2012 1st Flush Darjeeling teas have Arrived!

This post will be brief – just enough information to say that many new 2012 spring teas have arrived this week.

As many of you know, we will be re-locating our shop here in Northampton at the end of the month, so we are madly juggling many balls in the air now (the painter, the sign maker, the cabinet maker, the electrician, the movers, etc) while we keep the shop running in our present location for the next few weeks.

Because the start of the tea season in eastern China and Darjeeling, India was delayed due to weather issues this year, all of our tea that should have arrived a few weeks ago is arriving now and screaming for attention.

The following is a listing of new teas are on the website – some without copy or pictures. These bits of information will come soon.

Here Now!

  • China Black tea: Bai Lin Gong Fu; Jingdong Wuliang Golden Threads
  • China Green tea:  Dragon Whiskers, Tianmu Spring Beauty
  • China White Tea: Bai Mudan, Fuding Wild-Curly Leaf
  • Darjeeling 2012 1st Flush tea: Castleton Garden; Goomtee Estate; Maikaibari Estate; Margaret’s Hope Estate

Tea that is enroute to us from 2012:

  • Fenghuang Dan Cong Black; Fenghuang Dan Cong Milan; Fo Cha; White Hair Monkey; Yin Zhen
  • Mengding Mountain Snowbuds
  • Taiwan Gao Shan & Semiball Rolled Oolongs

And, we will augment our excellent selection of sheng and shou Pu-erh ( cake and loose leaf ) with some DARK TEA: Lio Bao & Hunan Hei Cha – several choices in loose leaf and compressed leaf!

Spring is such a great time for tea!

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Update on the Embargo of Darjeeling Tea

March 31, 2011

Last week I spoke too soon about the end of the tea embargo. Yesterday, March 30th, it was reported in USA news that the embargo was in force once again as discussions continued to break down and the tea remained held captive. Today I learned that the embargo has been lifted on tea from the 63 tea gardens that are members of the Darjeeling Tea Association.

Just this morning I learned that the embargo of the tea has been lifted once again and that the tea will begin moving from the tea gardens. Our 1st flush Darjeeling tea samples are expected to leave India on Friday. Clearly this is still a very volatile situation and we have our fingers crossed for a good outcome for the tea workers as well as the tea gardens owners.

Read the latest reported news from the Calcutta India Telegraph:

http://www.telegraphindia.com/1110330/jsp/siliguri/story_13784077.jsp

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March 23, 2011

Just as I was about to publish this post, I found out that the embargo has been lifted and the dispatch of tea is beginning. Happily, our tea samples will be on the way in a day or two. Which means that we should have our first-of-the-year Darjeeling teas in early March, which is right about on schedule. I thought that I would post the story anyway, for its information and context.

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Embargo in Darjeeling Prevents 1st Flush Tea from Leaving India

In the Darjeeling tea producing region of West Bengal, the GJMM (Gorkha JanMukti Morcha), a majority party in the hilltown of Darjeeling is supporting a charter of worker demands over wages, housing and fuel issues and medical benefits. As a result, and until the demands are negotiated and settled, the GJMM is disrupting the dispatch of newly made 1st flush Darjeeling tea.

Essentially, the newly-made 1st flush spring teas are being blocked from leaving the 80-plus Darjeeling tea factories, a move that could be financially crippling to the already shaky financial situation of many tea factories in Darjeeling. The wage demands by the GJMM are asking for a nearly doubling of the workers pay, a sum which many of the tea gardens are not financially able to meet. Thousands upon thousands of tea workers are needed to meet the seasonal demands of the tea harvest in these tea factories over the course of three seasons, and not all of the tea produced fetches the high price that 1st flush Darjeeling tea commands.

The majority of voters in the hills are tea garden workers as well as members of the GJMM. The prevailing belief is that the GJMM has taken this position in order to try and secure three Assembly seats in the hills when voters go to the polls on April 1st. By taking this position the GJMM would gain new members in the Darjeeling hills as well as in neighboring tea producing regins of the Dooars and Terai.

Tea gardens owners are pleading for the tea to be released and for talks to resume after the release of the tea. The tea gardens fear that the 1st flush teas from neighboring Nepal will be used by tea companies around the world to replace Darjeeling teas in their tea blends. As of March 17th, no further progress has been made in this situation.

