Saturday Morning Tea

Hello tea friends! It’s good to be back home and share a cup of tea with you again. I do love to travel and see new places or revisit favorite places but it is always good to come home, especially after a full day of air travel. I felt my shoulders relax the moment I walked through my front door. Ahhh, home again.

This morning I’m enjoying a very special treat, one of my most favorite experiences of springtime – the first sip of a brand new first flush Darjeeling. This tea is from the Puttabong estate. Located in the mountainous Darjeeling district of northeast India and also know as the Tukvar estate, I’ve written about this estate before right here.

Unfortunately, the weather conditions in Darjeeling this spring were less than ideal but you would never know that when looking at the gorgeous leaf and inhaling the fragrant aroma of this tea. That said, the lower quantity produced this season has made these first flush teas very expensive.

This tea is processed as a black tea but because the plucking is from the first leaves of springtime, it has a very “green” feel to it, in both the dry and wet leaf and also the aroma and taste.

The tea liquor steeps to a deep golden color after 3 minutes in slightly less than boiling point water.

The aroma and flavor is of ripening fruit. It calls to mind a green banana that has just turned ripe enough to eat but still retains its not yet quite ripeness. So new, so fresh, so smooth.

I have one word for the flavor. YUM. How do you like that for a technical tea description? I just want to keep drinking this tea it’s so wonderful! Unfortunately, I only have enough for 4 cups of tea in the sample I have so I will savor each delicious sip. I have looked forward to this moment all winter long. Mmmmm….

My workplace is located 3 blocks from the starting line of the Boston Marathon so I have Monday off and a delicious 3-day weekend stretching out in front of me. I’ve been on the go for the last month so I am taking this opportunity to just hang out at home and do nothing.

What tea are you enjoying today?

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Saturday Morning Tea

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It’s time for another first flush Darjeeling. If someone asked me right now what my most favorite tea is, my answer would be a first flush Darjeeling in May.

This particular first flush tea was harvested on the Puttabong (also known as Tukvar) tea estate. First planted in 1852, this tea garden is nestled in the foothills of the Himalayan mountains near Kanchendzonga peak. With altitudes ranging from 1500 to 6500 feet above sea level, it is one of the highest elevation tea gardens in Darjeeling district.  Its tea plants consist mainly of clonal bushes and China jat, meaning tea bushes with origins from China.

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Unlike other first flush teas, its leaves are darker with less green bits. I steeped the leaves for 3 minutes in 212 degree F (boiling) water.

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As I lifted the infuser basket from the teapot, the tea’s fruity aroma greeted me immediately. I looked forward to my first sip and was delighted with the lively taste of the cup. While it was bright, it wasn’t as characteristically astringent and seemed more like a second flush with its muscatel flavor.

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Ok, I’m already sipping my third cup and the tea is still very smooth. Sometimes Darjeelings will reveal their bite as the tea cools. Not this one.

It is a delight!

I’m also enjoying it at a cooler temperature and would recommend it as a wonderful iced tea. With the leaves I have left in my sample packet, I think I’ll steep them in the fridge overnight for a glass of iced tea tomorrow morning. We are anticipating warming temps this weekend after a cool, rainy week.

Have you noticed the background in my tea photos? It is a background paper that I picked up the other day at A.C. Moore to use in my art journal. It’s called “In the Forest”. I’m expecting little fairies to shyly reveal themselves in its beautiful depth of pattern.

I’m discovering a whole new world of art supplies. Joy!

Just trust yourself, then you will know how to live.

~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe