Thunderbolt Tea

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pedant
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Tue Oct 08, 2019 10:53 pm

this is a darjeeling tea vendor located in darjeeling.

https://www.thunderbolttea.com/

i have been generally happy with their offerings over the years, and i find the tea quality is relatively good. i suppose my one complaint is that the prices seem a little high, and i feel that i have to play more games than i am accustomed to with coupon codes and minimum order quantity (to 'avail' free or reasonably priced shipping). to be fair, the shipping prices do seem better since their site redesign.

the reason i'm bringing them up now is they have a decent sale going. 40% off with coupon code vijay. i think it expires thursday morning (UTC -6).

i already ordered once this year in late july, so i've tried a handful of their 2019 teas.

for me, these were the standouts:

FF:
  • Castleton Moonlight Imperial 2019 FF
    • i always get imperial moonlight if it's available. there was a SF version of this tea a few years ago that was truly mindblowing. maybe the best DJ i've had.
SF: what are your thoughts on this vendor? anyone try their 2019 stuff?
Pete
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Tue Oct 08, 2019 10:59 pm

Thanks @pedant. With the coupon it looks like a good time for me to try a few and learn more about Darjeelings. I appreciate the heads up and notes on your favorites.
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Victoria
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Wed Oct 09, 2019 1:33 pm

Thanks to your recommendation @pedant in July I ordered quite a few 1st and 2nd flush from Thunderbolt Tea. Overall, I think the quality is AAA grade. After all the discounts, including first time purchase, the price also seems reasonably equitable to quality. I also like that they carry quite a few good organic teas. My notes are not great on these but here are my favorites so far;

1st Flush
Castleton Moonlight Imperial, Darjeeling White 1st Flush 2019, SFTGFOP1, **** AAA excellent. Champagne, light floral notes. Yumm nutty buttery mineral smooth w some kind of light bouquet.

Castleton Moonlight, Darjeeling White 1st Flush 2019, SFTGFOP1 **tasty & affordable. Nutty creamy, aromatic, sweet, lingering mouthfeel.

Margaret’s Hope Moonlight Tea, Darjeeling White 1st Flush 2019, SFTGFOP1 * very light & delicate. Fruity notes coming through but too mild for my palate.

Castleton Tea Garden Darjeeling “Tippy Clonal”, Black 1st Flush 2019 FTGFOP1 **good. Nice effervescence

Singbulli Tea Estate Thunder 2018, Black Organic 1st Flush FTGFOP1 *** very good. Pleasant aroma and good flavor profile with many layered notes.

Barnesbeg Tea “Himalayan Queen”, Darjeeling Black Organic 1st Flush 2019 SFTGFOP1 *** good. light, nice mouthfeel, effervescent nutty and lingering sensation. Third tasting; aromatic with rich fruity body.

Turzum Darjeeling (Black) 1st Flush Himalayan Mystic tea 2018 SFTGFOP1 *** really tasty even though it’s 2018. Pleasant aromatics, green tea notes, smooth, warming, nutty almond and vanilla honey profile.


2nd Flush
Castleton Moonlight 2019 Second Flush, Oolong, DJ-248, SFTGFOP1 ** good. Processed as an oxidized oolong. Tippy buds are copper colored, and infusion has background malty fruity nutty notes. Tastes like oxidized oolong. Aromatics pleasant, camphorous pine sweet warming. Smooth. Warming. Thick sweetness covers mouth. some sweet musk notes. Good through 3 steeps.

Sungma Tea Garden Organic Musk Darjeeling 2018, Black, Organic FTGFOP1. Didn’t like it. Not sure if steeping temperature of 203-212F is a typo on their site. I used 207F and find it overbrewed and way too tannic at this temperature. I now see it was also Very cheap 17$ for 100 grams.

