It was difficult holding on to this sample for so long, but I do prefer to mix up the various types of samples that I have so I do not lose my appreciate for one type by doing a marathon of reviews on teas of the same classification. Today’s review focuses on the Jungpana FTGFOP 1 CL First Flush 2014 Darjeeling tea from the Jungpana Organic Tea Estate, and another thank you for the generosity of Lochan Tea Limited for providing the sample.
As a quick tangent, I have decided for the time being to stop referring to these teas from Darjeeling as black or oolong in the titles of the reviews. I generally believe these teas to be oolongs, since there is obviously only partial oxidation in the leaves, most easily observed in the first flush products. However, these teas are not marketed as oolongs, nor are they necessarily marketed as blacks. In my opinion, Darjeeling teas certainly deserve the distinction that they already have garnered from the tea world. Thus, I am going to simply refer to these teas as “Darjeeling Tea” in the review titles.
Jungpana Organic Tea Estate is located in the Kurseong South Valley of the Darjeeling district of north India. The altitude of the gardens ranges from 400 meters (1,200 feet) to 1,000 meters (3,000 feet) above sea level. The total estate covers about 100 hectares of land, with tea gardens covering about 73 hectares of that land.
The sample packet has been opened, and the silver hairs on the tips and fresh green appearance are very attractive. Let the journey begin…
The dry leaves have a fresh green to dark green color, with very few leaves showing a reddish-brown to black color. There is a generous portion of tips, all covered in very fresh appearing silver hairs. The leaves are lightly rolled, and appear to be mostly medium to large leaf fragments, with the possibility of a few whole leaves, and some of the tips appear to be quite mature. Some pieces have a leaf and bud with the young stem intact. The appearance generally is very fresh and bright, more so than any other first flush product from 2014 that I have reviewed thus far. The aroma is very fresh and floral, having scents of a spring bouquet of flowers, sweet wood, and light molasses. The aroma has an uplifting effect.
Ten grams of dry leaves were placed in an eighteen ounce (530 ml) cast-iron teapot. Purified spring water was heated to 195°F (90°C). The leaves were infused for two minutes thirty seconds with thirty seconds being added to subsequent infusions.
The first infusion produced a liquor with a light, pale golden-yellow color, clear and transparent, with some very fine particles accumulating at the bottom of the cup. The aroma is very fresh, with scents of fresh spring flowers, light grass, light wood, and light honey. The body is medium, with a clean, rounded texture, and a fresh, uplifting energy. The taste has dominant floral notes of fresh spring flowers, and light wood. The aftertaste is floral and lightly woody, with a potent floral essence being left on the breath.
The second infusion produced a liquor with a slightly lighter shade of pale golden-yellow color. Some very fine particles are present in the cup. The aroma is still quite potent, with dominant scents of spring flowers and light wood. The honey and grass scents have dissipated. The body remains medium, and the texture clean. The taste has lightened some, but remains dominantly floral, with light wood notes. The aftertaste remains floral, and the essence has lightened some. There is plenty of character in this second infusion, so I will attempt a third infusion.
A photo is not available of the third infusion. The third infusion produced a liquor with a similar shade of light golden-yellow color as the second infusion. The aroma, body, and taste all lightened significantly, but had enough character to enjoy. The third infusion was a nice light bodied, and modestly floral, making perfect for a post-meal beverage.
The infused leaves had a fresh and light forest green to forest green color, with few leaves having reddish-brown coloring. There are quite a few whole leaves, and the rest of the leaves are medium to large fragments. There is a generous amount of tips, measuring 18 to 25 mm (.75″ to 1″). The leaves and tips appear very fresh, and have a soft yet durable feel. The aroma has scents of flowers, light green cooked vegetable, and sweet grass.
The Jungpana FTGFOP 1 CL First Flush 2014 Darjeeling Tea is a perfect representation of first flush Darjeeling teas. It looks, smells, and tastes incredibly fresh, and has clean, uplifting energy. The floral taste is potent, but not overwhelming. The tea provided two very good infusions, and the third had enough character to be easy to sip if you do not mind a very light taste. I was impressed with this tea from the moment I opened the sample packet, and I am not surprised! Jungpana has been toward the top of my favorite Darjeeling tea estates since I first tried one of their products.
Cheers to Lochan Tea Limited for providing another incredible sample!