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2021 Darjeeling First Flush


FTGFOP, First Flush

At long last, the 2021 Darjeeling First Flush harvest has arrived at our door! After not being able to get our hands on Darjeeling last year, due to COVID restrictions, we have a spectacular harvest to share with you this spring.

Often referred to as the “Champagne of teas,” Darjeelings enjoy a celebrated reputation as intensely aromatic teas with complex flavor profiles.

Our 2021 Darjeeling is simply exquisite. An aromatic and lively harvest, this year’s First Flush has a whisper of the tea’s characteristic astringency, adding a bit of crispness to the cup without drying out your mouth. This year’s harvest has a delightful tropical quality in the top notes, distinctly reminiscent of plantains and mangoes. A mellow hint of honeysuckle and white grapes in the finish.

Harvested in early spring during the famed First Flush season in the Darjeeling district of India, this year’s Darjeeling First Flush is from Upper Namring, and is a truly beautiful cup of tea.

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The flush refers to the growth period in which the tea is harvested.  The first flush is the first plucking in the spring after the winter dormancy period has ended. The spring brings warmer weather, longer days and rain that stimulates new growth. Nutrients stored by the plant all winter long are pushed into the leaves to encourage this growth. This fact, coupled with a concentration of flavors that results form a slower rate of growth, makes first flush teas highly desirable, particularly Darjeelings. First flush Darjeelings are typically very light-bodied, astringent teas.

 Darjeeling currently has 86 licensed tea gardens. Ninety-Nine percent of the tea produced in Darjeeling is black tea.

The intricate string of letters and numbers listed after the tea is an acronym used to indicate what is commonly referred to as the grade of the tea.  FTGFOP1 stands for Finest, Tippy, Golden, Flowery, Orange Pekoe which, in reality, is just a complicated way of describing the size and style of the tea leaf.  Calling it a grade is often misleading because it incorrectly suggests that it is an indicator of the tea’s quality, which is no longer the case. The subjective nature of the system led to significant grade inflation and over the years it has evolved into simply a way to classify black teas according to the size of their leaf.  Generally, the more letters, the larger the leaf style, though larger leaf styles do not always indicate a higher quality tea.  Quality is dependent upon numerous factors, such as: cultivation techniques, plucking method, production standards, the age of the leaf, etc.  In this case, FTGFOP1 indicates a large leafed Darjeeling that the garden manager chose to denote as “exceptional” with the addition of the 1 at the end.

Our Darjeeling is extremely versatile. It’s astringency allows it to pair very well with rich, creamy foods like cream cheese or clotted cream. It also does well with chocolate, citrus, spicy dishes and red meat. At a recent tea and cheese pairing, we paired our First Flush Darjeeling with a lovely brie. It was a huge hit.

We recommend steeping Darjeeling for 2.5 minutes at 195°.  Do not mistake its astringency for bitterness.  Well made Darjeelings have a very astringent characteristic that will mellow slightly as the tea cools.

Ingredients: Black tea.


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