Spring is the most wonderful time of year in many ways.
One of my favorite happenings in Spring is the arrival of the very first First Flush Darjeeling. The term “first flush” refers to the brand new spring leaf buds, the first growth of the year on the tea bushes, highly prized.
In the 1800s, there was stiff competition to see who could build the fastest clipper ship, the one that could reach port with their treasured cargo first. You can read more about that here.
While the tea chests that the tea is packed in are not that much different from days of old, the method by which the tea arrives is radically different, of course. This tea arrived by plane, shortening its long journey considerably from bush to cup.
My morning tea just arrived this week from the Namring estate. It is their very first plucking of the season, lot EX-1. As you can see, there is a lot of green-ness to the leaf even though it is processed as a black tea. I’ve spoken to many customers inexperienced with first flushes who thought that they had received a green tea in error.
I steeped the leaves for 3 minutes in 212 degree F (boiling point) water. I noticed a lot of movement of the leaf while it was steeping.
The liquor is a soft glowing amber. The incredibly fresh aroma filled my senses as I poured my first cup.
The flavor is bright yet smooth with barely ripe fruit nuances and a light sweetness that lingers in my mouth.
Now, to sit back and savor this long anticipated moment…mmmm…
Something opens our wings
Something makes boredom and hurt disappear
Someone fills the cup in front of us
We taste only sacredness”