Now that spring is here in all its glory, it is wonderful to sit outside and enjoy a cup of tea. This morning I sat in the backyard of our home with Risheehat First Flush 2014. Brewing it gong-fu style, I took in not just all the exquisite flavors from back home Darjeeling but also the beauty of spring that now surrounds us here.X
Weather continues to challenge tea folks in Darjeeling. Even as the first flush production moves into its final week, reports estimate the shortfall this year to be from 30% - 50% compared to last year's.
Darjeeling tea has historical roots in China, being transplants of saplings that Scot botanist Robert Fortune smuggled out of forbidden kingdom in early 1850s. Even though Darjeeling has come a long way both literally and figuratively in the tea world, carving out its own hallowed niche, it is fun sometimes to marry these two tea traditions.
This spring one of the exciting things we look forward to is introducing tea from Jun Chiyabari, an Organic tea garden located in the eastern Himalayas of Nepal. It will be our first Nepalese tea.
Anthropologists assert that tea's culinary career began as an ingredient in prepared food. People would throw it in broths or ferment it for salads among other things, much before they actually started to brew it like we do today.
We are often asked the question, what is Darjeeling tea? Is it a type of tea, or what? Being Darjeeling tea specialists we thought of putting together a small post here that answers the question. Hope it helps.
We cannot wait for this winter to take a rest. It is late February and we are faced with yet another prospect of an Arctic Vortex. But the signs of hope are emerging - bulbs are pushing forth their shoots amid the snow and ice, the calls of returning birds can be heard, and there are more blue skies.
"YES! This Organic Arya Ruby Darjeeling Black Tea Second Flush from Happy Earth Tea is the type of Darjeeling that I think of when I think “Darjeeling Tea.” This is it! When I say “I think I’d like a Darjeeling Tea today … this is the kind of Darjeeling that moves me to want that type of tea! This is the Darjeeling I LOVE!" - SororiTea Sisters.
Our six-year-old daughter woke up 2:30 in the morning with a nasty cough and fever. As we tried to calm her and our anxious selves down, our sick child asked me if I could make her her “honey-tea.” By this she meant our Holy Ginger blend that I give her with honey whenever she or anyone of us are under the weather. As I rushed downstairs, still a bit disoriented by this sudden onset of sickness in the middle of the night, I couldn’t help being proud of her choice of remedy.
There was 21 days of waiting between the death of my father and his Ghewa (memorial death feast). For the hardworker that he was, he would have been the first person to protest my sitting around moping for all that time. So on the final week of waiting I headed out to Dootheria tea estate where my good friend (I actually address him as “daju”, an elder brother) Yogdeep Gurung is the General Manager.
As a former journalist I’ve been obsessed lately with the unfolding government shutdown drama. I refresh my NYT app nearly every half hour for updates on the issue as if tracking score as a sports fan would.
The Buddhist flags that flutter over Darjeeling hills remind you that both your joys and sorrows are fleeting. Nothing stays. So resist attachments - the root of all suffering.
Some time ago, when we stumbled upon the pleasures of cold brew Darjeeling, my wife expressed a fancy for bottling Darjeeling perfume. The leaves of the first flush tea, after a cold brew, smelled so exquisite that had we the means, we’d have right away underwritten efforts to realize my lady’s dream.
We have just finished sampling Darjeeling Second Flush 2013. My palate is singing and my heart is full. What a blessing it is to be able to partake of some of the earth’s best gifts!
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.
The tradition of cold brewing tea is old. It is believed to have originated in Japan, where people just poured cold water over tea in a pitcher that was left to sit for hours in the coolest part of the house. The resultant brew was cool, smooth, full of flavor and very little bitterness.
One common question among Darjeeling tea lovers is why does the first flush look so green? Although it is classified as black tea, the appearance of dry Darjeeling first flush tea can make one mistake it for a green tea.
When I first came to the US nearly 10 years ago and tried Darjeeling tea, I was as expected disappointed. The tea had to travel long and hard and obviously the tea without any harvest date marking was old. A decade later when much has changed, including the tea market here, the expectation has as needs be dramatically risen. The US tea market has exploded and the tea consumers are much better informed. Now one of the things the tea drinker wants is fresh tea. However, a lot of tea companies, especially the big ones, still decline to reveal the harvest season or year for the tea. This we find surprising.
After what is always an anxious wait, the first batch of our first flush samples for 2013 finally arrived from Darjeeling. Thanks to modern transportation samples now take under a week to arrive from the gardens of Darjeeling! It's incredible. Think how long the wait must have been not too long ago when couriers were still rudimentary and expensive. We're lucky indeed!