A detailed and helpful review of our Singbulli First Flush 2014. Thank you Adam!
"This 2014 First Flush Singbulli Darjeeling from Happy Earth Tea is simply superb. The problem in writing about it is that there are so many different flavors in this tea that emerge depending upon preparation. Frankly this is true of all of the Darjeelings that I have purchased from Happy Earth. Mr. Lama obviously has a very cultivated palate, and as a result the leaf quality of his Darjeelings is of very high standard, permitting all kinds of variations in temperature and steeping time, without incurring bitterness. I have, at times, forgotten about my steeping, and so have partaken of teas steeped up to fifteen minutes! In all of these instances I have only discovered new flavors... never bitterness.
This Singbulli is a perfect complement to my other favorite Happy Earth Darjeeling... the First Flush Phoobsering. Both tees have pronounced citrus notes, in contrast to the grape and stone fruit notes in some other Darjeelings. Where the Phoobsering has a distinct lemon flavor, the Singbulli has accents of lime. Both teas are also floral, with a wonderful perfume that fills the mouth. When I use a small amount of Singbulli, water just below the boiling point, and a three-minute to three and a half minute steep, I can taste rose in addition to the citrus notes.
Longer steeps, whether with more tea or not, produce bolder nuttier flavors, while still retaining the tea' s elegance. Quite frankly, I haven't run out of different ways of preparing this tea, but one thing I would like to say is that, in contrast to the trend of using larger amounts of tea, I have found many virtues in using lesser amounts. Many different delicate flavors emerge when using less tea.
The lime flavor of the Singbulli may have something to do with the nearby orange groves in the Mirik Valley, but I haven't been able to find any such correlation for the Phoobsering. But of course Nature is a profound alchemist, and this 2014 First Flush Singbulli is one of its creations...a truly wonderful tea that is generous in its complexity of flavors, yet delicate and refined."