Tuesday, April 17, 2012

2011 Autumn Flush Gopaldhara Darjeeling

A hearty thanks to DarjeelingTeaXpress for providing me with numerous samples of one of my very favorite (if not my overall favorite) types of tea. For those of you who read this blog, or have read some of my early posts (ahem...this one, this one, and this one), you know what I am about to say. You know how I will talk up Autumnal Flush Darjeeling teas all day, every day, and to every person.

You know how I will talk about their sweet, pumpkin/squash notes and their autumn inspired aromas and flavors. I could go on, but I think you understand my enduring love for Autumnal Flush Darjeelings.

This one, well, threw me a little unexpected difference compared to some of the others in its fine group I have had the pleasure of drinking.

The aroma of the dry leaf was strikingly different than what I had expected!
I sensed caramel, raspberry and cocoa. The dominant scents were the berry tones which smelled bright, tart, and sweet all at the same time.
I am always up for the unexpected.

I smelled the cup,
and I wrote "tangy grape and wheat."

This is a very accurate description of the aroma of the beautiful liquor. The grape notes are associated with the all-too-common muscatel scent that Darjeeling teas tend to produce. The wheat, now, that I am not sure of the origins, but I am not at all upset! This was a new adventure I was willing to take.

The first flavors distinguished were of bright berry and agave nectar. This tea is not complex, as most Autumnals have in common. A light, tart astringency tugged as the tea was swallowed, and left a wheat-y finish.
It is a bit flat, but as I have stated, this is an attribute I expect from an Autumnal.

The second infusion presents citrus (lemon) and mango notes with a very mild astringency.

Even when brewed not in western fashion, the tea hesitates to become overly astringent. This is a fantastic characteristic for a sometimes unfocused brewer (myself...). Also, it really hits home that this is definitely, without a doubt, in fact, a true, honest, down-to-earth, Autumnal Flush Darjeeling (not that I assumed it wasn't, as I trust the vendor).

All in all, pretty splendid tea, although, it will need a few more brews to grow on me I think. It is just very unlike others I have had, not bad! I can tell it is superb quality tea.

Also, it had said on the package that this tea's grade is "Red Thunder." Anyone (vendor perhaps?) care to explain? I am used to the string of letters (SFTGFOP) as a grading scale, not native american names.

I have more samples of Autumn Flush teas I am dying to open up.



  1. I think I read in Camellia Sinensis's tea book that Red Thunder is what this estate calls their autumn flush. **I have loaned my copy out so can not quote exactly. I believe in the book they interview the man who coined the term.

    That would certainly explain the mango flavour, as I too have tasted that and experienced similar.

  2. Tea Fanatic,

    So, "Red Thunder" is more of just the poetic name of the tea, not technically the grade? OR do they grade by flush and not leaf appearance and size?
    I am glad someone else has tasted similar notes! Means my palate is not completely off! ;]

  3. I really can't remember without consulting the book, and won't get my book back until after the weekend. though it may just say the name of the term in the book.

    I think it is specific to this estate, (I've never seen it on any other estates), and I think it has something to do with a slightly different process, maybe after the first frost or something (or I could just be imagining it), or something to do with a fermentation method more similar to an oolong.

    They do grade on flush and leaf appearance/size.

    Was your profile pic taken in Dallas?

  4. Tea Fanatic,

    I may just email the vendor and figure it out once and for all!
    And yes it was taken in Dallas! Were you present at the event?

    1. ha, do let us on the internet know once and for all!

      Nope, but I saw the mariage freres tea tins in the background, and I believe that location is suppose to be one of the largest distributors in North America. Was it an STI event?

  5. Yes that was at the Cultured Cup tea and coffee shop in their tasting room in Dallas. They are one of the only distributors of Mariage Freres outside of France. Apparently it is a long process to be able to distribute it!

  6. From Camellia sinensis' book, Red Thunder is a tea created by M.H.K. Panjikar, manager at Gopaldhara tea estate. As Tea Fanatic remembered, it's what this estate call this tea.

    The same manager created the "Wonder Tea", a Darjeeling oolong, although I've seen it mostly with the acronym WT-x (lot number). This tea is worth trying out.

  7. Guillaume,

    I shall definitely be on the lookout for it! Thank you for the insight!