Glenburn Estate Darjeeling, First Flush 2017 from Yatra Tea. . . . .

Darjeeling teas fall somewhere on the spectrum of black teas, green teas, and oolong teas, depending on their level of oxidation.  This 2017 First Flush darjeeling is a high quality blend from Glenburn Estate and from the Yatra Tea Company.

The dry leaves are a very dark green, and tightly curled.  I used the recommended brewing of 185 F water with a steep time of 3 minutes.  Brewed, the tea was fragrant, green and fruity, and very much in the oolong-family of of scents.

The taste was driven by a muscatel stone-fruit flavors, a green and pleasantly tart, almost fermented, frutiness.  This tea was bright and sunny, with notes of apricot and white grape, coupled with a lush green undertone. The mouthfeel was very smooth in texture, though I don’t taste as much buttery flavors as I might expect.  The more I sipped, the more gentle lemon and citrus notes became apparent.

This is definitely a fruit-forward tea, perfect for springtime brewing.  Even if flowers aren’t quite blooming in your garden, watch these tea leaves bloom in your mug and enjoy the sweet fragrance and experience.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Darjeeling
Where to Buy: Yatra Tea
Description:

High in the Himalayas, overlooking the intimidating Kanchenjunga mountain range, lie the rolling tea fields of the heavenly Glenburn Estate. Founded in 1859 by a Scottish tea company, Glenburn is one of the oldest Darjeeling estates and many of the laborious routines appear to be unchanged till date on this 750 hectare estate.

In addition to traditional Darjeeling black teas, Glenburn produces a superior green tea at specific times of the year. Yatra Tea Company proudly presents an April 2017 offering harvested exclusively for us.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Himalayan Shangri-la from Teabox

If I had to choose between dark oolong or green oolong, for me it would be green every time. I find them characterful and unique, with more variation in flavour than I’ve typically found (at least so far…) among their roasted counterparts. And that’s coming from a habitual black tea drinker.

Himalayan Shangri-la is a Nepalese Oolong from 2015. It’s a first flush, or spring, oolong comprising highly graded leaves taken from a single estate.

The leaf here is pretty impressive – they’re long and twisty, with a high predominance of downy buds, and vary from a dark khaki to the palest green-silver. The scent is lightly vegetal and just a touch floral, in the way of orchids.

I followed the recommended parameters, and gave 1 tsp of leaf 4 minutes in water cooled to around 85 degrees. The resulting liquor is a pale yellow-green, the scent mineral. The initial flavour is also mineral, with a hint of petrichor and wet rock. There’s a hint of heady floral in the mid-sip, reminiscent of orchid and jasmine. Heavily scented, and very reminiscent of perfume, but thankfully not in the cloying, throat-coating way some floral tea possess. The end of the sip features some cleaner, fresher notes. Tomato flesh, wet grass, and the return of the petrichor.

I really enjoyed this one. It’s a flavourful green oolong, and the tomato note in particularly was a highlight as it’s not something I’ve come across in an oolong before. If you’re looking for a high quality oolong that’s also accessible in flavour terms (there’s nothing to deter the newcomer here…) then this would be a good place to start. If you already love oolong, this one might still have a few surprises…


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Teabox
logoDescription

If there is one oolong that can compete in the same league as the Taiwanese and the Chinese kind it has to be this Nepalese offering. The rigors of high elevation, mineral-rich terrain, and cool air allow the plants to grow slowly resulting in an immensely flavorful tea. Also interesting is the fact that it’s from the country’s small-scale producers’ cooperative which produces small batches of orthodox teas.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Darjeeling Sungma First Flush 2014 from Happy Earth Tea

sample_grandeTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black Tea

Where to Buy: Happy Earth Tea

Tea Description:

Black tea is the most consumed type of tea around the world. Black tea (or red tea in China) is tea made by complete oxidation of the green tea leaf during the manufacturing process. The flavors generally described in Black tea are: aromatic, astringent, biscuity, bold, brisk, crisp, floral, fruity, malty, nutty, smoky, spicy and sweet. Our line of black tea includes some of the best harvests from Organic tea gardens of Darjeeling, Nepal and China besides our own house blends.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Even though Darjeeling Sungma First Flush 2014 from Happy Earth Tea is no longer listed on their website that doesn’t mean it’s not worth a mention.  This Darjeeling tea from Happy Earth Tea is top notch!  They have some of the best Darjeelings I have had and this one certainly followed suit.   It’s not shocking that they’ve sold out of their Darjeeling Sungma First Flush 2014.

This Darjeeling Sungma First Flush 2014 from Happy Earth Tea has a leafy-earthy type taste to it brought to you by fresh multi-colored green, grey, frosted toned leaves.  The strong flavor lingers in your mouth long after the sip.  The aftertaste is reminiscent of strong herbs and green beans.

