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