2020 Darjeeling 1st Flush Giddapahar Tea Estate 'Delight' black tea

Darjeeling 2020 1st Flush Giddapahar Tea Estate ‘Delight’

$10.00$140.00

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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

2020 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 regarding 1st Flush Darjeeling teas has been to procure more variety and less depth than we formerly offered ‘back in the old days’. The weather seemed to agree and has helped to produce many delicious teas for 2020. We will have Darjeeling teas with a softer, less astringent flavor profile, and also ones in the brisk, more modern ‘European’ (green) style. So whatever style you prefer – or if you enjoy them all – this is a great year for tea, and Darjeeling in particular. The more normal amount of rainfall has increased the moisture in the leaf which leads to less breakage and a deeper flavor and better keeping potential. Also the teas will likely ‘age’ well and increase in flavor rather than diminish over the next 10-15 months.

Bob selected several of Tea Trekker’s 1st Flush Darjeeling teas for 2020 at pretty much the normal time in the early spring; however in many cases delivery of those shipments could not be made by air courier until the travel restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic were lifted by the Indian govt. Then in most regions the monsoonal floods came in before the lockdown was lifted, so the tea ‘sat’ in various locations in India until it could be shipped, in a few instances being caught up again in yet another pandemic lock-down before finally being released. But they finally were able to be en route in late July and started to arrive in Aug … and we expect more deliveries to continue through Sept, about as late as we have ever seen in 40 years of sourcing Darjeeling tea.

The good news is that the 2nd Flush teas this year should be exquisite and ‘keep’ really well! They will just be very late to arrive…

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 2020 1st Flush Delight tea is a micro-lot tea, meaning that only a small amount of this tea was made. In the early spring, the tea makers in northern India 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 2020  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 the Note under the Harvesting Season accordion drop-down.

We tasted this tea at about the same time that we were deciding on the Giddapahar 2020 1st Flush that we purchased a large quantity of, and which has been really popular whenever we have been able to source it. We 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 we 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 two years ago, and this tea reminded us of that tea.

Flavor Notes:

Tea Trekker’s 2020 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. Different 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. The Nepal Creme de la Creme this year has this characteristic, so I am guessing that it is a weather-related flavor element for 2019/2020.

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 August 2020). We think that this tea represents one of the silver linings of the coronavirus pandemic – a forced resting of the leaf that has resulted in an improvement of flavor. 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 ever since.

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 adds 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.