Thursday, July 16, 2009
Mail from Darjeeling
A few weeks ago, I received an e-mail that began "Dear Tea Lover ..." Now I am on so many tea vendor mailing lists I almost clicked "Delete" out of habit, but this one continued "Namaste and Greetings from Darjeeling, India!" It was actually a personal e-mail from a gentleman with Thunderbolt Tea in Darjeeling, India, wondering if I would like to receive some samples of their Second Flush Tea. Some tea samples straight from Darjeeling? You bet!
The package arrived at the office this week and I opened it in the presence of someone who would share in my joy, my tea friend (and colleague) Holly. We eagerly tore into the paper packages (she kept me from spilling tea all over my desk), poured the contents into baggies (practical Holly suggested I tape the labels to the bags) and sniffed away. Ahh! This tea smelled so fresh, and something about it reminded me of the scent of the First Flush Tea I got at the Charleston Tea Plantation last year. Interestingly, I thought, Holly found something about one of the tea scents reminiscent of crisp, perfectly-fried okra!
First, I tried the Risheehat Clonal Flowery Second Flush. It had a very full-bodied, rich taste and, perhaps my palate is overly impressed that this particular Darjeeling came straight from the tea plantation, but I absolutely adored it. At home, I prepared the Arya Ruby (Tippy) Second Flush. Again, I enjoyed everything from the appearance of the dry leaf (variegated colors ranging from gray to deepest green), to the wet leaf (full bits of tea leaf swirling in a coppery brew), and of course the delicious taste. Again, this is such an insufficient word to have to use but "fresh" is the one that comes to mind. I also enjoyed looking at the quite educational Thunderbolt Tea web site, and I love that instead of saying a tea is "Sold Out" they make it a positive statement and say "All Sold." I'm so delighted Benoy Thapa of Thunderbolt stumbled across this blog and introduced me to yet another lovely new tea tasting experience!