Friday, July 24, 2009

Darjeeling the Champagne of Teas

Just like Champagne nothing is worse than a poor Darjeeling. This is the reason we tend to follow a few reliable and exceptional estates. Obviously, we do make the odd exception if we find a remarkable tea elsewhere.
Our current favourite Estates, in alphabetical order are Badamtan, Castleton, Gopaldhra, Makaibari, Margaret's Hope, Okayti, Puttabong, Rohini, Tumsong. These are to be found over all the flushes, including Mid-Season and Autumnal.
Our choice for the First Flush 2009, is Giddapahar, a super greenish tea with lots of grassy flavour.
The Flushes (Harvests)
1st Flush is harvested in mid-March following spring rains, and has a gentle, very light colour, aroma, and mild astringency.
2nd Flush: The production of the world renowned “summer tea” is produced from the month of May. The Second Flush results from the luscious, moist and juicy leaves characterized by very enticing facade with a turquoise, purplish bloom and a touch of shimmering shiny apex (buds). The infused leaves are more vivid in its colour and appearance than that of spring. It is characterized by mature and a mellow brew. It is during this period that the famous "Muscatel" flavour becomes pronounced. This period expresses a full bodied aroma with its infused leaves of bright copper or purplish tinge.
Mid Flush: Harvested between 2nd Flush and the Autumnal tea, the leaves are less withered thus more oxidised. If well-chosen (ours are) they represent excellent value for money.
Autumnal Flush: In the months of October and November the “Autumnal quality” makes its prominence felt. The liquor imparts a delicate, yet a silvery and glimmering character and the appearance lends a light brownish tinge or gentle copper glow. This tea has a delightfully distinct feature and taste completely differs from that of Spring and the Summer Flush. The infused tea has a golden coppery hue with an aromatic and fresh fragrance.
I look forward to your early visit.

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