Darjeeling 1st Flush, Giddapahar SFTGFOP 1Spring 2017
Attractive and assertive fresh green and floral notes abound in this gorgeous first flush tea. The mouthfeel has a pleasing astringency, and the finish a gentle sweetness.
Origin: Kurseong, Darjeeling
Variety: Camellia sinensis sinensis
Our 2017 first flush Darjeeling was selected for its classic, vibrant character, which deliberately emphasises the fresh aromatics of the raw leaves. The finished dry leaves retain pretty shades of green and smell heavenly. It’s a super-premium tea, redolent of the much admired and distinctive Darjeeling terroir.
Giddapahar Estate sits in the heart of Darjeeling, high in the foothills of the Himalayas. The tender young shoots for first flush teas are picked when conditions are still cool, meaning the character of the leaves is very different from those plucked later in the year when the growth rate has sped up. Yields are low, and vertiginous conditions means the bushes have to be hand picked, maximising their quality.
The small and soft leaves are withered for longer than later picks, and lose a higher proportion of moisture during the process. The reduced moisture means oxidation is slower and only partially completes before the leaves are dried. As the leaves are less oxidised than is normal for black teas, experts in the industry are now beginning to refer to first flush Darjeeling as ‘hard wither’ tea rather than black tea, placing it in a category of its own.
The overall result is more colourful dry leaves, which are also quite green when wet, rather than the dark brown of fully oxidised leaves. In the cup, first flush Darjeelings are lightly coloured, with lifted aromas of raw leaf and white flowers, as opposed to the richer, darker coloured liquor from the second flush, with its rounder palate and fruiter flavour. Yet both are easily recognised as Darjeeling with the lifted, muscatel flavour that’s peculiar to the terroir of the area.
The fourth generation family at Giddapahar still tends older planting of China bush tea planted from seed, rather than bushes propagated from cuttings, as is the norm today. The leaves from old bush plants add character to the teas, and some say added body and mouthfeel.
Don’t use boiling water on these tender leaves! Steep 3g (1tbsp) per cup at 90-95°C for 2-3 minutes, or to taste. Be careful not to over steep first flush teas, which are inclined to ‘bolt’, or become unpleasantly astringent if brewed for too long or too hot.
We recommend drinking first flush Darjeeling without milk to allow the light flavours to shine.