P.S. the teas with 70% off seem very limited
The more *** indicates how much I enjoyed the tea.
Last edited by Victoria on Tue Feb 04, 2020 9:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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tjkdubya
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Thu Nov 07, 2019 3:06 am

Has anyone else who ordered in early Oct received their order, or at least gotten confirmation of shipping? I've message them 3 times now, each time met with silence. But I did receive an auto-email from them today asking whether I could take a minute to review the teas I ordered, for the benefit of other shoppers. Yes, would love to, be able to... :?
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Victoria
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Thu Nov 07, 2019 4:45 am

It is a very small family operation, curated by one lead person. Around for 20 years, online for 15. Maybe try contacting on What’s App. The number is on their web site and Facebook page. I’d try FB Messenger as well, and patience is key, post from India is very slow >one month.
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tjkdubya
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Thu Nov 07, 2019 11:16 am

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pedant
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Thu Nov 07, 2019 10:17 pm

hey @tjkdubya,

i think it's odd that they're not responding to your messages.

i asked them a question in april (not regarding an order), and they got back to me in a day or two.

also, i think victoria emailed them about an order in july (not this most recent order), and they did eventually get back to her. i don't bother emailing them about orders since i'm used to them taking forever :lol:

so i would say that it's a bit concerning that they're not responding to emails, but since they've been in business a long time, and i'm used to it taking forever to receive orders, i wouldn't be too worried.
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pedant
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Fri Nov 29, 2019 5:24 pm

@tjkdubya mine arrived today FYI
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Victoria
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Tue Feb 04, 2020 9:25 pm

I’ve been enjoying several Thunderbolt teas this past week and have added tasting notes above for Castleton Moonlight White 1st Flush 2019 & Turzum Darjeeling (Black) 1st Flush Himalayan Mystic:

Castleton Moonlight, Darjeeling White 1st Flush 2019, SFTGFOP1 **tasty & affordable. Nutty creamy, aromatic, sweet, lingering mouthfeel.

Turzum Darjeeling (Black) 1st Flush Himalayan Mystic tea 2018 *** really tasty even though it’s 2018. Pleasant aromatics, green tea notes, smooth, warming, nutty almond and vanilla honey profile.

I probably need to revisit my * system above though.
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Psyck
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Wed Feb 05, 2020 4:32 am

Victoria wrote:
Wed Oct 09, 2019 1:33 pm
Margaret’s Hope Moonlight Tea, Darjeeling White 1st Flush 2019, SFTGFOP1 * very light & delicate. Fruity notes coming through but too mild for my palate.
Yeah lotsa Indian whites (except some expensive higher end ones) suck.
Victoria wrote:
Wed Oct 09, 2019 1:33 pm
Turzum Darjeeling (Black) 1st Flush Himalayan Mystic tea 2018 SFTGFOP1 *** really tasty even though it’s 2018. Pleasant aromatics, green tea notes, smooth, warming, nutty almond and vanilla honey profile.
Darn, that reminds me that I still have a lil bit of 2016 Turzum FF I've yet to finish off.
Victoria wrote:
Wed Oct 09, 2019 1:33 pm
Sungma Tea Garden Organic Musk Darjeeling 2018, Black, Organic FTGFOP1. Didn’t like it. Not sure if steeping temperature of 203-212F is a typo on their site. I used 207F and find it overbrewed and way too tannic at this temperature. I now see it was also Very cheap 17$ for 100 grams.
What parameters do you generally use for Darjs?
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Psyck
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Wed Feb 05, 2020 4:33 am

It is very common for Indian stores to offer significant discounts a handful of times a year, and it is really not worth purchasing at other times. The discounts are typically synched to India festivals, when Indians go on shopping sprees. E.g. the Oct discount mentioned above likely coincided with the Dushera / Dipawali period.

The easiest way for you to track these would probably be to subscribe to regular newsletters from a site like udyantea.com and check out other Indian tea sites every time there is a discount offer mentioned in the Udyan newsletter.
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Victoria
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Wed Feb 05, 2020 1:39 pm

Psyck wrote:
Wed Feb 05, 2020 4:32 am
What parameters do you generally use for Darjs?
With Thunderbolt Tea’s I started with their recommendations for each tea. For most Darjeeling they recommend starting with 2.5gram/100ml/175-185f/3-4min, and with a few second flush temperatures go up to 194-203f (90-95c). For first flush I typically added more leaf by a gram or more per 100ml depending on tea, keeping temperatures around 180-185f (82-85c). I have steeped with higher concentrations leaf /lower water/less time with a certain Indian teas like a very special Nigili from southern India, but that is an exception.

Good to know about the seasonal sales coinciding with Indian festivals. Thanks for the tip @Psyck.
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