If you enjoy Darjeeling teas that offer taste with multiple infusions this Darjeeling Sungma First Flush 2014 from Happy Earth Tea is one of those teas.  Just because this tea is no longer offered on their site doesn’t mean you can’t try one of their many other Darjeelings.  Take a look at their site and find something that makes you do a double-take.  I bet you find at least one!  I found several I was interested in trying!

 

Singbulli Darjeeling Black Tea First Flush 2014 from Happy Earth Tea

Singbulli_leaf_1024x1024Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black Tea

Where to Buy: Happy Earth Tea

Tea Description:

A well-crafted Darjeeling first flush tea, with refreshing floral and lime notes.

DRY TEA: Long carefully rolled clonal leaves with shades of light and dark green. Amazingly soft and silky to touch. It has a fluffy body therefore you have to use a little more than usual for to make your cup. The dry leaf has herbaceous notes including lemongrass.

INFUSION: The leaves unfurl to vivid green, affording a nose of floral essence. Hints of citrus.

CUP: The pale amber liquor yields offers a sweet floral and lemony aroma. The mouthfeel is smooth and crisp. Sweet floral notes dominate in the palate with a touch of astringency, the underlying briskness that enlivens the cup. The finish is sweet that lingers for a long while.

1.5 tbsp for 8-12 oz cup.

Water Temp: near-boil, 190F

Steeping time 3 minutes.

COLD BREW:  Darjeeling tea tastes just as delicious cold brew. Although the process takes a longer time, it is a wonderful substitute for iced tea. Click here to learn about cold brewing Darjeeling.

Singbulli is located in a Mirik area of Darjeeling and is spread over 473.95 hectare in altitude varying from 1200 to 4000 ft. The garden was established in 1924, and is known for producing some of the best Darjeeling clonal teas.

Learn more about the 2015 First Flush tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Darjeeling Singbulli First Flush 2014 from Happy Earth Tea is a mighty fine Darjeeling, indeed!  It’s organic, fair trade, and has the thumbs-up of the Rain forest Alliance.  Those are just some of the reasons this tea lives up to the company name.  Another reason could be because once I sipped on it – it was so good – if put a smile on my face!

This Darjeeling semi-earthy in a sense that it was ‘green’ and floral but not bitter-floral more of a Sweet Jasmine type floral.  It has a greener flavor moreso like a green tea than a rough and tough black tea base.  This tea held up to multiple infusions, too, which is always appreciated.

I like this Darjeeling Singbulli offering because it’s tasty and nice to have on hand for any time of the day.  It makes a nice hot cup or cold cup of tea.  It has a sturdy taste without being too overbearing.  This tea gets a “HAPPY” review from me!

 

Goomtee China Classic First Flush Darjeeling from Udyan Tea

GoomteeChinaClassicTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black (Darjeeling)

Where to Buy: Udyan Tea

Tea Description:

Goomtee is a very well known Darjeeling heritage garden planted with pure china bushes almost a century ago. Picked from special section of the garden called Ghani between 3000-4000 sq.ft. height, this tea is for the strong hearted first flush lovers as it has a strong body with a very slight tinge of muscatel (grape flavour usually associated with second flush Darjeelings). It is a well balanced cup that leaves a stong after taste as well. With repeated steepings, the liquor becomes sweeter and midler. Perfect tea for long winding day with a good book in hand to read.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

First Flush Darjeelings are among my favourite black teas, as I’m sure I’ve intimated several times before. This one – from the Goomtee Estate – is apparently perfect for “strong hearted first flush lovers”. Well, we shall see. The dry leaf is a thing of beauty. There’s a mixture of long and shorter leaves, which have primarily been either rolled or twisted, although there are also some downy silver buds. There’s a variety of colours, from palest white/silver, through creamy green, darker grass green, to the medium brown of tree bark. The scent is fresh and mildly floral. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 2.5 minutes in boiling water. The resulting liquor is golden yellow, the scent reminiscent of rose water with an undertone of freshly shelled peas.

One thing’s for sure, this tea tastes glorious! The initial sip is crisp and fresh-tasting, with a mild floral undertone. It makes me think of dew on rose petals – a clean, sweet freshness. The floral flavour develops in the mid-sip, where it’s more recognisably rose-like, with a strong perfumey aftertaste. There’s a hint of classic muscatel right at the tail end of the sip, richly grapey and a little drying. It’s not exactly astringency at this point, but nearly. I get the impression that this tea may become astringent as it cools, or if oversteeped.

It’s fair to say that I prefer the clean, fresh flavour of the initial sip to the strong, heavily perfume-like aftertaste. I dislike heavily floral tea in general, though, so that’s no surprise to me. I enjoyed my cup immensely for its flavourful nature, and it’s a great example of a first flush Darjeeling. It’s stronger than most I’ve come across, and while I typically appreciate the delicate flavours characteristic of this variety, I also enjoyed the bolder experience here. I’d certainly try another Goomtee Estate Darjeeling if the opportunity arose, and Udyan Tea is now firmly on my radar.