Spring is an incredible time of year when the world awakens from the cold grey of winter. As the sun begins to shine, the very breath of spring fills one with anticipation and hope. As each bud of the season unfurls so does a vibrant palette of fragrance and flavour.
The East India Company is celebrating Spring with the arrival of this year’s Darjeeling First Flush. In the mist shrouded hills of the Himalayas, one of nature’s secrets is revealed each Spring, the first flush of buds that bring in the new tea season. For Darjeeling, the First Flush carries with it the hope and anticipation of an entire season.
Awaken your senses this season with The Company’s specially curated selection of flavours from the exquisite Darjeeling First Flush to the essence of cherry blossoms in Sakura Sencha.
Darjeeling First Flush 2016
For tea enthusiasts Darjeeling First Flush is as close as we come to ‘tasting nature’ in its purest form. Darjeeling tea enjoys a reputation for being a nuanced flavourful tea, very light in the cup allowing for it to be enjoyed without milk or sugar. There are 87 tea estates throughout Darjeeling, growing tea at various heights and with differing soil, climate, and crop husbandry practices which significantly affect the quality of the tea. Over the years, The East India Company has worked with just about all of these estates to find what they consider to be the ‘best’ tea of the season.
The differences between our First Flush pickings each year have been significant, with the 2014 having an earthier, meadow grass flavour and a pleasing astringency, while the 2015 had a fresher, morning dew like character with less astringency.
This year, The Company’s Tea Master has worked closely with the Namring Estate to cultivate the ultimate harvest of the season. He has personally monitored the picking and processing of the tea ensuring that it imparts the ideal and much anticipated Darjeeling flavour for 2016.
While in recent times, ‘First Flush’ has meant first to market, this race often doesn’t allow the tea’s beauty to truly blossom. This year, the weather conditions in Darjeeling have been highly irregular. As a result, the Tea Master has monitored ambient weather conditions on a daily basis, waiting for the perfect moment to pick this remarkable tea. Moreover, instead of the usual two leaves and a bud, for this year the Tea Master has asked the plantation to pick a single succulent leaf and a bud. This has enriched the overall flavour resulting in a profile that is sweeter and more floral, one that lingers on the palette.
With a sweet and slightly earthy flavour accompanied by a complex fruit and floral character, this is a tea that The East India Company is very proud of and it is truly a labour of love.
As the first buds of the Japanese Sakura (cherry blossoms) begin to unfurl, the world awakens to the arrival of Spring. Within days, the cherry trees are in full bloom, bathing the gardens and pathways in a fragrant pink mist that will fade with the slightest puff of wind. It is a temporal beauty; one that is widely revered and celebrated in the Japanese festival of Hinami.
In honour of this thousand-‐year old tradition, The Company’s Tea Master has worked in conjunction with a tea plantation in Shizuoka, Japan to blend their Sencha with Japanese Sakura petals. The smooth, mellow and aromatic base of the Sencha perfectly complements the floral notes of the tender Sakura petals that have been sprinkled into the tea.
Flowering tea makes a welcome addition to the delicate flavours depicted by Spring. A mixture of chrysanthemum flowers and rose buds, The East India Company Pillars of Jade tea grown in China, is an assortment of hand woven flowering tea bulbs. When brewed, each bulb blossoms to reveal a bold flower within releasing a light-‐bodied flavor with floral notes. This tea makes for a rare and dazzling infusion, enjoyable any time of the day.
REFRESHING FLORAL CORDIALS FOR SPRING
Fragrant and vibrantly-‐coloured, the Hibiscus Cordial is packed with the exotic Hawaiian hibiscus, poppy and rose. Created especially for use in cocktails, spritzers, dessert sauces, fruit salads and pancakes, this versatile product is the perfect addition to your recipes. Alternatively, simply dilute with chilled, sparkling water for a refreshing midsummer drink. Other flavours include Mimosa, Rose and Lavender.