Orange Valley, Darjeeling, West Bengal, India
We almost wrote off carrying Darjeelings. The last few seasons have been underwhelming and overpriced, echoing similar issues with “famous” teas in China.
But who would have guessed it would take a crop from an old school estate like Orange Valley to restore our faith in Darjeelings?
We’re vouching for this spring 2019 first flush that landed fresh within a month of harvest. The freshness is pronounced - immediate and clean, with an absence of tannic notes that plagued our previous batches.
This year, after a particularly long winter, the mature tea trees slowly built up a healthy reserve of carbohydrates and glucose to prepare for the change of season. So, upon the first arrival of springtime sun and misty mountain air, the trees bursted forth with an abundance of young, nutrient-rich buds. Coupled with Orange Valley’s years of bio-organic practices and prized position amongst the Himalayan terroir, this season’s first flush is nature at its peak.
The leaves yield an inviting floral aroma upon initial contact with hot water. As you take your first sip, the buttery viscosity is apparent, offering a respectful nod to its Anxi oolong lineage. Then, the currant sweetness and jasmine bouquet takes over your senses, lingering on and eventually setting you down gently with the classic Darjeeling dry finish. Exactly how it once was, exactly how it should be.
You’d be right to call this a comeback.
Dry leaves: short and medium leaf, green with white furry buds
Taste: white peach, snow pea, currant, shortbread
Process: organically grown, non-oxidised