Today’s review will focus on the FTGFOP1 Clonal 2nd Flush 2014 Organic Darjeeling Tea from the Jungpana Tea Estate, located in the Kurseong South Valley of the Darjeeling region of India. This sample was provided by Lochan Tea.
There is plenty of good information on the homepage of Jungpana Tea Estate, but it was the information about the Mahalderam Tea Estate, which is the high altitude division of Jungpana, that really caught my attention. As if altitudes of over 6,000 feet is not enough to please a tea enthusiast, Mahalderam and Jungpana have developed an interesting technique to getting the fresh leaves from the Mahalderam Estate to the Jungpana factory. The Mahalderam Estate is a three hour journey by road from the Jungpana factory. Needless to say that the fresh picked tea leaves from Mahalderam would lose some freshness and quality during that three hour ride. Considering the high quality of the leaves growing at such high altitudes, it is definitely a sad thought that the leaves would lose some quality before processing could even begin. The solution to this problem is a cost efficient, simple, and practical zip line! This zip line starts in the Mahalderam Estate, at an altitude of 6,000 feet, and descends 3,000 feet down the hillside where the zip line ends near the Jungpana factory. The leaves are now transported from Mahalderam to Jungpana in six minutes! Cheers to the person who came up with that plan.
The sample packet has been opened, and the highly attractive scent that I have come to expect from Jungpana teas is easily recognizable. Let the journey begin…
The dry leaves have a fairly uniform dark reddish brown to dark brown color, with some silver bud fragments. The leaves and buds are all medium sized fragments. There are some bare stems in the mix. The leaves are machine rolled, and have a fairly consistent size and shape. The leaves are quite dry, and crack easily into coarse crumbs. The smell has scents of roses, dried grapes, dark cocoa, sweet wood, honey, and a light spice.
Three grams of dry leaves were placed in a five ounce (150 ml) porcelain infusion cup. Purified water was heated to 205°F (96°C). The leaves were infused for 4:00 minutes.
My suggestion for at home preparation is to use three grams of dry leaves for every six to eight ounces (180 to 240 ml) of water to be used. Heat water to 205°F (96°C). Steep the leaves for 3:00 to 4:00 minutes. Expect two infusions out of the same serving of leaves, and expect the second infusion to be significantly lighter than the first, but still worth drinking. Add 1:00 minute to the second infusion steep time.
The first infusion produced a liquor with a beautiful reddish-orange color, clear and transparent. The aroma has scents of roses, grapes, honey, caramel, fresh cut wood, cinnamon, cardamom, and a touch of stewed apricot. The body is medium-full, with a brisk character, and a lively and clean mouth feel. The taste has notes of roses, grapes, honey, cinnamon, stewed apricot, caramel, fresh cut wood, and black pepper. The spicy and floral notes are carried into the aftertaste, and a sweet, slightly floral essence is left on the breath.
The infused leaves have a fairly uniform greenish-brown to light copper brown color. The leaves and buds are all medium sized fragments. The leaves are a fairly uniform shape and size, and certainly come from a Chinese clonal tea bush. The leaves have a soft, smooth, delicate texture. The smell carries scents of roses, grapes, cardamom, honey, and fresh cut wood.
I am quite impressed by the number of flavor notes that could be identified in the FTGFOP1 Clonal 2nd Flush 2014 Organic Darjeeling Tea from the Jungpana Tea Estate. In addition to the aroma and flavors, the color of the liquor was very inviting, and the liquor had a brisk character that gave a spark of energy and enthusiasm from the first sip. The flavor had a great balance of sweet, floral, and spicy notes. This tea definitely lives up to the high quality experience that I have come to expect from the Jungpana Tea Estate. The fact that the estate is organic simply makes this tea, and others from Jungpana, all the more attractive.
Thank you again to the Lochan family at Lochan Tea for providing this sample of Jungpana FTGFOP1 Clonal 2nd Flush 2014 Organic Darjeeling Tea! Cheers!