Next Business Day Delivery, Mon - Fri From £4.95

We Also Ship Worldwide

Shop Now To Get A Shipping Quote!

Spring Teas

Many of the world's finest teas are produced over the next couple of months, as we enter into Spring. We start to receive samples from the cold mountains of China, Darjeeling, Taiwan and Japan from now until the end of April and decide what we will buy for the coming 2014/15 season. darjeelingSpring teas are usually light bodied, fresh but with an intense amount of flavour and fragrance. I love tasting the teas as they arrive fresh off the bush but I would have to say that all of them taste significantly better when they have matured for a while. Nowadays it is possible to have these teas ready for sale in the shop just a few days after they are made and I like the 'Beaujolais Nouveau' buzz that engages the tea world for a few weeks. Like many merchants, over the years we have had special chests flown around the world at considerable expense, just to say that we have the first tea of the year. I don't like to spoil the fun, and I'm normally very impatient but I always say to my discerning customers to wait until the fuss has died down and then get twice the tea for half the price! One of the many conflicts of commerce and customer service :). That said I have a special hand made First Flush tea coming from Puttabong Garden in Darjeeling that's well worth the price tag. Puttabong teas grow at higher altitude than many Darjeeling gardens so produce their teas later, with this slow growth allowing for the development of finer flavours. This tea has golden-yellow infusion and is highly aromatic, even in the dry leaf state. It has a smooth, complex floral character with a fresh baked biscuit quality. The lively infusion sparkles and bursts with flavour in the mouth  at once sweet, vanilla like and floral. Both fruit, particularly apple, and almond can be picked out. It has a mild astringency that leaves the tongue with a sweet aftertaste. All in all like a welcome burst of gentle Spring sunshine. Some gardens are already on invoice 30 whilst Puttabong is on DJ1. Some things are worth the wait.

An invoice in Darjeeling is a picking of tea, usually between 5-10 packets, made on one day. This will start with DJ1, the first tea of the year, which in lower altitude gardens can be as early as late February. The better tea though comes from gardens almost a mile above sea level and these will start a month later. So whilst lower gardens have produced 30 invoices or lots, Puttabong for example has only started on the first. They never catch up with each other. Each invoice can be quite different as it will come from a different part of the garden so the hard thing is knowing when to jump on something as you always wonder if there's better to come! It isn't really a headache anymore as the garden managers know me well now and also know through their deep understanding of the factors involved how good tea will get in that season. That way I'm guaranteed the peak of the crop. Last year I had invoice DJ6 from Puttabong and this year, a milder Spring, I have DJ3. The best teas are usually from these early invoices from the last gardens to start production. It's a bit annoying when you see other vendors flogging an over priced poor tea with invoice DJ1 a month earlier than you but facing that choice I'd rather drink a 2013 tea of distinction than a poor 2014. As I said before it's trying to keep my integrity and hopefully persuading enough people to wait for the good stuff without missing the boat!

Leave a Reply

Please wait...


{{var product.name}} was added to your cart

Continue shopping
View cart & checkout
Continue shopping
View cart & checkout