Summer Tea Blues

I’ve got the Summer Tea Blues. Seems that two of my favorite teas are having problems this year. First, I got the news through my typical supplier of the Makaibari Estate Darjeeling that the shipping company bringing it to the US had some kind of problem along the way, and that most of it arrived in the country damp and moldy. There may be more on the way, and they did get in some large-leaf varieties, but I like the small leaf stuff of this particular tea. More news as I get it, and I’ll let you know when I taste the large leaf (assuming I can get some of that). Anyway, that’s disappointment #1.

Disappointment #2 is not so much a disappointment as it is the inevitable letdown that comes the year after a truly noteworthy year. I got a sample of some 2007 Bai Hao / Dong Fang Mei Ren / Oriental Beauty. It was nice. Good color, plenty of flavor, and a flavor profile that I’d expect from a good Bai Hao. In other words, it’s a perfectly good tea. It’s just not as good as last year. Last year was phenomenal, and this year just isn’t quite. I hear there weren’t enough bugs and the weather wasn’t very cooperative in Taiwan.

So what can you do? Drink good (but not phenomenal) tea for another year, I guess, and hope that the bugs come back in droves and the weather cooperates more next year. And that the shippers bringing second flush Makaibari Estate from India don’t leave the tea on the tarmac (or whatever happened) again.

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