I’ve been really busy of late launching my new Polish wine website Winicjatywa, which has now achieved a satisfying cruising speed with 10K UUs and >80K page views monthly, so I’ve finally found time to sit down and enjoy a cup of tea. The following two samples were kindly provided by friends at Five Star Tea on which I’ve blogged here.
Both are Darjeeling teas from the new 2012 spring harvest and as such, are much awaited. The Rohini Clonal shows an unexpectedly hefty character for a first flush tea, with brownish leaves, a peppery flavour, and quite some bitterness in the aftertaste. It is a tea that requires a soft hand in brewing, and is better with short infusion times. It perhaps comes closer to an autumn flush than FF as I understand it, and is slightly lacking fruit in the middle.
The Jungpana FTGFOP1 is a more exciting tea, on the whole. It also is showing more brown colour than green in the dry leaf, but brews a lighter cup with a pleasant light body and a hint of tannic structure. The aromas are more airy and fruity than the Rohini’s, though the two share that similar black peppercorn spicy note. A tea with a nice balance and fairly priced at 7.70€/50g.
This last tea has me thinking, though. Having tasted a horizontal selection of Jungpana my impression of this 2012 is of a pretty coarse, tannic tea for a first flush (and that is reinforced by the Rohini). There is none of the unforgettable finesse and fresh fruit juiciness of a great first flush such as this. Interestingly I had similar feelings at the same time last year, remarking that 2011s were less elegant and coarser than 2010s. Could it be that the growing season was too hot and dry for the classic first flush character to develop? Or is it just the way teas are made: less ‘green’, more black tea-like than has been the fashion for Darjeeling in the last decade? We talk a lot about climate change in wine production so it would be interesting to see how it affects tea, too.
Both teas were received as free tasting samples from Five Star Tea.