Thunderbolt Tea is a direct distributor of high-quality single-estate Darjeelings. (Straight from Darjeeling). The prices are affordable and the teas are superb. The only catch is that you need a $75 purchase to receive free shipping, lest the shipping cost as much as the tea. After $75, your purchase is eligible for free shipping via IndiaSpeedPost. Now, they said my order would take 14-20 days to get here...
Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised when it got here in 7. Not only did my three purchases make it here, they were also kind enough to enclose several small sample packages. I'm excited for these as well :)
The Thunderbolt site is a serious fountainhead of knowledge, so even if you don't feel like tea, or care for tea (why are you here?!), the back-stories of each estate and tea are still pretty interesting.
This one just happens to be a second flush Darjeeling, which are plucked in May. Second flush teas typically yield a mature and mellow brew.
Now, onto the tea itself.
|Isn't it beautiful?|
The leaves are long and wiry. The yellows, browns and greens present were all beautiful and smelled thick and musky, but very sweet, with heavy notes of chocolate, flowers, wine and wood.
I brought some water to just below a boil and steeped about 1tbsp in 16oz of water and steeped for about three minutes.
It brewed deep amber-gold. Quite light for a black tea, actually. ( Of course some time after I enjoyed this first (second, and third) cuppa, I learned that most unblended Darjeeling teas are not fully oxidized; and therefore bear more resemblance to an oolong in processing, thus this lighter, more delicate flavor.)
As indicated by it's name, the tea was musky, but also persisting were those notes of chocolate and floral, as well as sweet and nutty. The flavor here is divine and wonderfully nuanced. I don't quite know where to start. It was musky, flowery, toast, nutty, a little smoky, with a sweet floral finish that lingered and lingered.
I sipped this tea, really just enjoying each taste. This is a particularly flavorful and aromatic tea, and a thoroughly dazzling drinking experience.
To view the vendor's website, please follow this link.
This review (with edits) was originally published May 2010 on my original teablog, UNCERTAIN-TEA.