Good morning, dear tea friends! It’s wonderful to be back here with you enjoying a cup of tea again. My first 2nd flush Darjeeling tea review from the 2013 season, this selection is from the Puttabong Estate.
Also known as the Tukvar Estate, it was first planted in 1852 and is nestled in the foothills of the Himalayan mountains near Kanchendzonga peak. With altitudes ranging from 1,500 to 6,500 feet above sea level, it is one of the highest elevation tea gardens in Darjeeling district, in northeastern India. Its tea plants consist mainly of clonal bushes and China jat, meaning tea bushes with origins from China.
Look how dark the tea leaf and steeping liquor is when compared to a first flush Darjeeling, whose color has been compared to apple juice. This tea was harvested in later spring as compared to the first flush early spring harvest. What a difference a few months can make!
The dark chocolate color of the leaf contains no green bits as a first flush does.
This tea has an interesting leaf designation called Kakra. I’ve read that this word translates to “dehydrated leaf”. Free of pesticides, the tea leaf is allowed to be attacked by a green fly, which looks similar to an aphid. The fly bites the leaf and starts sucking on its juices. This causes the leaf to start to oxidize on the plant. Only the leaves that have been exposed to the green fly, identified by their yellowish color, are plucked. So, in essence, the leaf undergoes a double oxidation – on the plant and then during its regular processing. Isn’t that cool?
I steeped the leaves for 3 minutes in boiling point (212F) water. The glowing dark-amber tea liquor has a rich aroma of fruits and chestnuts, reminiscent of a darker Oolong tea. This brings up an interesting point as I’ve read that the tea leaf that goes on to become Oriental Beauty Oolong from Taiwan has also been exposed to the ministrations of the green fly.
I find the flavor, whose richness literally bursts in my mouth, also reminiscent of an Oolong tea in its nutty, almost woody quality. I also detected faint notes of fruit in the smooth cup.
We’ve been getting rain almost everyday here in New England this past week and the gardens are bursting with rich color, just like the rich flavor of this tea. In my garden, I have coneflower, hydrangea, roses, tall phlox, astilbe and even some chrysanthemum starting to bloom. I hope that you’re enjoying the season wherever you may be with lots of cups/glasses of tea to keep you company. Have a wonderful week!
“Be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.”