Review: JING Tea Darjeeling First Flush Supreme

Black Tea, Darjeeling Tea, JING Tea, Single Estate Tea Add comments
Sophie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"Thirst-quenching, complex and engaging, this is quite possibly the best first flush I've had. Delicious!"
Sophie’s Teaview: 8.9/10
Other Teaviews: Vanessa gave it 7/10
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This is my first time trying a tea from the famed Okayti Estate. It's located at an elevation between 2700 to 6800 feet, near the border with Nepal. Founded in 1856, it's one of the oldest estates in Darjeeling. Harvested in the Spring 2012, this offering is the first harvest of the season. The leaves are small and broken into a variety of shapes and sizes. Most display vibrant green hues. Taking a sniff, their aroma is generally grassy, with a sweet undertone.

Following Jing's recommended brewing instructions, I steeped a generous teaspoonful of leaves in 8 ounces of freshly boiled water for 3 minutes. The tea is a pale tan colour with a subtle toasted bread scent to it. Taking a sip, the top notes are predominantly fruity, with a hint of honeysuckle and jasmine to them. Malt, grass and baked bread notes also make a more restrained appearance. The finish is more astringent and tannic. Rather than detracting from the enjoyment of the cup, the latter make it more thirst-quenching, complex and engaging. This is quite possibly the best first flush I've had, it's completely delicious!

After 5 minutes, steep number 2 feels rather weak but bitter, not a winning combination in my books. Watery top notes are followed by an astringent grassy finish. The flavour profile fills out a bit as it cools, with more discernible malt and bread notes coming into play, but it also becomes more astringent. I'm thinking this tea is a one trick pony – but oh what a trick!

I also brewed this tea using slightly cooler water (95 degrees Celsius), which produced a less astringent brew and helped bring out the sweeter aspects of the tea. Since the balance of flavours changes dramatically with the temperature of the tea, it's good to experiment with sipping temperatures as well. I preferred this cup on the hotter side of lukewarm. This tea is pricey but a definite must for those who want to get a taste of a tip top first flush. A variety of formats are available, so fortunately you don't have to break the bank to give it a try.

— To purchase JING Tea Darjeeling First Flush Supreme, or for more specific information on ingredients or the story behind this particular tea, click here to go directly to the manufacturer's web site.

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