Rare and Seasonal Teas
Each time of the year, teas bring a unique symphony of flavours, aromas and experiences to tea enthusiasts. Let the discovery of seasonal teas transport you on a sensory journey through the seasons. In this blog, we shall take a closer look at the First Flush Darjeeling and the Dong Pian Oolong.
First Flush Darjeeling - The Champagne of Teas
The Darjeeling region is a tapestry of elevated, mist-laden hills that offer a nurturing terrain complemented by abundant rainfall. Within this environment, a brief window of opportunity emerges during early spring when the harvest of First Flush Darjeeling takes place. We shall explore the unique characteristics of First Flush Darjeeling and why it deserves its prestigious title.
What is First Flush Darjeeling?
''First Flush'' refers to the careful plucking of the sprouting two leaves and a bud during the earliest phase of spring growth. These leaves yield a delicate and tender quality, resulting in a flavour profile that boasts light floral notes, accompanied by a brisk and invigorating astringency. Only available for a relatively short period each year, usually during spring, this limited availability makes them highly coveted by tea connoisseurs. The distinct flavours and limited seasonal availability that define First Flush Darjeeling tea are a result of its extraordinary terroir and its exclusive harvest.
The Elegance of First Flush Darjeeling
This unique tea is often characterized by its floral aromas and notes hinting at newly sprouted leaves, which add layers of complexity with each sip.
To fully appreciate First Flush Darjeeling, it is important to prepare it with care.
- Use water just below boiling point, around 96-98°C
- Allow the tea leaves to steep in 200ml of water for a minimum of 2 minutes
- Serve the teas straight up, without the need for milk or sugar
A Journey Worth Taking
The exceptional nature of the First Flush Darjeeling positions itself among the most coveted selections available. This exclusivity has led tea aficionados to regard this harvest from the Darjeeling region as the ''Champagne'' among teas. As you sip this remarkable tea, you will embark on a sensory journey through spring in every cup.
Dong Pian Oolong - 冬片乌龙
Originating from Taiwan’s tea-growing regions in Nantou County, the name “Dong Pian” translates to “winter sprout”, reflecting the special time of the year when the tea leaves are harvested. Unlike traditional oolong teas, Dong Pian Oolong is picked during winter, typically between December and February. This late harvest imparts a unique character to the oolong, which makes it stand out from other oolongs.
The Art of Cultivating & Harvesting Dong Pian
The cultivation of Dong Pian Oolong requires a great deal of patience and precision, where only the most tender and young leaves are selected for plucking. The tea bushes experience a slower growth rate in the winter season, attributed to the cooler temperatures and diminished sunlight. This allows the tea leaves to accumulate more nutrients from the soil, resulting in a tea that boasts a rich and vibrant taste.
After being harvested, the leaves undergo a crafting process that combines traditional techniques with modern innovations. The leaves are withered, bruised and oxidized to varying degrees to achieve the desired flavour profile. Dong Pian Oolong is lightly oxidized, resulting in its distinct taste that is floral and fruity taste.
Tranquillity in a Cup
Savouring a cup of Dong Pian Oolong tea is a truly gratifying experience. As you steep the tightly rolled tea leaves, they slowly unfurl, revealing their vibrant colour and aroma. The resulting liquor, with its golden hue, envelopes your palate with a mellow floral-like sweetness and fruity notes of apples, making each sip a memorable one. Dong Pian Oolong's versatility shines through its ability to be steeped multiple times. Each infusion reveals new layers of complexity, offering a unique taste journey that evolves with each cup.
Embrace the season's tranquillity and explore the rare beauty of Dong Pian Oolong now. With its distinctive flavour profile, this tea is a testament to the art of tea brewing.