Thursday, April 19, 2012

2012 First Flush Darjeeling and GIVEAWAY!

Happy dance!

Giveaway Alert - continue to the bottom to read details!

Last Friday was a special day! My first flush Darjeeling tea arrived.  I'd only ordered it the week before, and I was impressed with the speed of delivery.  I ordered from Thunderbolt Tea, and I am very pleased with the service.  I was kept informed of the order at all times and have been delighted with the teas!

I ordered the Turzum and the Sungma teas (both classic first flush processing).  I also received a surprise sample of the Arya Pearl (a white Darjeeling).  All three are certified organic.

I practiced amazing restraint, saving the first tasting to enjoy with some of my Wu-Wo tea friends.  We decided to brew using my cupping sets.  (The scenes are of tea traveling via wagon and locomotive, and on the sideways cup, tea auctions.) 

I've had first flush teas before, but never this closely to having been picked.  The look of the leaf (both the Turzum and the Sungma) was much greener than I expected.  I brewed the teas at a couple of different temperatures and lengths, but generally cooler than normal, about 190 degrees Farhenheit, for about a minute and a half.  Water boils at a lower temperature in Darjeeling, and I was attempting to replicate those natural conditions.

The aroma, for me, was very much like freshly-cut alfalfa hay.  Sweet and enticing.  I grew up around hay fields, and so this immediately came to mind.  The DH (also a Midwesterner) had the same thought, even though we hadn't discussed it. 

Both teas are excellent, worthy of time and attention, to be consumed with focus and appreciation.  Our tasting group fell particularly in love with the Turzum tea, though I don't mean to slight the Sungma in any way!  Tasting friends - what are your thoughts?

My tea plant

My own tea plant is flushing right now, see the downy filaments on the baby leaf?

I'm going to share samples of my first flush teas with one lucky winner!  To enter (and in recognition of National Poetry Month), leave me a haiku poem that has the words "first flush" included somehow.  I'll draw a winner next Thursday, April 26th.  Here's one to get you started. 

Hush.  Tea leaf unfurls.
First flush, the springtime glory;
Listen to the tea.


Marilyn Miller said...

Nice haiku! I don't have a haiku, but I must say these teas were both totally delightful. They did have a light sweetness. I loved the Turzum so well I have ordered some. Oh how I hope it is here before my road trip. How fun it is to taste and experience a new tea with friends.

CO Tea Lover said...

Whisper, giggle, the Spring wind
Anticipate thundering heart.
First flush flows through me.

Irina said...

First flush, first sip, first blush
at last, the taste I'm longing for...

Mitra Dunn said...

Thank you for sharing the beautiful bounty with us, Steph. I think I enjoyed all three equally, but for different reasons. The Turzum was delightfully fragrant and naturally sweet, with very little astringency. The lightly floral and green fragrance was present in the aroma of the leaf and the brew and persisted long after the slurps had ended! The dry leaves of the Sungma were simply gorgeous; I found the flavor not to be as layered and lingering as that of Turzum, but the slightly higher astringency level and its vegetal notes were very spring-like and thirst-quenching. And lastly, the bonus Arya: It was interesting to me how it didn’t “look” quite white, at least not according to the range of whites I know, such as White Peony or Silver Needles. I recall that we found only a few “fuzzy” tips, but it was still clearly tippy, refined and processed very little even though its appearance bordered on green. The flavor was mild and buttery, and lasted through 3 infusions impressively well . Thanks again for the tasting, Steph. Simply lovely. And so is your Haiku.

Steph said...

Thank you for the poems, and thank you Marilyn and Mitra, for yoru tasting thoughts!

Teafan said...

I've never tasted
First flush tea so fresh, so true
As what stands here now

La Tea Dah said...

Teas first flush warm,
even the die-hard coffee drinker
wants its fluid amber tranquility.

Quinn said...

Steam flushes my cheeks
As water meets the first tips,
Swirling contentment

Siret said...

Thank you for the nice tea-session!
The haikus are wonderful!
A great idea!
Best wishes, Siret

Zuda Gay Pease said...

I don't think I've ever attempted a Haiku, so this is a first for me.

Life springs up through roots
Come now awaken dear plants
First flush of new birth

Thanks for the opportunity for tea and for stretching my mind a bit.

blessings, Zuda

Joshua Smith said...

Complex fruits, bright gold,
Darjeeling first flush teas are
The true taste of Spring.

David Galli said...

Yeah, that was a really, really nice day, Steph! Thanks for hosting us and sharing your teas (which were some of my favorite Darjeelings ever).

The Turzum was my favorite overall; its balance, aroma, sweetness, and complexity were just awesome! The other two were really interesting as well; the white reminded me quite a bit of some sort of Liu An Gua Pian-ish Chinese green... Very fresh and tasty!

Spring's first dive, head-first
Flushing thought, breath, from body
Breath returns, laughing

David Galli said...

Oh, and your tea plant is beautiful!

The Tea Enthusiast's said...

Hi Steph,

Thanks for sharing! The teas sound wonderful!

I love your tasting cup sets. Absolutely stunning. Did you purchase them from the same tea company?

Thanks for offering a giveaway! Here is my entry:

As I sit in anticipation,
I ponder over the new season.
The first flush holds the secret.

Blessings, Darlene

Steph said...

Thank you, everyone, for the poems! HOW FUN! Thank you, David, for contributing your tea experience.

amherstrose said...

My offering:

Spring beauty greets me.
First flush awakens senses.
Sweet complexity.

Your plant looks happy! Have a beautiful day!

Alen D. said...

Here goes nothing...

Cloud rolls down the mountain
Sun rises with grace
First flush draws to an end

Angela McRae said...

Enjoyed reading about these new teas, and yes, my own tea plant is flourishing with new growth right now! (Having won some of your teas not long ago, I'll sit out this giveaway -- I don't want to get greedy!)

Anonymous said...

Roses are red,
tea is green,
first flush is here,
Don't be mean.