Spring tea from Darjeeling

This morning I’m cupping a first flush from Jungpana Estate in Darjeeling, in West Bengal, India.  Ari brought this tea back from Teance, and it’s arguably the best I’ve tasted from the 2010 harvest.

It was just over two years ago that I was in Darjeeling, in March of 2008.  I stayed at the Goomtee estate, and could see the Jungpana estate at a slightly lower elevation down the hills.    You can see the name of the estate on the roof of the building above.

The 2010 harvest was pretty hard fought they had a bad drought through the winter and there was much concern about how much tea they would actually be able to harvest in Spring.  I’ve tasted through about 10 different estates and they’ve reminded me less of what I would expect from a first flush (bright, almost like a green tea) and more like a mid-summer second flush (deeper, more winey flavors).  I’m really enjoying Jungpana’s, though- it has a nice complexity to it and a pleasant, lingering astringency.  It seems like everyone has different opinions about the best way to brew a first flush, but this one calls to be brewed at 205F for 1 minute, and is good for 3 infusions.

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