Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Chai Chun: Arya Tea Estate Showcase, A Tea Review

I am slowly making progress on my Mortis Throne and have hit a road block! The magical Necromancy effects are all glowing purple (like I do) and the only magical glowy stuff I have left are the lanterns and corpse torches, and I am beginning to wonder if I should paint them something other than purple to break up the solid wall of purple. Luckily I am not in any kind of rush so I can take my time, but I really am torn!

Today I am looking at a few teas from Chai Chun, featuring Arya Tea Estate in Darjeeling, one of my favorite estates to get my Darjeeling second flush fix. In the past, I have only had the Ruby, a really tasty second flush, so I am excited to explore other teas from that garden. Starting with Arya Pearl, a white tea that looks like a green, but certainly tastes like a magnificent white. The aroma is very sweet, notes of juicy grapes and peppery wildflowers, notes of tulsi and a touch of distant lilies. It smells complex while also being light.

Whoa, the taste caught me off guard, there are notes of orange blossom, clover, honey, malt, vanilla pastries, peony flowers, wildflowers, and a finish of crisp tulsi. It is incredibly complex while also being very light and refreshing. The notes of flowers didn't surprise me, since they are ones I usually associate with white teas, but the vanilla and malt were the surprising aspects, not something I run into with a white tea that is so green! It lasts for several steeps and was a delicious session.

Next on to the green tea! Arya Emerald, and this is a savory one! The aroma is very light, notes of grilled bell pepper, crisp cucumbers, zucchini and a touch of lettuce. I really had to work to pick up an aroma, which made me a little apprehensive for a mellow taste, so I decided to use hotter than normal water than I usually do for a green.

I am glad I did, this tea can take the heat, no bitterness or astringency to be found, instead, I was rewarded with sea air, wet slate, cucumbers, grilled vegetables (primarily zucchini and bell peppers) with a long lingering taste of cooked broccoli and a slightly sweet finish. I got two really solid steeps out of this tea, both of them light and refreshing but still flavorful.

And now we journey into the black teas! Arya Moonshine, it is not on their website, and I cannot really find any information on it online so alas I cannot tell you if this is a second flush or an autumn flush (I am not an expert in Darjeeling so can't tell from taste) I will say that it smells really good, strong notes of raisins and honey blend with undertones of pistachio nuts and malty molasses bread.

It was not just me that enjoyed this tea, Ben was a huge fan and has mostly obliterated my sample of it! It tastes like very yeasty molasses bread, malt, raisins, roasted pistachio nuts, and a strong finish of peach, which was very sweet and pleasant. It is well known that I am a sucker for teas that are naturally sweet, and this one tasting very sweet and very rich...well it is no surprise it is almost gone!

Lastly is Arya Diamond, this one is a second flush, and smells like a big bowl of juicy purple muscadine grapes and malt. Honestly, this tea smells so muscatel that it inspired me to go to the store and buy grapes, and sadly they were not muscadines but close enough. I truly love teas that are very muscatel, even though I don't drink a ton of Indian teas anymore, there is a reason I still wander back to Darjeelings.

The taste is pleasantly light for a black tea, a gentle briskness and thick mouthfeel blend with immensely juicy muscadine grapes, warm honey, orange blossoms, and malt. Where the Moonshine made a really good morning tea, this one's lightness made it very appealing to drink later in the day. I feel like drinking this needs to be accompanied by pastries and lounging, it just feels relaxing, which I really enjoy. Arya Estate continues to be a favorite, especially after seeing a greater spectrum of their teas!

This tea was sent for review purposes by the company.

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