1st Flush Darjeeling Tea Description:
Our 2019 1st Flush Darjeeling black tea is from Gopaldhara Estate, India. This 1st Flush, FTGFOP (Fine Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe) tea comes from the Darjeeling region of India, a narrow state in the north and east of the country almost entirely surrounded by Nepal, China, and Bhutan.
This tea is a classic handmade first flush Darjeeling, harvested and produced in mid-March before heavy rains that come later in the year. It features a wonderful floral and grassy aroma and taste accompanied with slight astringency and complex flavors. Like other Darjeeling tea, our 1st Flush is produced using a a process that doesn't completely or evenly oxidize the leaf. It's technically closer to an oolong, given the moderate oxidation, but the technique used in Darjeeling produces a very colorful tea by comparison to the uniform coloration typical of most other teas.
Gopaldhara Estate has been producing top quality Darjeeling Tea since 1955. Located right on the border with Nepal, our First Flush Darjeeling comes from clonal tea plants growing between 5,500 ft and 7,000 ft in elevation.
We consider this to be a connoisseur tea as it is produced in small quantities, by hand, from a single season and estate.
Indian Black Tea
Gopaldhara Estate Significance
Gopaldhara Estate lays claim as one of the highest tea estates in the famous Darjeeling region of India, situated in somewhat of an odd location bordered tightly by Nepal, Bhutan, and Bangladesh. The tea itself is grown at an elevation of 6,000 to 7,000 feet above sea level with cool to moderate temperatures and ample rainfall; conditions considered outstanding for developing the flavor of teas. Gopaldhara Estate itself has been producing teas since the 1950’s.
Darjeeling Tea Significance
Darjeeling was the first tea in India to be protected under Geographic Identification (GI), which didn’t happen until 2011. This protection allows India the right to force other governments to protect the Darjeeling name and product within their borders, which is quite difficult without the GI. It is estimated that just before awarding the GI, there was almost 3 times more Darjeeling tea on the market than is actually produced in Darjeeling each year. This tea fetches a price per pound almost fifty percent higher than Assam and Nilgiri and can rival the price per pound of some well-known Chinese teas.
By protecting this tea, the Indian government not only ensures that the quality of the tea locally grown meets the definition of a Darjeeling but that it can stop tea being grown and manufactured outside of this area from being marketed as Darjeeling.
In order to get the Geographic Identification, the India Tea Board had to develop a definition of what makes a tea a Darjeeling tea. It is defined as “Tea either currently being or having been cultivated, grown or produced in one of the 87 tea gardens in the defined geographic area of Darjeeling as determined by the India Tea Board, as well as processed and manufactured in a factory located in the defined geographic area. When tested by expert tea tasters, it is determined to have the distinctive and naturally occurring organoleptic characteristics of taste, aroma, and mouth feel, typical of tea cultivated, grown and produced in the region of Darjeeling, India.”
By creating the definition, the India Tea Board can license and monitor all stages of Darjeeling tea production to ensure quality and compliance with their certification. As a consumer of the tea, it makes it simple to know if I am getting an authentic Darjeeling through the logo that is put on every pound of Darjeeling leaving the area for consumption. The Tea Board is currently working with outside firms to automate as much of the oversight as possible, and through doing so, making it easier for the Tea Board to pursue counterfeiters and get their products off the market or labeled more clearly. This ultimate helps to protect the growers and producers of Darjeeling by allowing the tea price to keep increasing as demand outstrips supply.
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- Step 1:
- Preheat mug with boiling water, discard and refill.
- Step 2:
- Steep 2 flat tsp or 3-4 grams of tea per 8 oz of water.
- Step 3:
- Steep for 3-5 minutes as desired. Experiment with slightly cooler water or shorter steeping times. Try one additional steeping if desired.