Saturday Morning Tea

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Good morning, dear tea friends! This first day of August dawned clear and bright, a beautiful summer’s day. My morning tea is a wonderful treat, a tippy, first flush Darjeeling from the Singbulli Estate. As you can see, the leaf is gorgeous, a multi-hued work of art from nature.

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Located in the picturesque Mirik area of Darjeeling in northeastern India, the organically certified Singbulli Estate was established in 1924 by British planters. Its 9 rolling hills are spread out over 14 miles, at an altitude that ranges from 1,200 feet to 4,100 feet. Mirik comes from the word Mir-Yok, which translates to “place burnt by fire.”

I steeped the leaf for 3 minutes in just under boiling point (212F) water.

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The wet leaf aroma after steeping is bright and vegetal. The cup aroma is sweet with pronounced notes of flowers.

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The glowing golden-yellow liquor has a fresh, crisp mouth feel and a pronounced floral flavor with a whisper of tropical fruit. Mmmmmm….

This tea is the epitome of a first flush Darjeeling.

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I chose this lovely teacup this morning because the inside is glazed the exact same color as my tea.

In my next post, I’ll show you what I think exemplifies the second flush Darjeeling character. Until then, enjoy your summer and your tea!

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Saturday Morning Tea

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Good morning, dear tea friends! Spring is in full bloom here in my little corner of the world. I love to watch the landscape come alive with color – soft yellow greens, vibrant fuschia, cheery yellows, and delicate petal whites, to name a few. One of my favorite springtime colors is the glowing golden of a first flush Darjeeling, and that’s what’s in my cup this morning. This lovely selection is called Margaret’s Hope FTGFOP Tippy Cl. First Flush.

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I’ve read that when the Margaret’s Hope Estate was first set up in the 1830s, it was called Bara Ringtong. It was later renamed Margaret’s Hope after the daughter of one of the managers in the early 20th century, Mr Bagdon. His daughter, Margaret, fell in love with the beautiful estate but, on a trip back to England, fell ill and died so she was never able to return and live there as she wanted to. A tragic story but a lovely tribute. It’s so hard to lose someone you love.

I steeped the leaves for 3 minutes in water just under the boiling point.

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The gorgeous new spring growth brews a tea with a fresh flowery fragrance and flavor.

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Light citrus hints play along the edges of the aroma and the mouth feel is smooth and buttery. A vegetal tang lingers in the finish. I could drink this tea all day long.

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Now that I’m well caffeinated, it’s time for a walk in the spring sunshine. As always, thanks for stopping by and sharing a cuppa with me. See you in two weeks!

Saturday Morning Tea

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Good morning, dear tea friends! As I took a step outside the other day, the air smelled fresh and clean with that earthy aroma of growing things. It smelled like spring at last!

This is always a lovely time of year, a time of rebirth and awakening and……..first flush Darjeeling! I’m excited to introduce you to my first cuppa of the 2015 season –Risheehat SFTGFOP Ch. First Flush Organic.

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The Risheehat Tea Estate is located in a valley with the perfect temperature and rainfall for producing high quality Darjeelings. It’s close to the Darjeeling city area and Kanchanjangha peak to the north. Here’s some information from their website:

“Risheehat literally means “Home of Holy Saints”. The Garden was established by British planters in the mid 19th century and was known as Tsering Bagan because of local population of the Tsering tribe.

Acquired by Jayshree Tea management in 1955, the garden is divided into two major divisions – Rishihat main division and Liza Hill Division. The estate today produces more than 180 tons per year of certified bio-organic teas and healthy zero% vacancy on its estate. The estate has Fair Trade certification, ISO 1901:2008 awarded by TUV NORD and also HAACCP, not to mention organic certificates for NPOP, POP and JAS by IMO.”

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Here’s a lovely plucking of new growth. I steeped the leaves for 3 minutes in just under boiling point (212F) water.

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The tea liquor is the color of golden sunshine. The aroma of the wet leaf is of fresh steamed baby peas with fragrant floral hints. The aroma of the tea is fresh and flowery with notes of tropical fruit.

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The flavor is light and fresh, awakening my mouth with its gentle astringency. Notes of flowers and tropical fruit intermingle and linger in a long finish. This tea has a decent caffeine hit, which makes it a great choice for the morning or when you need an extra lift during the day.

I have crocus lifting their yellow cups to the sky in my front yard. They seem to have multiplied since last year. I’m headed out into the garden this afternoon to clear away the winter mulch and debris. Even though it’s dirty work, I’m always rewarded with the sight of what’s starting to peek through the soil. Another garden year has begun!

I’ll be returning next week to share a cup of tea with you as I’m making my spring trek to Michigan the following week.

Have a wonderful week!

 

 

Saturday Morning Tea

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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!

Saturday Morning Tea

Good morning, dear tea friends! As promised last week, here is my original Tumsong Estate first flush Darjeeling tea post from May 2011.

The skies may be gray outside my window but I am inside enjoying sunshine in my teacup – a first flush Darjeeling from the Tumsong estate.

