This tea really wowed us when we first tasted it! In the middle of a flight of Darjeelings that we were tasting for consideration for this year’s selection of Tea Trekker tea, this tea was a standout. This tea, the Arya 2018 2nd Flush, was completely out of character with the others in its flight, which happened to be comprised of modern-style, astringent, 2nd Flush Darjeelings. We knew we were tasting a unique tea that was incredibly special, but that we would need to re-visit it on its own (with no context of other current Darjeelings) in order to fully appreciate its particular flavor profile.
When we tasted it several weeks later, on its own, we were flabbergasted at the purity of flavor that this unique leaf expresses and the mature style that this leaf exhibits. Our selection of this 2nd Flush 2018 Arya Darjeeling tea is quite special we think. In some ways it is oolong-like in the depth and heft of its body, and it has clear stone-fruit flavor and aroma too – as many traditionally classic oolongs do. What is particularly unique about this tea is the way that it can be soft, smooth, and elegant while also possessing a very rich, traditionally classic flavor profile.
However, this tea is a Darjeeling, and it is only because of its special, classically-influenced manufacture that it has such an incredible, substantive mouth-feel. Most Darjeelings today – especially the 1st Flush Darjeelings – are made in what is known as ‘the German style’ and are assertive (even aggressive) with quite a bit of non-oxidized leaf. In their taste profile this stylized manufacture tends to show as astringency.
Our Arya Tea Estate 2nd Flush for 2018 does not have this astringency, but rather it has a round-ness and finesse that we remember from the time when Darjeeling tea was manufactured to a more thorough oxidation and therefore had huge depth of flavor and a rich, complex flavor profile.This is the Darjeeling manufacture that made this tea famous, and we are quite pleased to see several of the prestige gardens returning to their roots. This particular ‘lot’ is specifically designated as a ‘Delight’ tea, which is a term more usually used within the 1st Flush harvest. Similar to its usage there, in this instance it signifies that the leaf was plucked at the earliest possible time within the 2nd Flush period. However, while one would expect that early pluck to be a bit more assertive, what that early pluck brings to this tea is a focused flavor, booming aromatic qualities, and a slightl amount of tip. In the manufacture of the tea the astringency is lifted and the smooth, full-bodied character dominates our batch of this tea.
Arya Garden is one of the oldest gardens in Darjeeling, founded by Buddhist monks in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Formerly known as the Sidrabong Garden, the estate’s name was changed in the late 1990’s when the estate re-opened after recovering from a large fire (this is reminiscent of our friend Mr Saito in Shizuoka’s recovery from his fire). Averaging at an altitude of 1500 meters, this garden’s orientation is sublime, and affords the bushes an optimum growing position in the hills of Darjeeling (one of the finest tea-growing regions on earth). From inception, the tea bushes in this garden have been grown organically, and the estate now adheres to bio-dynamic growing principles as well as being certified organic.
Arya Garden is one of the most prestigious of the gardens in all of Darjeeling. Tea Trekker is proud to offer this FTGFOP 1 CH Delight tea from the 2018 Arya 2nd Flush harvest to our tea enthusiast customers – we think it is utterly delicious.