Our Smallholder First Flush Darjeeling is a modern tea even as its oxidation level is reminiscent of older style first flush Darjeeling teas. The tea steeps sweet and smooth with notes of wild flowers and dried fruit.
This tea is an example of what could have never happened more than a couple of decades ago. The tea was handmade by a small landowner in the foothills of Darjeeling (altitude 5500 ft). It is entirely agrochemical free. Its production was deeply influenced by Chinese oolong style techniques and as such really capitalizes on the fruity, muscatel aromas of the Darjeeling leaf. This batch is fully oxidized, which is quite unusual for first flush Darjeelings, as modern first flush Darjeelings are often very green and are only really classified as 'black' teas by tradition (as opposed to what they are which is a kind of semi-oxidized tea).
In the past, small landholders (in contrast to large, massively capitalized tea estates) who grew tea had little choice but to sell their harvest to nearby tea factories. This gave them very little control over the price they got for their leaves, regardless of the quality and care that went into them. Most smallholders don't have enough capital or tea production training to set up a tea processing plant on their property. This is starting to slowly change in some tea producing areas of India. Equally exciting is the development of new tea production methods that are outside the scope of the standard highly mechanized methods that are the legacy of the colonial foundations of Indian tea.
Harvested May 2019 from AV2 Clonals.