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.
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.