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monk tea darjeeling ftgfop1

March 11, 2010

Monk Tea is based in India and their tea is from the coveted Arya Tea Estate, which produces some of the best Darjeeling leaf in the world. In 1763, Buddhist monks set out to find a place to build a monastery, and they found the perfect place in the beautiful hills of Darjeeling. Over time, Darjeeling became a thriving township and eventually began to grow some of the finest tea in the world. So much so that Darjeeling came to be known as the “Champagne of Tea”.

The dry leaf is graded FTGFOP1, which means it is some of the best quality Darjeeling available, and from the first flush. Leaves are uniform and fresh with a greenish black color and some downy silver tips. The aroma is earthy and there are notes of white pepper, grass and mint.

The cup color is a shade of glossy amber, and the fragrance is divine, with muscatel and honey characteristics. The flavor is slightly astringent and full bodied with a long, sweet finish. There is a malty component, with a grape-y essence and a rich fruity flavor with floral undertones.

I am growing to love Darjeeling the more I taste it. In the beginning of my tea exploration, I thought Darjeeling to be a little bitter on my palate. I have learned to pay attention to the temperature of my water and to the steeping time. Although Darjeeling is classified as a black tea, it isn’t as oxidized as much as most blacks are, and harsh boiling water creates a bitter brew. Steeped a little more gently and with care, Darjeeling truly is worthy of its moniker, the “Champagne of Tea”.

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