Saturday, 19 November 2011

The taste of failure... unbelievably bitter, astringent and, on an empty stomach, head-spinning. Yes, that is what the failure to brew a cup of sencha PROPERLY tastes like.

Not just any sencha either, dammit. A Darjeeling sencha from Badamtam estate, very kindly sent to me by the lovely people at Lochan Tea. I've never had a Darjeeling sencha before. It looks very like a deep steamed Japanese one, dark green leaves like fine needles. So naturally I brewed in the way I normally brew sencha these days... A tablespoon of leaves, boiling water, multiple short steeps.

Well. This method works beautifully for Japanese greens, and really pulls the most out of Australian sencha too... But it was an absolutely abject failure for the Badamtam. I haven't had such an appallingly bitter cup of tea in a while, especially not one I've made myself.* So I shall try again; less leaf, cooler temperatures... Hopefully I'll be able to work it out before I use up all my sample.

I still drank the tea, though, undrinkable though it seemed on first sip. Self-flagellation? Well, maybe a little, but once I'd got past the grimace-inducing taste of the alkaloids, that same astounding sweetness that sencha has was still there. So it was worth it, in the end.

*a notable example at another establishment was a pot of Earl Grey at Trunk; I cannot even begin to imagine what they did to it to make it so vile. I suspect a ritual circle of black magic, worked by coffee-drinking tea-haters, may have been involved.


  1. Funny how some tea is like a puzzle. As if you have to unlock its mysteries before you can appreciate the goodness.

    Am wishing you luck with this one. Sounds like you migh need it.

  2. Darjeeling sencha?! Wow, now I'm really curious. And I'd like to see your thoughts when you prepare it a different way.

  3. Your fail is my gain Ms JDT. Or perhaps I should say it's Lochan Tea's gain. Because now I've been reminded of a tea, I really didn't know much about.
    Your bitter account doesn't deter me. I should try it. I'm sure I should.
    Keep us posted about your next time!

  4. I've found Darjeeling green tea and Darjeeling oolong to be more sensitive to brewing temperature than nearly any other teas I've ever tried. I tend to treat them more like Gyokuro...go very, very low on the brewing temperature.

    That said, I've never had a Darjeeling sencha (fascinating-sounding idea) but if it's at all like any of the other non-black teas to come out of Darjeeling, what you write here comes as no surprise to me!

  5. Hello, I can see you are a tea lover and would like to present our large selection of authentic Darjeeling teas for review. Please give us your address where we can send tea samples and we would very much appreciate your review and a link to our site
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  6. The lesser temperature and less brewing time may do the trick for a good cup of Darjeeling Tea from Badamtam.
    Hope it was wonderful next time around. We also have a brewing technique posted at

  7. Awesome post .i hope everybody will like your post

  8. Nice post, i hope everyone will like your post..

  9. One of the best articles I have ever read, and everything I feel, but expressed much better than I can. And, since less is more, I'll let that statement and the article speak fir itself..

  10. Great article!!! Your tips are so simple yet fundamental.


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