For us here at Tea Trekker, we will proceed with our orders for 1st flush Darjeelings ( and 1st flush Nepal teas, too ) and take delivery of these teas as they become available. We do not need to contract for, or cancel and adjust for, our Darjeeling 1st flush teas because we offer them straight and un-blended. We trust that negotiations will bring tea parties to a middle ground and that the strike will not cripple the gardens ability to function.

http://www.telegraphindia.com/1110318/jsp/siliguri/story_13731323.jsp

2009 1st Flush Darjeeling teas are here !

100% authentic and pure

100% authentic and pure

Pity our poor befuddled delivery man today when our Darjeeling teas arrived. He labored under the heft of the boxes, only to look at us with a very bewildered expression on his face when he inquired about what was in the boxes. ” Tea ? ” he asked. You mean lots and lots of those little teabags can weigh that much ? ” Well, not exactly…….

We’ re talking real tea, and some of the world’s most delicious at that.

Considered the Champagne of Tea, Darjeeling tea is beloved worldwide for its smooth, rich muscatel flavor and fine bouquet. These famous tea gardens are located in the lofty Himalaya of West Bengal in Northern India.

The flavor of Darjeeling tea benefits from the mist-shrouded environment of the tea gardens and the slow maturity that cool, high-altitude locations provide. The first tea gardens were planted here with Camellia sinensis sinensis (100% China bush), but today modern Darjeeling tea gardens rely on Camellia sinensis Assamica and locally developed clonal hybrid tea bushes.

1st Flush Darjeeling teas are the first teas plucked each spring – and they command the highest prices of the crop year. Spring is the peak time for new leaf growth and the most delicious teas. Plucking begins during the end of February and continues until mid-April.

These teas are highly sought after each year by discerning tea enthusiasts worldwide. The exceptional quality of 1st Flush Darjeeling teas has led to record breaking prices every year.

We tasted a quantity of samples this spring as soon as the tea made and the samples reached us. We chose the following tea from two premier estates because we thought that they each were a notable example of the different style and flavor characteristics that well-made Darjeelings exhibit. More than most, these teas are true reflections of their terroir, and in a place like Darjeeling, that is always a good calling-card.

2009 1st Flush Darjeeling Goomtee FTGOP 1 Clonal

2009 1st Flush Darjeeling Goomtee FTGFOP 1 Clonal

The 2009 Goomtee First Flush exhibits an abundance of the fresh, lively, “green” flavor notes so popular in Europe, especially Germany & France. A perfect example of a ‘modern-style’ Darjeeling First Flush, this year’s Goomtee is deliciously bright and assertive; dry, with a crisp finish.

The Goomtee Tea Estate is located in the Kurseong (the land of orchids) Valley of Darjeeling at an altitude ranging from 3,280 –6.561 feet. The garden is ideally situated for the production of quality Darjeeling tea. It is located in the prime quality tea belt between the tea estates of Jungpana to the East and Makaibari and Castleton to the West.

The weather in Goomtee Estate is perfect for growing tea: the temperatures are cool to moderate and rainfall is generous. As a result it helps the garden produce some of the most aromatic teas ever produced in Darjeeling.

2009 1st flush Jungpana SFTGFOP1

2009 1st Flush Jungpana SFTGFOP1

The 2009 Jungpana First Flush is a classic muscatel-type Darjeeling. Showing little of the modern-style ‘green’ leaf that is currently en vogue, this year’s Jungpana First Flush has a classic style and depth of flavor that we haven’t seen in a First Flush Darjeeling in quite a few years. From one of the premier Darjeeling gardens, this tea is superb.

The Jungpana Tea Estate is situated near the famous town of Darjeeling. The tea gardens have an excellent location and altitude; they lie at 3,000 – 4500 ft and are blessed with a nurturing south-facing orientation. The exceptional quality of tea produced at this estate is derived almost exclusively from China bush leaf.

To consistently produce some of the finest Darjeeling in the world for over a century, the management at Jungpana plucks only the most delicate of leaves. They have mastered the intricacies of manufacture, and make quality a fetish. The Jungpana Estate was planted by the British, then owned initially by the Scotland based Duncan Brothers. Later, it was owned by the Ranas of Nepal and thereafter has been with the Kejriwal family for more than five decades.

To order, please  go to: http://www.teatrekker.com/main.htm