Our first 2012 China teas have arrived!

March 30, 2012

Yesterday the delivery man lugged 5 large boxes of tea into the store. When he asked us what was in them, and we said TEA he looked unimpressed. I didn’t have the heart to tell him how many more of these boxes he will be bringing us in the next few weeks.

So, now, finally, the long winter wait is over! The China spring tea harvest is beginning in earnest.

In Western China teas from Yunnan and Sichuan Provinces are coming to market quickly and in great abundance. Eastern China tea regions are beginning to buzz with energy as the demands of the harvest increase each day.

Our first teas to arrive again this year are from Yunnan. Our ever-popular, fresh, sweet-tasting,and slender Yunnan Spring Buds are back (did I mention reasonably priced ? ) and this year we will have a sweet, flavorsome modern-style Yunnan Bai Mudan white tea once again. This is one of the prettiest we have ever had, and something delicious for the fans of last year’s Yue Guang Bai. We have missed this tea so it is good to have it back again.We expect our first shipments of eastern China green teas about April 5th, or early the following week. All will be pre-Qing Ming teas (early harvest teas that have been picked before April 5th).

Watch for:

  • Longjing: Meijiawu Village, Xi Hu Region
  • Longjing: Xin Chang County
  • Fo Cha
  • early Fujian whites
  •  Gan Lu
  • Mengding Mountain Huang Ya (our stone-sweet, mineraly, sensational yellow tea from Sichuan)

And, our first shipments of 2012 1st Flush Darjeelings should be in the store by the tax day!

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 FTGOP1 Clonal

2009 1st Flush Darjeeling Goomtee FTGFOP1 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.

Spring 2008 Tea from China & Japan

  

After much anticipation, we are thrilled to say that our air shipments of freshly plucked, early spring 2008 green teas have arrived from China and Japan.

In Asia, the spring green tea harvet kicks off the beginning of a new season of tea production. These teas possess sweet, mouth-filling flavors that are influenced by the specific terroir ( the essence of the soil, rocks, rains, late spring snow, clouds & mist, etc. ) of the place where they grow.

In China, spring green teas from high mountain elevations such as these teas are only plucked for a short season of about 6 weeks. During this time the developing leaf on the tea bushes is small and tender. But soon it will grow larger and by June will be classified as summer tea.

In Japan, the first tea of the new season is called Shincha. The tiny leaves and buds of Shincha are only plucked for a short 10-or so day period before they grow too large to be so classified. Shincha is intensely aromatic and vegetal, and in a class by itself. Each spring, Japanese tea lovers eagerly await the arrival of Shincha in the tea shops throughout Japan. It is a time for celebrating the new tea season and for enjoying the flavor of the first tea of the new year.

Those of us living in the West do not often have the chance to experience new tea this fresh. So this is a wonderful opportunity for you to become familiar with such splendid teas. We have a limited quantity of these teas – you won’t want to miss out.

  • Sichuan, China

Mending Mt. Clouds & Mist

Mengding Mt. Sweet Dew

Mt. Emei Bamboo Tip

  • Zhejiang, Chjina

Bamboo Sea Tea

  • Shizuoka, Japan

Hashiri Shincha

Please vist our website – http://www.cooksshophere.com/products/tea/green/2008_swsp_grn_tea.htm – to read more about each of these extraordindary teas and to place your order.

Note: we have been told by our sources in China that these teas from Sichuan province were in transit before the devastating earthquake occured in that region of China. Since then, the problems caused by broken, impassible roads will mean that transportation of goods out of Sichuan will be cut to a trickle. Further supplies of tea will be delayed for perhaps as long as several months. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of this region of Sichuan whose lives have been so devastated.

Everest Tea

Two years ago we met Mr. Son Gauchan, a tea grower from Nepal, and had the opportunity to taste his hand-rolled, orthodox black tea named Everest Tea. Grown at an elevation of nearly 6,000 feet in tea gardens that lie south of the hallowed terrain of lofty Mt. Everest, this tea has a worthy pedigree that few teas can claim.

When he held out a handful of these tea leaves for us to examine, we were immediately seduced by the appearance of his tea. The leaves were extremely long and very fine and ever so slightly twisted. This tea was clearly in a class by itself – as big fans of Nepal tea we immediately knew that we were looking at a finished tea that was in a class of its own.

This tea was stylish and beautiful – a sign of careful plucking, controlled manufacture and gentle handling. But our Chinese tea mentors have always warned us to not fall under the spell of a pretty face, or in this case, a pretty tea. So we asked to have a taste.

It’s hard for us to hide our feelings about tea when we cup it – especially when the tea proves to be as good as or better than we hoped. The Everest Tea did not disappoint, and in fact, it proved to have the classic expression of flavor one expects from the influence of high altitude and slow maturation that is the mark of terroir for tea grown in the thin, rarified air of the majestic Himalaya.

Needless to say, this year, after meeting Mr. Gauchon again and tasting his Everest Tea once more, we took the plunge and ordered a batch of his tea to be sent directly to us. We are thrilled to say that this tea has just arrived, and we are proud to be able to offer you this world class tea from the ‘rooftop of the world’.

Often compared to a fine Darjeeling tea from the neighboring Darjeeling tea region in West Bengal, India, Nepal black teas are  prized for their consistently good, easy-to-drink flavor. Our Everest Tea possesses a distinctive, clean, slightly spicy, fresh flavor that is singularly quite appealing. This tea has not been given a hard oxidation, so the aroma is pure, direct and stunningly fresh.

Please visit us at www.CooksShopHere.com and follow the link on our homepage to Everest Tea. This tea is one of the must have tea gifts of the upcoming Holiday Season for those who have been very, very good.