white teas, with trademark Darjeeling grape flavour. White teas almost always please me, although I can’t say why. Something about smooth, sweet hay and flowers, a drop of lemon, and subtle “mystery fruits.” I also generally like how the caffeine hits me.

First steep finishes sweet and vaguely creamy. Also, the usual Grape Crush nostalgia is present, without too much of that Darjeeling astringency.

Second steep verges somewhat from typical white tea standard and delves into quintessential Darjeeling territory. Still floral, grape, hay, etc. A bit more astringency and some pepper expands this cup out an extra dimension. The grape takes on some of that prized “wine” quality.

Third steep: Lemon zest, sweet grapes, tangy apricot, pleasantly sour, smooth . When I first took a sip, while it was still piping hot, I thought It had gone disappointingly flat. After it cooled a little the apricots peaked; it’s a pretty vivid and multi-faceted note. The finish is juicy, sour, and complex, like a stonefruit (plum or apricot). No mistaking it for anything but a Darjeeling now!

Steep Count: 3, Western Style. 2 – 4 min.

Flavors: Apricot, Astringent, Creamy, Floral, Grapes, Hay, Lemon, Muscatel, Pepper, Smooth, Stonefruit

190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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I started my Steepster loose leaf adventure back in 2012. I can’t say I’m completely new anymore, but I still view oolong as a magical, extraterrestrial creature that unfurls in water.

Favourite Flavours/Ingredients:

-Vanilla, Maple, Caramel, Cream, Toffee, Nougat, Marzipan
-All Citrus: Lime, Grapefruit, Lemon, Bergamot, Orange, Yuzu
-Anise, but not licorice
-Ginger or Clove-forward chai
-Grassy, Marine, Vegetal, or Nutty Green teas
-Florals: Rose, Lavender, Jasmine, etc.
-Musky and/or Woody Incense-like stuff: Sandalwood, Frankincense, Eucalyptus
-Berries: Blackberry, Raspberry, Currants, Blueberry, Elderberry
-Bananas, and most fruits actually.

Less Preferred Flavours/Ingredients:

-Stevia and most sweetners
-Cinnamon-forward chai/blends
-Apple & Cranberries
-Mango pieces (love mango outside of tea though)
-Coconut pieces (as a sub/filler ingredient)
-Metallic or overly artificial teas
-Cocoa Nibs, 95% of the time.

Subjective Rating System 3.0:

90-100: My absolute favourite tea. I’ll impulsively buy in large quantities and hoard like a dragon.

85-89: A favourite tea. I’ll try to keep this one around when it’s practical.

76-84: A good tea, but not one I’m likely to order again.

70-75: Alright, but I may have a few problems with quality, consistency, ingredient chemistry, or personal preferences.

50-69: Average to mediocre cup.

11-49: Varying levels of undrinkable tea. I don’t give a lot of these ratings out, since I tend to grab tea I know will appeal to me.

1-10: Nightmare tea from the chaos realms. This tea is the embodiment of the primordial swamp, the unholy abomination that is a chimera. It’s very gross and I’m almost positive it doesn’t exist.


BC, Canada

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