Woke up to a wet and misty morning here in Rochester, NY. As I looked outside, in a moment I was transported back to the Darjeeling hills where half the year it is wet and misty. Saw the rhododendron in our neighbor's garden and that reminded me even more of Darjeeling. During spring the upper reaches of the hills are alive with gurans - as rhododendrons are called locally. It is a sight that will cheer even the most disconsolate heart.
This morning, thought I would like to try the most "robust" of our Darjeeling first flush teas. Robust is not a description normally applied to first flush where the tea is most delicate. However, even within delicate teas there are those more delicate than others. Given the weather, and the wave of nostalgia, I needed something stronger to embrace. So I picked up Puttabong.
The tea is among the later part of the first flush harvest and it bears characters of the changing season. As the spring gets warmer the delicate floral notes of the early harvest starts to turn more fruity. In Darjeeling's case it ultimately takes on the second flush famous and unique "muscatel flavor".
Faint hints of muscat developing can be discerned in Puttabong. There is still the floral character in the tea and the two combined renders an unusual pleasure. It is like enjoying the best of both worlds. There are notes of macadamia too adding depth to the body of the cup, which has a overall smooth and clean finish.
If you let the cup cool a bit the floral notes become more accented. But this morning I want my tea to be a bit more bracing. So I close my eyes and gently keep sipping the hot tea, infusing Darjeeling in my here and now.