First Flush Darjeeling
Known in India as The Champagne of Teas, we work with a single tea garden in the Lesser
Himalayas, near Darjeeling, India. North-facing, and in sight of the world’s third highest mountain, Kangchenjunga, frosts in winter chill the plants, and shade in spring allows for slower growth.
The first flush refers to the very the first tips of the tea that emerge in spring. We pick just the bud and the first leaf from the plant within the first 3-4 weeks of the beginning of the growing season. Withered, rolled, gently oxidised and then dried with great care, this ensures that the leaves are young, fresh and produce delicate fruity notes.
The tea is richly fragrant and creates a brew that is fresh and floral. The tea alone develops notes of young rhubarb, peach and a touch of summer berries. The fruit and spice flavours round out the acids to make it soft and delicate. Delightful to drink freshly brewed any time of day.
But it is in fermentation that the first flush really comes alive. The delicate floral notes of the tea develop into fruity notes of stewed rhubarb, gooseberry, white peach and a touch of blackcurrant. Like a diamond cut from its raw stone.