DARJEELING FIRST FLUSH 2017
BE THE FIRST TO TASTE A CUP OF OUR FRESHEST AND MOST TREASURED NEW SEASON TEA
THE DAWN OF A NEW FIRST FLUSH
The wait is finally over, the new Darjeeling First Flush 2017 has now arrived in our UK retail stores. Darjeeling’s importance in the tea calendar cannot be overstated, as it marks the beginning of spring, and the start of the new tea season. The tender leaf and bud are as close as we come to ‘tasting nature’ in its purest form. For tea connoisseurs and all who love and appreciate tea, this one of the highlights of the tea season.
DARJEELING FIRST FLUSH – FROM LEAF TO CUP
There are 87 tea estates throughout the region, growing thousands of kilos of tea at various heights and with differing soil, climate, and crop husbandry practices. The climate, method of picking, and processing affect the final tea quality significantly, and finding the teas which we are proud of takes time and perseverance. In recent times, ‘First Flush’ has meant first to market, but this race often doesn’t allow the tea’s beauty to truly blossom. This year our Tea Master has been monitoring changes in the atmosphere each day, waiting to pick the bud that will impart the ideal and much anticipated Darjeeling 1st Flush flavour for 2017…and his patience has been rewarded.
The Namring Upper estate covers 400 hectares in the Darjeeling region, and our teas are picked from a section of the tea gardens between 3500 and 5000 feet in elevation, one of the highest in the region. Teas grown in higher elevations tend to be rarer as the tea bushes have a lower yield - the tea leaves bloom more slowly, allowing for more flavour to develop in the buds and leaves than lower grown teas.
THE TEA MASTER
With over 35 years of experience, our Tea Master has an unmatched expertise in both the science and art of tea and has worked closely with the estate to adapt the picking to drying process. Lalith Lenadora works closely with a select tea plantation to cultivate the ultimate harvest for the season. Over the last months he has closely monitored the climatic conditions in Darjeeling on a daily, sometimes hourly basis to ensure picking and processing is completed at the ideal time. The result, one of the freshest new season teas. Each cup captures the traditional first flush character with a tantalizing sweet aroma of ripe fruits and abundant fresh flavour, finished off with floral notes.
Our Tea Master recommends brewing our 2017 Darjeeling First Flush tea as follows; 2.5 grams per 210ml cup of boiled water at 85 degrees Celsius for 4 minutes.
THE ETHICAL TEA PARTNERSHIP
One of our guiding principles is to work closely with tea estates to grow, process, and create unique teas. An integral part of this process is looking after the people, land, and environment which provide us with our teas. In becoming a member of the Ethical Tea Partnership (ETP), we felt that we could help shape and influence the tea industry on a far larger scale, working with an organisation that shares our core philosophy, works at the estate level, and whose vision is to create a thriving tea industry that is socially just and environmentally sustainable.
THE TALE OF ROBERT FORTUNE AND DARJEELING TEA
Robert Fortune was a botanist working for The Royal Horticultural Society, who had spent much time in China. He became so proficient in speaking Mandarin that he was able wear local dress and move among the populous unnoticed. The East India Company enlisted him to go to China and bring back as many quality tea plants and seeds as he could; Fortune would also learn as much as he could about tea production from the Chinese. At the time China was the world power in tea production and guarded its secrets fiercely. Fortune’s efforts resulted in the shipment of over 20,000 plants and seedlings to the Himalayas. Thus was established the tea industry in Darjeeling and India started its journey to be the tea super power it is today.
In a fitting tribute to Robert Fortune, our limited Darjeeling First Flush 2017 has been produced using 20% of China “Jat” bushes at the estate in order to enhance its fruity character. "Jats" are some of the old or vintage tea bushes (some more than a 100 years old) planted using the seeds from China. They are responsible for the unique “Muscatel” character of Darjeeling tea. Owners of the tea estate work hard to keep these old bushes healthy and save them from any infections or damage.
2015 TO 2017, A CLOSER LOOK
SHOP DARJEELING FIRST FLUSH
Between 3500 Ft. and 5000 Ft. above sea level
Our Tea Master designed a programme for picking, whereby only succulent leaves were selected, i.e. two leaves and a bud. They were then withered to a medium intensity and lightly rolled
This led to a larger, more succulent leaf than 2014.
When properly brewed, this greenish silver tippy leaf is bright and light in the cup. It has a hint of floral, fruity and light earthy notes. It also has a gentle sweetness with a hint of pleasant astringent character.
Between 3500 Ft. and 5000 Ft.
above sea level
In 2016, the weather conditions in Darjeeling have been highly irregular. As a result our Tea Master has monitored ambient weather conditions on a daily basis, waiting for the perfect moment to pick and process our Darjeeling First Flush.
Whereas two leaves and a bud are traditionally picked, in response to the climatic conditions our Tea Master has instead picked a single succulent leaf and a bud, greatly enhancing the flavour profile for 2016.
The picking and rolling techniques have enhanced the overall flavour of this long silvery green leaf, resulting in a profile that is sweet and slightly earthy accompanied by a complex fruit and floral character.
Between 3500 Ft. and 5000 Ft.
above sea level
Our Tea Master has carefully monitored the processing from the time of picking up to grading. Whereas two leaves and a bud are traditionally picked, in response to the climatic conditions our Tea Master has instead picked a single succulent leaf and a bud, greatly enhancing the flavour profile for 2017.
Finely plucked tips and first succulent tippy leaf with silvery appearance. Our Darjeeling First Flush 2017 brews a lively cup with a tantalizing sweet aroma of ripe fruits and finish of floral notes. The tea has a very pleasant and distinct aftertaste with a hint of pleasant astringency.
DISCOVER THE STORY OF OUR TEA MASTER
Each of our teas has been personally selected and curated by our Tea Master, Lalith Lenadora, who possesses an innate understanding of tea as both a science and an art. Watch our video to learn more about the Tea Master and how he developed a lifelong passion for tea.