I feel like a kid in a candy store at this time of year with the first flush Darjeelings arriving freshly plucked from different tea gardens. Oh joy!
I’ve read that it was started by a team of Buddhist monks who carefully developed their tea plants from Chinese seeds. They practiced Aruyvedic medicine and their original house may still be found on the grounds of the estate.
I imagine a beautiful place nestled in the shadow of great towering peaks where, if you listen very closely, a rich history whispers its secrets.
Many first flush Darjeeling leaves are very green even though they are processed as black teas (allowed to oxidize and turn dark).
This first flush of spring growth doesn’t want to give up its greenness, the essence of spring and rebirth.
I steeped the leaves for 3 minutes in slightly less than boiling point (212 F) water. The green leaf is transformed into a glowing liquid amber.
A fresh, sweet aroma wafts up from my glass teapot as I quietly lift the lid to remove the infuser basket. The only sound at this early hour is the sweet song of the birds outside my window.
The flavor is bright and astringent, waking up my mouth with sweet, fruity notes that linger, linger, linger…
Last weekend’s adventure in my little patch of garden involved an all day affair with a stubborn yew stump that finally had to be ripped out with a heavy chain and large pickup truck. Thank goodness for the generosity of new neighbors! Now that the stump is removed, I have a gathering of shade plants – astilbe, coral bells, bleeding heart, impatiens – that are patiently waiting to be planted in their new home.
“Solitude – walking alone, doing things alone – is the most blessed thing in the world, the mind relaxes and thoughts begin to flow and I think I am beginning to find myself a bit.” ~Helen Hayes