Review: Thunderbolt Sungma SFTGFOP1 China Flowery (First Flush 2012)

Black Tea, Darjeeling Tea, Orange Pekoe Tea, Organic Tea, Single Estate Tea, Thunderbolt Tea Add comments
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Thumbs up!" It is extremely wonderful on a Fall afternoon (which I just woke up to)."
Geoff’s Teaview: 9/10
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Sungma was a new estate to me this year. It was established in the 1860s (like a lot of 'em), and passed through several hands before being picked up by the Jayshree group in 1993. As far as their 2012 batch goes, I've notched off one of their first flushes - another Chinese varietal. It was nice, fruity and dry. So I already had a positive introduction to this estate. The China Flowery was the first of the first flushes - the first invoice out - and that already had me excited.

These leaves were loud and proud Darjeeling - displaying a pungent spice aroma after my initial bag-opening "ceremony". Spiciness, grassiness, sweetness and awesomeness exploded from the bag with aromatic fury. The leaves themselves were first flush to the core in their beautiful, young and vibrant shades of green.

I could've brewed just a sample size of this, but I was in the middle of a weekend wake-up. (I.e. I was foggier than usual.) I ended up brewing an entire pot of this, and treated it as any good Darjeeling should be treated. By...pouring boiled water over the leaves and letting them stew for two-and-a-half minutes. Exact measurements: Roughly 4 tsps. per 32oz. of off-the-boil water for the allotted time.

The liquor brewed green-to-amber with a lightly ginger-lemongrass nose. Taste-wise, it possessed a nutty introduction that transitioned to a sweet artichoke-heart/winy middle, and tapered off to an aftertaste of cream-'n-citrus. This did not taste like a first flush orange pekoe; this tasted like a Darjeeling green. I even had to reexamine the tea profile to make sure. This was the lightest first flush I've ever tasted. Not sure that makes it the best, though. That said, it is extremely wonderful on a Fall afternoon (which I just woke up to).

— To purchase Thunderbolt Sungma SFTGFOP1 China Flowery (First Flush 2012), 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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