Sikkim Bermiok Summer Second Flush is a classic Sikkim black tea from an organic plantation located in Bermiok Village in South Sikkim. Grown at an altitude of around 750m using Darjeeling clonal plants, it produces a tea that strikes a fine balance between the lightness of a chalky mineral flavour of Darjeeling and the boldness of a malty Assam taste. This particular batch is the summer Second Flush harvest of 2019 and is sourced by us from the farmer via a specialist wholesaler dealing in teas from small-scale tea productions.
The tea production in Sikkim State is very much dominated by Temi Tea Garden, which is world-famous for producing fantastic quality teas. However there are still small-holders present in the State who grow their own teas, albeit in much smaller quantity. This particular tea comes from a small tea garden located near Bermiok Village. The estate was founded by Bermiok Rinpoche a scion of the distinguished Bermiok Densapa family, who though of an idea of running an organic tea garden back in 2000. In 2003 a small plantation was started that consisted solely of Darjeeling clonal plants. After the plants were given time to grow over a period of around 5 years, small scale tea production only started in 2010-2011 in a micro tea factory at the garden. The garden is fully organic and is managed according to principles of biodiversity. It also employs people from local indigenous tribes to hand pick and hand process these teas.
We work together with a specialist wholesaler from Assam who only works with small scale farmers like this Bermiok Tea Garden. They do not just resell the farmers’ teas but also provide support and financial help to small scale farmers to enable them to produce great quality tea – such as investing into machinery and providing them with knowhow. This guarantees small scale farmers a fair price for their tea and provides investment into their farm to support their family’s future. It also gives local people an opportunity to start their own businesses rather than rely on working for multinational corporations that run the large tea estates in Northern India.
Sikkim Bermiok Second Flush has a smaller tippy leaf that produces a dark amber liquor with a lightly malty and stony aroma. The resulting brew has quite a juicy feel to it, with nicely balanced notes of fruits (prunes) and malt. The flavours have a mineral and stony edge to them with a nice peppery touch. The aftertaste is lightly mineral and a little drying. There is a nice interplay on this tea between characteristic Darjeeling flavours (mineral and stone) with more typically Assam flavours (fruit and malt) showing quite a balanced profile. In this case, however, these flavours do not overpower each other, making for an approachable and drinkable cup. This nod to both styles of the more famous Indian black tea counterparts make this tea from Sikkim rather intriguing and delightful to drink.
It is best brewed at 90°C for 3-4 minutes and can be brewed 2+ times.