I have read that the Tumsong tea garden was first planted in 1867 around a temple devoted to the Hindu goddess Tamsa Devi. Devi is the Sanskrit word for goddess.

When I opened the tea packet, an aroma of fresh flowers and sugar cookies greeted my senses.

I steeped the bright olive tea leaves for 3 minutes in boiling point (212F) water.

From the Tumsong tea estate:

“Tumsong’s teas are known to be among the best in the Darjeeling area and command high prices at auctions. Perhaps the first credit for this should go to the goddess, on whose land the garden grows. The goddess Tamsa presides over this serene and surreal landscape and fills the atmosphere with harmony. In the area, Tumsong is often referred to as the garden of happy hearts.”

The leaves may be intensely green but the liquor they produce is a golden yellow, creating pearl bubbles of light in my glass teapot.

I have also read that the entire tea garden faces some of the highest ranges in the Himalayan mountains and receives a constant, cool breeze sweeping across the tea bushes. This breeze causes the plants to grow gradually, allowing them to slowly develop their flavor.

And this tea is positively bursting with flavor! Notes of nut (almond), tropical fruit and citrus pungency sweep across my palate as I slowly savor each sip from my teacup.

All I can say is – yum, and let me go make another pot right now!

I’m headed out to my garden this afternoon to do some more planting – 2 peonies with flowers of raspberry sorbet, tipped in yellow, a lavender for my herb garden, some olive/eggplant-colored coleus for a shady spot under a tree, and some cheerful daisies for the morning sun side of the house.

Have a wonderful weekend, dear friends!

“How to be happy when you are miserable. Plant Japanese poppies with cornflowers and mignonette, and bed out the petunias among the sweet-peas so they shall scent each other.  See the sweet-peas coming up.

Drink very good tea out of a thin Worcester cup of a colour between apricot and pink…”   ~ Rumer Godden

Saturday Morning Tea

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Good morning, dear tea friends! I hope you all had a wonderful, tea-filled week. I have another experiment in my cup this morning, with a 2-year-old first flush Darjeeling from the Tumsong Estate. I’ve decided to do the opposite of my last experiment and try the tea first before going back and looking at my first post about it. So, here goes…

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Taking into account its age, I used a little bit more leaf and steeped for 4 minutes in boiling point (212F) water. The olive-colored leaves are mostly broken up but I was able to find an intact baby leaf here and there.

Like this lovely specimen.

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Isn’t that marvelous? Whenever I see a whole leaf like that, it conjures up images of tea bushes growing under a wide, blue sky on the other side of the world, with women in brightly colored garments weaving in a delicate dance amongst the rows, plucking the newly grown leaf.

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The tea liquor is a brilliant golden sunshine-y color with an orange tinge reminding me of fresh papaya. The flavor is tangy, with a rounded pungency that wakes up my taste buds. A whisper of almond and refreshing citrus greets those awakened taste buds with each sip.

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I love the color of this tea so much that I brought out my glass teamug so I could enjoy it while I sipped.

My conclusion is that like the other older first flush teas I’ve tried, this tea has stood up well and can be quite a wonderful cup if you give it some tweaks to how it might have been originally steeped when it was a newborn.

Stay tuned for next week when I rerun my post from two years ago. I’m really enjoying this first flush journey and hope you are, too!

“When you have a dream, you’ve got to grab it and never let it go.”

~Carol Burnett

Saturday Morning Tea

Good morning, dear tea friends! This morning I am re-running a post from last April on the Glenburn Estate first flush Darjeeling, harvested in 2012. Enjoy reading it again and stay tuned for next week when I’m going to steep up a pot and review it again.

Hello again, my dear tea friends! I’m happy to be back to share another cup of tea with all of you. This morning I’m enjoying another first flush Darjeeling, this selection from the Glenburn estate. So far, 5 first flushes have arrived and I have to say that this one is my favorite so far. The leaf is from the first plucking of the season and, as you can see from my photo, it’s filled with the silvery white tips of the tea bush. So new, so tender.

The leaf shows off its gorgeous green color as it steeps. I steeped for 3 minutes in just under boiling point water, around 200 degrees F. Remember that this is not a green tea but has been oxidized and processed as a black tea.

My online tea friend, Steph, had the opportunity to visit the Glenburn tea estate during a trip to India last year. She shares her wonderful adventure on her blog, Steph’s Cup of Tea, here. To visit a tea estate in Darjeeling would definitely be a dream come true for me. Someday…

Ok, back to the tea. The tea liquor steeped up to such a pale, delicate golden color. A sweet aroma of flowers wafted up from my glass teapot as I gently removed the infuser basket.

While I do love notes of tropical fruit and banana in a first flush tea, my first love has always been the floral notes. This tea is a perfect example of that – in the aroma and pronounced in the flavor. The liquor is so smooth that you could probably experiment with pushing the steeping time a little bit. If you do, please let me know what you think.

Have a wonderful week filled with many delicious cups of tea!

“One of the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats.”

~Iris Murdoch, Writer