A high-grown First Flush Darjeeling grown by the Subarna Tea Co-Operative, a group of just over 100 small farmers near Kalimpong in the east of the Darjeeling district, and processed by the factory at Samabeong Estate.
This tea is a blend of two invoices picked at Subarna this year in early April, later than many other first flush teas due to the high altitude conditions. These conditions slow growth but also leads to more concentration of flavour and aromatic compounds in the leaf once it finally flushes. The leaf is mainly processed whole and intact with a good proportion of buds and then hard-withered to reduce moisture resulting in light oxidisation. It is made solely using AV2, a clonal cultivar famous for its intense aromatic qualities.
This Darjeeling tends towards a modern first flush profile with lots of tropical and citrus fruit notes typical of AV2. Delicate in body with a very long sweet aftertaste and minimal astringency, although labelled a black tea this is actually more reminiscent of some of the best Chinese oolong or white teas.
Best brewed with around 4g per 150ml cup and with water cooled to around 85-90 degrees. It can be made over many infusions.
107 Small Farmers, Subarna Tea Cooperative, Kalimpong, Darjeeling, India
SIZE OF FARMS
1 acre (average)
PLANTS AND PROCESSING
Camellia Sinensis Sinensis, Clonal AV2 cultivars. Spring Blossom EX1 and DJ3. Harvested Spring 2019.
85-90°C, 4g per cup. Wash briefly, 4 infusions.
When the price for their cash crops of black cardamom and ginger slumped, village elder Mr Rai encouraged others to follow his lead and take their tea to the local tea factory for processing. Initially no one would follow him and he spent lonely journeys taking his heavy load of green leaf by pony to the factory. Finally others joined him and now the Subarna community produces some of the finest tea in Darjeeling.