When I got up this morning, I discovered that it had rained overnight. The sky now looks like a big gray blanket, overhanging a very wet world outside. The air is very still and a few birds call to one another in the treetops. As we enter the Labor Day weekend, the official end of summer, I can feel a change in the air. Lazy, hazy is being replaced by a cooler more “get down to business” type of energy as school starts again. When I was young, I always loved the start of school because it meant a shiny new pencilcase and a bright box of Crayola crayons with the sharpener on the back. Oh, how I loved to draw and color!
In honor of this ripe, harvest time of year, this morning I am sipping a cup of second flush Darjeeling from the Makaibari estate. The Darjeeling tea growing district is located in northeastern India. When I think of second flushes, words like ripe, grape, heavy and lush pop into my mind. As I gaze out my window, I see our garden, a riot of color, a sea of golden yellow, ruby red and rich magenta.
2nd flush Darjeelings are harvested in the summertime after the tea bush has “flushed” again after the spring picking. With a rich, amber colored liquor, the taste represents the more mature taste of the leaf as opposed to the greener, brighter taste of a first flush. For tea drinkers who enjoy their tea British style with milk, most 2nd flushes offer a stronger taste that one can taste through the milk. I always recommend to try the tea plain first so you can discover what it really tastes like.
A rich fruity aroma greets me as I take my first sip. What is called a muscatel flavor note predominates the taste. Some Darjeelings are described as “muscatel”, a flavor note which speaks of the Muscat grape, said to be the oldest domesticated grape variety.
With this tea, I also detect a slight nutty note with a crisp finish that lingers in the back of my throat. The pungent character of this tea would go very well with rich food, especially a rich dessert like a dark chocolate torte or something incredibly decadent like that. Mmmmm…