Margaret’s Hope First Flush 2018 – The Darjeeling First Flush Season
Actually, we might know the term “First Flush” from India only. However, this doesn’t mean there weren’t any “first flushes” – first spring pickings – anywhere else. Much rather, the first pickings after the winter break enjoy specialty status, wherever tea is grown. The main reason for this is the particular, taste-relevant pattern of active substances in the tea leaf after the “winter break”. For once, picking stops for several months during the cold season in all major tea cultivation countries. But it is not only the picking break that brings the tea plants relief. What adds is that the cool climate soothes the plants and promotes the accumulation of active substances. This applies especially in combination with high humidity and/or fog. In spring then, with rising temperatures and days getting longer, the plant drives these active substances into the young leaves and buds. And this is something… you can taste!
(click picture to enlarge)
Commonly, Darjeeling teas fall into the category of “black tea”. However, the typical “modern” DJ FF doesn’t seem to comply with our idea of a black tea either at first nor at second sight. While the leaf material shows the whole spectrum of colors from green via brown to black, Darjeeling first flushes also form a category of its own regarding taste. And one that has quickly found many friends worldwide.
Margaret’s Hope First Flush 2018 – The Estate / Tea Garden
Margaret’s Hope Tea Estate locates in the northern part of Darjeeling’s Kurseong Valley. There, it stretches across altitudes between 950 and 1830 meters, covering a total areal of 361 hectars. The tea garden’s official establishment, originally under the name “Bara Rington”, dates back to 1867. However, according to some sources, first tea plantings at the southwest bank of the Balsun River reach back to the 1830s even. Anyway, the originally planted China tea bushes are still prevailing at Margaret’s Hope today.
At the the beginning of the 20th century, the tea garden’s operator was a London-based Briton. Mr. Bagdon regularly traveled to Darjeeling, in order to visit his tea garden. Once, in 1927, it happened that his wife and two daugthers accompanied him on such trip. Particularly Margaret, the youngest daughter, immediatly fell in love with the estate and surrounding landscape. When the homeward journey approached, Margaret became very sad. Supposedly, her greatest hope and wish was to be able to once return to this place.
However, fate had other plans. During the the long passage, Margaret fell ill with a severe tropical fever, which she finally succumbed to before the ship even reached England. Henceforth, her father was bowed down with grief over the loss of his youngest daughter. Thus, he started spending even more time on his Darjeeling tea estate, where years later his daughter’s ghost allegedly appeared to him. This vision finally moved him to change the name of the tea garden. In order to erect a memorial stone for his daughter’s greatest wish, “Bara Rington” became “Margaret’s Hope”.
click picture to enlarge
Tea from India at Siam Tea Shop
The sustainable trend to more quality with tea on the western market increasingly bears sweet fruit in India, too. Year after year, the mayor tea estates in Darjeeling and Assam compete for each season’s best “First Flush“, “Second Flush” or “Autumnal”. However, not only quality comes from India at new levels today, but also completely new diversity of India’s tea portfolio. Black tea, for example, the classic of Indian teas, suddenly comes around in the most diverse appearances. The spectrum reaches from the modern, flowery first flush to full-bodied, dark roast second flushes to earthy and malty “autumnals”. One example for a first flush perfectly combining modern first flush processing with the classic features of a Darjeeling tea is our representing India’s newly defined quality approach is our Margaret’s Hope First Flush 2018 FTGFOP1 HS.
The Indian First Flush Season
Even though we might know the term “First Flush” only from India, this doesn’t mean there weren’t any “first flushes” – first spring pickings – anywhere else. Much rather, the first pickings after the winter break enjoys specialty status, wherever tea is grown. Themain reason for this is the particular, taste-relevant pattern of active substances in the tea leaf after the “winter break”. In fact, picking is put on hold during the cold season for several months in all major tea cultivation countries. But it is not only the picking break that brings the tea plants relief. What adds, is that the cool climate – especially in combination with hig humidity and/or fog – soothes the plants and promotes the accumulation of active substances. In spring then, with rising temperatures and days getting longer, the plant drives these active substances into the young leaves and buds. And this is something… you can taste!
Margaret’s Hope First Flush 2018 FTGFOP1 HS
Margaret’s Hope First Flush 2018 FTGFOP1 HS is the highest leaf and quality grade of the first spring picking at Margaret’s Hope tea estate, Darjeeling, India. At this, “highest leaf grade” means “whole leaf” of best picking standard. For a Darjeeling tea, the best picking standard is always a “2+1” handpicking standard. This means, only the young spring bud along with the 2 adjacent youngest leaves at the end of each branch qualify for picking. “Highest quality grade”, on the other hand, combines properties such as the selection of the picked cultivar, specific patches in the tea garden, and high processing excellence.
Margaret’s Hope estate’s first picking asserts a range of the tea garden’s individual characteristics particularly well. Accordingly, the tea’s floral sprightliness reflects the estate’s prominent altitude. Likewise, the mineral-rich soils are mirrored in the tea’s complex earthy notes. To this, the Darjeeling sun adds the e sweetness no beverage that popular could possibly do without… And the exceptional year 2018 – after a cool winter with rich downpoor and temporarily snow-covered tea gardens a year of the years for Darjeeling teas – does one more thing to establish this year’s Margaret’s Hope First Flush as a particularly precious tea specialty!
Margaret’s Hope First Flush 2017 –Preparation
As a standard, pour 200ml water of a temperature of 90°C – 100°C over 4g Margaret’s Hope First Flush 2018 FTGFOP1 HS. Then let infuse for 3-5 minutes for a most delicious first infusion. After another 3-5 minutes infusion of the leaf material, a full-value second infusion emerges that falls back only little behind the first one.
For more “First Flushes” from Darjeeling and Bihar at Siam Tea Shop, check here:
Indian First Flush teas @ Siam Tea Shop