We are in search of the best 1st Flush Darjeeling of this season!
What are you searching for?
As we love 1st flush picks of many Darjeeling tea Estates, some plantations have always been more prominent to us than others. The beautiful and never changing quality of these teas, outstanding flavours and freshness is something what we are looking forward to each spring. This spring 2019 is not any different.
Why do we love 1st flush Darjeeling Tea?
The flower bouquet attack of the tea is like a burst of spring to our eyes, the fruitiness is like a summer dance to our taste buds, the after rain aroma “petrichor” (a pleasant smell that frequently accompanies the first rain after a long period of warm, dry weather) is like a fragrant day of rain in the autumn to our noses and the amazing zinginess “astringency” is like a melody of our favourite song on New Years day to our ears, while expecting the best from the year ahead.
The whole year is packed into this beautiful 1st flush Darjeeling tea and it all bursts to life in the end of May and start of April. It is captured in the fresh new tiny shoots of each tea plant, then hand picked by very hard working, skilled and totally lovely and super-fit pickers and then skilfully, carefully processed in each factory by caring people.
We taste the soil, we taste the care and we enjoy each cup of tea as it is worth gold! Worth to wait for it each year don't you think?!
Our favourite Darjeeling Estates are the ones we have visited when we were studying tea growing and planting in India back in 2014. We had a chance to spend an incredible time living in Makaibari Tea Estate – biodynamic, eco tea plantation and see many others. Plus, we have up our sleeve some other favourites, which we have loved for a long time, ordering each year a bag or two to satisfy our little pleasure taste buds.
WE Love... Gopaldhara, Makaibari, Okayti, Marybong, Jungapana, Castleton amongst many others.
We have tasted many samples of 1st flush Gopaldhara Estate over this weekend to choose and order our favourite one. As we know Gopaldhara well (my schoolmate & best friend worked for Gopaldhara in Siliguri :) and also, we had a stunning school trip to their incredible plantation in Mirik near Nepalese borders! (OMG such a beautiful place full of tea bushes, horses, lakes, monks and amazing food!) we have decided that after last years 1st flush Darjeeling teas from Puttabong and Balasun estates, we would love to have in stock some Gopaldhara teas for you.
These below are our tasting notes. Please let us know which one would you like the most and also what is your favourite Tea Estate in Darjeeling! :)
We have tasted five 1st flushes and 6 Green and white teas from Gopaldhara Tea Estate but as we are on a quest of 1st flushes only I will “try” to narrow this post only for them.
1) 1st flush Maharani of Darjeeling – April pick 2019 – Tippy Clonal P-312 and P-157
(The name itself signifies queen of all teas. The pluckers are very careful while plucking the leaves and make sure only best shoots with prominent buds are plucked. The leaves are mostly comprising single or two whole leaves and a bud.)
Dry leaf: Small, curly reddish-brown leaves and golden hairy tips. Floral fragrance with hints of peaches and herbs. Very creamy, almost buttery on the nose and super fragrant.
Infused Leaf: Light reddish-green leaves, uniformed. Aroma floral, fruity – peach and mango and after the rain “petrichor” sensation.
Liquor: Bright, crisp amber cup with super floral aroma - orchids and peonies! Liquor light in the body, mellow and smooth. Taste is incredibly floral with juicy fruitiness. The after-taste is sweet, fruity with a little zinginess.
2) 1st flush Moondrop – April pick 2019 - Mixed
(It is a limited edition rare 1st flush tea which has a bright green finely plucked whole leaves.)
Dry leaf: Small, curly golden-brown leaves and some golden tips. Floral creamy fragrance with hints of spice. Quite fragrant.
Infused Leaf: Light reddish-green leaves, some broken. Aroma herbal, a tiny malty with a little petrichor sensation.
Liquor: Bright, crisp golden cup with a little floral aroma. Liquor light in the body, mellow and sweet. Taste is floral and herbal with some notes of ripe fruit. The after-taste is short and sweet, with a little astringency.
3) 1st flush Emperor's choice – April pick 2019 – AV2 clone.
(It is a very Tippy Tea made from AV2 bushes the most preferred clones of Darjeeling. )
Dry leaf: Small, curly reddish-green-brown leaves with plenty of golden hairy tips. Vivid floral fragrance with earthy, fruity and minty notes.
Infused Leaf: Light green leaves, uniformed. Aroma floral, earthy and vegetal with notes of coriander and parsley.
Liquor: Bright, crisp golden cup with super floral and honey aroma! Liquor light in the body, complex and juicy. Taste is incredibly floral – orchids with heavy fruitiness – strawberries and apricot jam like. The after-taste is honey sweet, fruity and fresh with a little zinginess.
4) 1st Rare Hand-rolled Spring Beauty – spring pick 2019 – AV2 clone.
(This limited edition rare 1st flush tea is a result of a year of research and hard work and is a complete new style of Darjeeling. . It should not be mistaken as a white tea as it has been oxidized but all by hand without any machinery works involved. It is a hand rolled and shuffled tea and it has been oxidized several times in the night very gently. The AV2 buds have a tinge of golden hue to it. It is a very limited produce and we estimate production at around 70 Kg’s which will be going throughout the globe.)
Dry leaf: Bigger, twisted green-brown leaves and golden hairy buds – more buds than leaves. Strong floral and fruity fragrance with sweet & spicy notes and subtle scorched earth scent.
Infused Leaf: Beautiful light green buds with reddish spots. Aroma floral, spicy, earthy and fruity with notes of geranium or roses.
Liquor: Bright, crisp golden cup with very floral, fruity and honey aroma. Liquor light in the body, complex and smooth. Taste is incredibly floral – orchids and geranium with spicy and exotic flavours. The after-taste is full of blossoms and sweetness with a little zinginess.
5) 1st flush Nectar of Darjeeling – April pick 2019
Dry leaf: Small, curly greenish-brown leaves and golden hairy tips. Floral fragrance with a little fruitiness.
Infused Leaf: Light reddish-green leaves, some broken. Aroma floral and herbal with lots of petrichor notes.
Liquor: Bright, crisp golden cup with gentle floral aroma, perfume and spice. Liquor light in the body, sweet and smooth. Taste is spicy and floral with a little vegetal notes. The after-taste is greenish with a little zinginess.
Which one would you choose?
About Gopaldhara Tea Estate:
Established in the year 1955 Gopaldhara Tea Estate brings along a legacy of tea production of more than 50 years. Engaged in the production, marketing and distribution of tea in India & Global markets for a full range of diverse tea products. The total tea production of our group is around 3 million kilograms spread over four tea estates.
Gopaldhara produces finest Darjeeling Tea is located in Mirik Valley, is one of the highest tea estates in Darjeeling. The total area of the garden is 320 Hectares. Out of the 320 Hectares, 172 Hectares has been planted with tea bushes. Planting is still being carried out in the vacant high elevation lands.
Most of the new planting has been done at an elevation between 5500 FT(1676m) right up to 7000 FT(2133m). This is definitely one of the highest tea estates in the world having a sizeable area of 60 Hectares at an average elevation of 6000 FT with the highest peak stretching up to 7000 FT (2133m). It has been planted with mixed clonal tea to produce rare and exquisite finest Darjeeling Tea.