Steep Stories

of the Lazy Literatus

The Dog Days of Summer, Sipping Darjeeling

Over the course of the Summer, I was occasionally called upon by my brother and his wife to watch this li’l guy.

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Why does he have a cone on? I’ll get to that…

Bro and sis-in-law were called away this time to take on the wilds of Canada with her family. I housesat and dog-sat in the interim. The first couple of days saw the dog and I getting used to each other, as is often the case. The galoot would test the boundaries (and my patience), and I would develop a routine around his quixotic, Bernardian behavior.

The wrinkle this time around was his butt. No really.

Before the bro-fam left for Canada, a flea had bitten him, and said hindquarters itched profusely. He would do what any dog did – bite the ever-loving hell out of it. Unfortunately, being a dog, he didn’t know when to stop. Hence…cone.

For the house/dog-sitting week, I only brought a few teas to subsist on. One of these was Norbu Tea’s Thurbo Oriental Moon, First Flush, 2014. I had plenty of it, and I figured it would do the trick. If it didn’t, I brought back-ups.

Short version: I never had to rely on the back-ups.

The leaves were like that of first flushes I’d seen before, but what surprised me more was how tippy the leafy bouquet was.

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Seriously, like, every other piece was a tip varying amounts of downy fuzz present. Usually, such a thing is only present on Darjeeling oolongs, but I wasn’t complaining. The dry aroma was nutty, slightly citrusy, and – of course – herbaceous by any good first flush standards.

Brewing was easy enough. 1 teaspoon, 6oz. steeper cup, hot water, three-minute steep…and done. Yet I still observed a bit of care when brewing – making sure I didn’t over-brew. Some Darjeelings didn’t take to that well.

The liquor brewed to a green tea-ish pale gold with an aroma of grapes and nuts.

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I swear, Darjeelings this year have had the grapiest aromas compared to prior ones. Not muscatel wine grapes, just straight grapes. This was one of the sweeter ones on fragrance alone. Taste-wise, there was a creamy introduction, followed by something akin to…blueberries(???)…and a finish akin to a dry Riesling. Of all the first flushes I’ve tried thus far this year, I think this was the best.

No wonder I lived on it.

Over the course of the week, I brewed it hot in the mornings before work and got the dog fed. After work, I brewed the same leaves iced prior to a dog walk.

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It held up just as sweetly in a pint glass on the rocks.

The owners came home to a happy dog-sitter and a slightly spoiled brat of a Saint Bernard.

I’m not sure why I always turn to Darjeeling every time I watch that dog. Heck, this is the second (or third?) blog I’ve written on the subject. But, hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Or just put a cone on it.

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lazyliteratus

Tea blogger, professional cleaner of toilets, amateur people watcher.
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15 Comments

  1. my cat recently rocked a cone (not fun). it’s quite funny and a bit sad to see animals disoriented in them! that tea looks awesome 😀 and love your closing line there! hah!
    ladies in navy

  2. I know this is horrible but I laughed when I opened the post. It’s so sad yet so funny to see dogs wearing cones. My dog was suppose to wear one once and it lasted a mere two minutes. We ended up putting socks on his feet instead.

  3. Profile photo of Xavier

    Did you give it Darjeeling?

  4. I’m just picturing you brewing and sipping that lovely tea, mocking that coned dog all weekend 😛

  5. Poor dog!
    I have yet to master Darjeeling. I never liked it at the tea house where I worked because we only had one temperature of water and it always god burned and bitter!

  6. “..Darjeelings this year have had the grapiest aromas compared to prior ones…” I am fascinated with the subtleties that you discern from each batch of tea. In most circles, I would say I have a finely tuned palate, but I’m afraid yours would put mine to shame.

  7. Profile photo of Amy

    Amy

    Iced darjeeling is divine in the summer…

  8. Oh my poor doggie! It deserves all attention and teas in the world 🙂

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