Friday, March 9, 2007

Darjeeling 1st Flush, 2007

Well, its going smooth till now, when on the evening of 25th of February, it started raining again and it was a bit obvious that the temperature was again very low and it again created complications for the new shoots and buds to grow rapidly, I woke up next morning and sat on the lawn with a pot of Lingia Muscatel 2nd Flush, which is one of my favorite morning tea as its really very pronounced with its character, and looked at the sky and asked “now what”? as I was hoping that the last week of February would be fully sunny and we would have a better temperature average and this would lead us to the maximum production of early 1st Flush crop, this is very important as many Merchant claim to sell First Flush but every one is not lucky enough to have the early crop which is rare and reflects the original character of the garden, after the long winters.

On 27th morning I was really curious so again called up few gardens, firstly I called up Mr. Jha (Suptd.) of the Jayshree group for Sungma, Risheehat and Balasun Tea Estates, as I had already tasted some Risheehat pre-First Flush on the 2nd week of February, which was a pure winter crop and not anything close to a First Flush type and I had ignored the invoice, but I was more curious about Sungma tea which is the best garden of this group but again this tea garden is not very famous for First Flush as it’s a late riser meaning it starts its First Flush from mid-March when other Gardens are almost going towards mid First Flush, well he told me that they have just started a first round plucking and the temperature is moving between 10-15 degrees Celsius to the maximum during the day and 6-7 degree Celsius to the minimum at night, so this clearly means the 1st invoice will be produced during 11th-15th of March and a very good invoice would take at least one more week from this given time.

Soon after that I got a very important news from the superintendent of Puttabong and North Tukvar that they have almost cleared the winter leaves and they are getting the new shoots and buds of First Flush 2007,well the temperature is also good as its moving towards 18-19 degrees Celsius at the morning and this is very good for the Puttabong Tea estate as it is situated on the proper Darjeeling hills, so we can expect very good clonals within 10th of March and the china types might take a week or so more …….

Also, there is a very Good news from the Thurbo Tea estate situated at the Mirik valley, that the temperature is ranging from 15-19 degrees Celsius during the day which will add a cupid more for its exclusive “tippy clonal” teas, but at night its dropping to 4-5 degrees Celsius as this garden also has some highest altitude clonal fields, but that does not matter as we are sure that we`ll have an exclusive invoice from this Garden within next week. …………………..

Well, from the 4th of March things were turning towards better, even the night temperatures were rising, so we were expecting very good clonal crops, I was keeping a very close look on the Puttabong invoices as they had a good Autumn crop last year and the first two china type invoices was better after the trail crops but in this period of time the quantity of each invoice is very limited as it’s the exclusive tender shoots and buds that are used to create this world class Darjeeling teas…..but we had already booked an invoice in advance which was of course a clonal line ,so on the morning of 7th March, Mr.Somani the Superintendent of Puttabong T.E. gave me a call and said that they had manufactured a superb clonal invoice and asked me to taste the sample and decide very quickly or they would send the sample to their European buyers also.

My curiosity was growing with the clock ticking beside me, finally the sample arrived, and I immediately took out the aluminum foil and threw the tea over it, Oh! Man, the tea is made of 50% silver tips and the second leaf with bright shine on it, I laid the tasting set with the sand timer for tasting the tea immediately and after a perfect brew I left the tea to cool down to 80 degrees Celsius (which is a perfect temperature to drink good black teas), I sniffed into the infused leaves and it just smelled fresh floral notes without any grassy smell in it and the silver tips had unfolded to exotic floral aroma, I immediately took a full sip into the cup and didn’t feel like throwing it out of my mouth as the tea was very aromatic, very delicate briskness due to its clonal character and the after taste was amazing as it would make a tea lover tongue go heavy after tasting……

the major constituents of this supreme tea is RR -17/144 clone ( for the mellow character and sharpness) and AB – 2 clone (for floral aroma) and above all this superb tea is grown at an elevation over 3500 feet above sea level and this clonal exotica is known as the Puttabong clonal queen sftgfop-1 ,Invoice no:DJ-4.

On the 8th of March I was invited to the Singbulli Tea Estate as this garden makes the best AB-2 clonal teas in the mirik valley area,on the 9th of March I took my camera and went to the garden, it really feels nice to go across the Mirik valley as its very green all around the place, anyways I finally reached the garden around 9:30am and had a breakfast with the Manager and his wife of Singbulli Tea Estate(Mr & Mrs Mantri), well I was eager to taste the teas, we went to the factory below the Manager`s bungalow, some of the china and assam variety teas were shown but those did not fit my taste buds, I don`t understand how people admire Singbulli`s First Flush china type variety teas , well must admit it’s the best alternative at this period of time as it’s the cheapest tea around, well coming back to the point,

I was left speechless when they showed me their clonal delight,as the tea was made out of 80% silver unopened buds,but unlike a White tea , this tea is slightly fermented,but again this is rare and this does not happen every day, as this is the best tea I ever tried after the Silver tips Imperial tea from Makaibari that I had tasted some 2-3years back when it made a world record for Darjeeling teas… anyways I wanted the teas by any means, but again trouble was not leaving by my side as a Japanaese buyer was also there to buy the tea, so the Manager had asked me to wait till 10th of March, so that the other buyer could place her bid for the tea, but luckily she could not come any close to my bid and I got the tea confirmed and I`m proud to have the Best tea in the world and its called the Singbulli Clonal Delight(Reserve), well the quantity is very less as this type of tea is rare but anyways I can bet my trade on this! We have the absolute best First Flush Darjeeling tea in the world.

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