Good morning, dear tea friends! Since we’ve last shared a cup of tea together, I’ve traveled out to Michigan and back to visit with my family. It was a wonderfully relaxing time, a time to share great food and conversation and, of course, many delicious cups of tea. When I returned home, I found more flowers blooming in my garden – sunny daffodils, crimson tulips, snowy white bleeding heart, pink and purple hyacinth and the tiny purple hyacinth called muscari. Oh, joyous spring!
Of course, it was inevitable that I share a brand new first flush Darjeeling with you! This selection is from the Balasun Estate, located in the foothills of the majestic Himalayan mountains.
Established in 1871, the Balasun Estate is located in the Darjeeling tea district amidst rolling hills and its namesake, the Balasun river. At this time of year, blooming magnolia, rhododendrons and orchids grace the surrounding moss-laden forests, the region being a popular spot for hiking and bird watching. In addition to tea cultivation, the estate also grows oranges, ginger, cardamom and broom grass. It sounds like a lovely place for growing tea.
I steeped the leaves in my glass teapot for 3 minutes in boiling point (212F) water.
The leaf is so green! The aroma is quite vegetal with nuances of floral perfume.
I was so sorry to hear that they’re experiencing a severe drought in northeastern India, a drought that is affecting both Darjeeling and Assam. It hasn’t rained there since February and the leaves are scorching on the plants. They can’t apply fertilizer because it’s so dry and now they are worrying about pest infestations as well. Oh dear. Let’s hope and pray that they receive rain very soon in that part of the world.
The pale golden liquor tastes smooth and very fresh with sweet notes of flowers and an overall pleasant vegetal quality. As I sip a first flush Darjeeling, I always feel like I’m drinking the essence of springtime in my cup. How about you?
My daughter and her boyfriend recently gifted me with a lovely set of tea bowls from Japan. Japan at Epcot, that is, as they vacationed in their favorite place, Disneyworld. I love the wide mouth on this beautifully speckled bowl, perfect for enjoying my tea.
It’s a wet, gray day today with a white blanket of clouds that’s releasing a steady, gentle rain to quench the thirst of the spring plants waking up from their winter sleep. A good day to stay inside, drink tea and play with my beads.
Until next time, enjoy the spring and enjoy your tea!
Lovely photos as always! First Flush Darjeeling is one of those teas that I start craving when spring arrives. I’ve never tried anything from this estate before but your description definitely makes me want to give it a try,
Thanks so much for your kind words, Nicole! This tea is definitely worth giving a try!
Hi Karen – another lovely post. I thought of you when I saw these photos from Sikkim and Darjeeling. They seem to me to be very evocative of the freshness we find so pleasing in teas from the Himalayas:
Thanks so much, Kevin, for your very kind comments and for sharing the link to those beautiful photos. I agree!