This new 2022 batch is a little different to the previous version from 2020, featuring a fuller taste that is perhaps less Darjeeling in flavour. For fans of classic First Flush Darjeeling, please be aware that this tea delivers quite a different experience as it is less floral and mineral. However it has an excellent flavour, closer to a fine Chinese Hongcha in taste.
Darjeeling Mandal Gaon First Flush is a very fine, handmade Darjeeling from a small tea estate run by Mr Buddhasingh and his family to organic standards. Picked on 5 April 2022, this tea has a beautifully neat, tippy, semi-oxidised, large leaf. This tea from Mandal Gaon is also known as ‘Ramro Cha’. It produces a balanced yet complex liqour that is both typical of Darjeeling while being quite different!
Mr Buddhasingh has a tea plantation that produces small amounts of organically grown tea from some 8,000 bushes. It is located at an altitude of around 1,650m (5,500 ft) above sea level, in the Himalayan mountain slopes. As common with many local small farmers, the leaves from this tea garden would originally have been sold to larger tea factories. Mr Buddhasingh has recently built a micro tea factory in 2016 and has started producing fine artisanal Darjeeling teas. While an organic certification is financially out of reach for the time being, the teas grown at Mandal Gaon are grown and produced to organic standards.
We work together with a specialist wholesaler in India who only works with small scale farmers like Mr Buddhasingh. Their main focus area is in Assam, but they also work with Mandal Gaon in Darjeeling. 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.
This Darjeeling Mandal Gaon First Flush has very neat, hand-processed leaves that exhibit medium oxidation. The character created is very Darjeeling, yet different. The leaves look rather beautiful when brewed, with a wide gamut of mostly darker green, yellow and bronze colours. The leaves are rather large for Darjeeling and are the result of careful hand processing. The bright golden orange liquor has a lightly fruity aroma. The flavours are particularly smooth, with a zesty profile featuring tangy, fruity and malty notes that are lightly creamy, sweet and floral. There is also a touch of smokiness that makes it particularly interesting. There is a pleasant amount of dryness on the aftertaste but no astringency. It is rather finely balanced, with no overpowering mineral or floral perfumed notes that many First Flush Darjeeling teas are known for. This is an expertly crafted tea that will appeal to both fans and sceptics of classic First Flush Darjeeling teas.
We suggest brewing parameters of 90°C for 3 minutes according to your taste, brewing multiple times.