Our brand new Darjeeling First Flush from the Ging Estate in Lebong Valley in west Darjeeling has arrived!! Tea flush refers to the growing seasons in Darjeeling. The First Flush is the picking of the brand new two leaves and a bud in the earliest spring growth of the tea plant, usually plucked mid-March to May, a period of peak seasonal quality and is the first plucking after the Winter lull. These early leaves and buds are usually more delicate and tender, however deceptively deliver a powerful and stimulating infusion from a light coloured cup with the flavour offering up a light, floral, crisp and muscatel flavour and light golden cup, First Flush Darjeeling teas are usually less oxidized during processing and usually appear more greenish in colour than a typical black tea. Commonly First Flush is the most prized and expensive teas on the market, not only because of its short season that sees high demand vs low supply, but also due to its uniquely bright and lively liquor, which is why it has become commonly known as the champagne of tea… an enchanting afternoon tea.
This exclusive lot of just 30kilos was expertly handpicked at the very beginning of First Flush season (when the bud and first two leaves are ready to pick) in late March being only the fifth invoiced lot to leave the estate. Each leaf was delicately plucked from Ging estate’s old traditional Indian tea bushes with very little process which delivers a beautifully floral and fragrant bright liquor with a lively character.
Ging estate, nestled high in the hills below the Himalayas is one of Darjeelings 87 tea gardens to boast such fine tea, in Lebong Valley in west Darjeeling. Ging is a Lepcha word which means “The outstretched slopes”. The area under tea cultivation spreads across 255 hectares out of a total estate area of over 600 hectares. About 230 hectares of area is maintained as natural forest and the rest of the land is used for the tea workers village, homes and the factory. The tea garden is perched at an elevation that varies from 2,000ft to 5,000ft give this Flush its unique flavours.
No matter which Flush a Darjeeling tea comes from, each and every batch of the tea leaf will be different from one day, one tea garden and even one season to the next. Darjeeling leaves are lightly processed, just withered, rolled, oxidized in a technique that reflects the conditions of the particular season and of the plucked leaf. This tea should be appreciated in the same way a fine wine can would be enjoyed, and if you like the sound of becoming a tea connoisseur, this is a wonderfully elegant tea to begin with. So no batch of Darjeeling tea will ever taste the same! An amazing and enchanting tea if you ask us!
We recommend serving First Flush Darjeeling in one of our of our stump teapots. Add one heaped scoop per pot and infuse in boiling water that has cooled to 90-95°C for 3-5 minutes (our preference is 4 minutes)
Our Suggested Food Pairings:
First Flush Darjeeling is great to enjoy on its own but when pairing with food, we suggest serving with delicate pastries, carrot cake, lemon shortbread or macaroons. Or to complement the umami flavour, it's equally as delicious with smoked salmon or a light creamy cheese such as brie or goat's cheese.
Want to hear an interesting fact?
Our Finance Assistant, Sarah Browne has a particularly strong connection with our new First Flush Darjeeling. Her grandfather, Robert (Bertie) Browne was the Tea Machinery Director at Sirocco Works. Renowned for his authority in the manufacturing of tea in India, he travelled throughout the country advising government bodies on the development of the tea industry and he played a key role in establishing the first tea plantation in the Lebong area where we have sourced this year’s First Flush Darjeeling. It’s not often we have such a local connection with one of our teas!