2018 Darjeeling Giddapahar Estate Nectar Delight black tea

Darjeeling 2018 1st Flush Giddapahar Tea Estate ‘Delight’

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Black Tea

 

Darjeeling Giddapahar Tea Estate ‘Delight’

 

Appearance: the leaf is a reasonably dark mix of diverse colors, showing how the leaf has responded to oxidation during manufacture. This is an exceptionally beautiful tea with elegant, hand rolled leaves and the perfect twist
Cultivar: China tea bush varietal leaf
Oxidation: approximately 93%
Wither: standard wither
Flavor: offers lush, big flavor – with no astringency but a classic ‘dry’ style
Aroma: pronounced and intoxicating
Liquor: medium, golden-amber

 

Darjeeling District, West Bengal State, India
100% Pure, Un-blended Darjeeling tea
High-grade leaf with no bitterness

2018 1st Flush ‘Delight’ (March)

Delight‘ Tea manufacture:  A limited number of traditional tea gardens in Darjeeling produce a small amount of a special manufacture of tea known as ‘Delight‘ tea. This subcategory of the 1st Flush is made using uncut China bush leaf and is hand-made following an old-fashioned, traditional methodology. The leaf can be identified as a ‘Delight‘ tea by visual appearance in both the dry and wet form, but is easiest to spot in the wet leaf.

The leaf must be plucked during the first few days of the 1st Flush period, from 100% China bush plants, grown at a very high altitude. Following careful manufacture the uncut leaf is fired whole by charcoal roasting. This particular firing style sets the leaf differently than the normal drying and the leaf then needs a resting period before it really develops and opens up.

 

After a month or two, a ‘Delight‘ manufacture shows sweetness and body that is really unusual for a high altitude, China bush tea. Tea connoisseurs world-wide who are aware of ‘Delight‘ tea seek out these small lots and supervise them while they mature. Drunk starting several months after harvest, these rest and age unlike any other type of tea. The distinctive flavor of a ‘Delight‘ 1st Flush Darjeeling tea comes from exactly this preparation. The established, heirloom varietal China bush tea plants that grow in the gardens that manufacture ‘Delight‘ teas contribute a rich softness to the taste of this tea.

Use 1 Tablespoon (2-3 grams) per 6 oz water
Steep 1 infusion at 2 -4 minutes
Water temperature should be 185°F-195° F

Using water to the cooler end of the range above will increase the smooth character of this tea.
We believe this tea to be prepared well when it is steeped with this cooler water – for the full 4 minutes.

Steeping Tip:

As this tea is made from 100% china bush varietal leaf, it also can be easy to over-steep if the water is too hot. Try steeping it twice, first for 90 seconds and then again for 2-3 minutes. The ‘big’ mouthfeel will surprise you – especially for such an early-harvest leaf.
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Our goal again this year will be to procure more variety in 1st Flush Darjeeling teas than we have in some years. The reliably quirky weather will hopefully agree and help to produce many delicious teas from diverse gardens in 2018. The season has started very early and will hopefully continue strong. We will have Darjeeling teas with a softer, less astringent flavor profile, and also ones in the more modern, ‘European’, aka ‘Russian’ style. So whatever style you prefer – or if you enjoy them all – this should be a great year for tea, and Darjeeling in particular.

Bob selected Tea Trekker’s 1st Flush Darjeeling teas for 2018 pretty much at the normal time of the spring, and those deliveries have been arriving by air courier and by surface transport. Check the listings regularly for new additions, and also for the 2nd Flush teas in July!

Giddapahar Tea Estate is one of Bob’s all-time favorite Darjeeling gardens – their stylish leaf yields mouth-filling, yet fresh, vibrant flavor in the cup. This, coupled with crisp high altitude briskness, is the measure of a stunning 1st Flush Darjeeling tea.

This 2018 1st Flush Delight tea is a micro-lot tea, meaning that only a small amount of this tea was made. It is in the early spring that the tea makers can have a little fun making small lots of very special tea before the push of the harvest begins in earnest. These teas usually have large leaf sizes and are not graded as leaf size usually is. Instead each lot is given a lovely name suggestive of the happiness that spring brings. We chose Tea Trekker’s 2018  Delight specifically because it not only tastes delicious, but it is more of a traditional leaf style, meaning that it is NOT the big leafy, early-spring pluck and manufacture that most ‘Delight‘ teas exhibit.
See Note under Harvesting Season accordion drop-down.

We tasted this tea at about the same time that we were deciding on the Giddapahar 2018 1st Flush that we purchased a large quantity of, and which has been really popular. I decided to source both of these because, while being from about the same time frame and of course the same garden, they were similar and complimentary in many ways, and I knew that the ‘Delight‘ manufacture would be coming into its glory at just about the time that the ‘regular’ 1st Flush manufacture will be running out of its inventory. We sourced the ‘Nectar Delight‘ from this tea estate last year, which was extremely popular – and this tea also reminded me of that tea.

Flavor Notes:

Tea Trekker’s 2018 Giddapahar Tea Estate ‘Delight’ has very big flavor. It is lush, mouth-filling, and concentrated. It almost tastes sweet, but is not – this is just a tactile mis-interpretation due to the incredible full-body that this leaf possesses. While not sweet, it not astringent either. Differing than most 1st Flush Darjeeling tea, the overall style of this tea is more reminiscent of a 2nd flush, or even an Autumnal pluck. The reason for this is the combination of China bush leaf and the unique manufacture that this ‘Delight‘ tea had. There is a soft flavor, but prominent, with stone fruit in the flavor and a strong backbone for those who drink their Darjeeling tea ‘neat‘ (which is what we recommend). There is a certain ‘dry’ quality to the steeped tea, reminiscent of the crisp style of Asahi ‘Dry’, for example. This is a taste/style that is hard to pinpoint and describe, but is unmistakeable.

Delight’ has an incredible aroma – we could just sit and smell the aromatics all day (both dry leaf and wet leaf!).There is a purity to it, it is incredibly complex, and full and has a well-blended component in it that is …chocolate-y?

Truly an exceptional tea, and we are quite happy to have discovered this gem. It has developed nicely and is drinking perfectly as of this writing (in June 2018). This leaf should drink well for at least another year and perhaps longer. But who could possibly keep it around that long??

Giddapahar Tea Estate is located in the most prestigious heart of the Kurseong Valley. (Giddapahar is translated from Nepali to mean Eagles’ Cliff). Giddapahar Tea Estate is owned by fourth generation Surendra Nath Singh and his brother, and is a relatively small area of 109 hectares. The gardens are poised at an average altitude of 4,800 feet and their orientation offers an incredible view of the Himalaya. The garden was first developed in 1881 and has been producing fine tea continuously.

Giddapahar Tea Estate is one of the few remaining tea estates with gardens that still produce tea from older plantings of China bush tea varietals. We feel that leaf from these tea bushes add body and richness to the mouth-feel of a fine Darjeeling, so we always look for these ‘gems’ from the few gardens that still maintain their long-lived China bush stock.