- Sold Out for 2021 - 2021 Darjeeling 1st Flush Giddapahar Tea Estate 'Early Wonder' black tea

Darjeeling 2021 1st Flush Giddapahar Tea Estate ‘Early Wonder’


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Black Tea


Darjeeling Giddapahar Tea Estate
2021 1st Flush ‘Early Wonder’


Manufacture:  Orthodox


Cultivar: mixed tea bush varietals
Oxidation: very short, fairly-oxidized black tea
Wither: long wither


Appearance:  modern-style 1st Flush Darjeeling leaf with a beautifully mottled coloration
Flavor: biscuit, dry wood, and raisin-y, with little astringency
Aroma: cacao, melon rind, and dried wood bark
Liquor: light-to-medium amber liquor


Darjeeling District, West Bengal State, India
100% Pure, Un-blended Darjeeling tea

Early Wonder
2021 1st Flush (Feb/Mar into May)


1st Flush Darjeeling – February/March
2nd Flush Darjeeling – May (in 2019 it is June)


Spring is the peak time for new leaf growth as the tea bushes awaken from winter hibernation. These early-harvest, first-plucked Darjeelings are known as 1st Flush teas. This plucking season is followed by the harvest of 2nd Flush Darjeelings, which completes the annual spring harvest cycle.


Darjeeling tea is highly sought after worldwide for its smooth, rich muscatel flavor and fine bouquet. It is often referred to as the ‘Champagne’ of tea because of its elegance and finesse in the cup. The Darjeeling tea gardens are located in the Lesser Himalaya Range of West Bengal in Northern India. The flavor of Darjeeling tea is greatly influenced by the mist-shrouded environment of the tea gardens (which are scattered over the hills and valleys at 5,000- 6,700 feet in altitude) and the slow maturity of plant development in cool, high-altitude locations.


Supremely elegant and lively in the cup, 1st and 2nd Flush Darjeelings are among our most prized teas.


Use 1 Tablespoon (2-3 grams) per 6 oz water
Steep 1 infusion at 2 -3 minutes*
Water temperature should be 185°F-195° F


*Steeping Tip:


As this tea is made using some China tea bush varietal leaf, it is easy to over-steep. Try steeping it twice, first for 90 seconds, and then, as you would with an oolong or green tea steep the leaf again for 2-3 minutes to obtain a second cup (using freshly boiled water).


This early-harvest pluck is quite voluminous so it needs a generous measure (if determined by volume measure rather than by weight). The 1 Tablespoon in our measurement will yield approx. 2.5 grams of leaf by weight.

Bob selected Tea Trekker’s 1st Flush Darjeeling teas for 2021 at a slightly early time this spring, due to an early start to the harvest. Those deliveries were expected by air courier in mid-April. Unfortunately an unfunny comedy of errors from both FedEx India and USA, and Indian Customs has resulted in our delivery being delayed significantly for no reason. However, it has finally arrived, so it is time to drink up!!


Our goal again this year regarding 1st Flush Darjeeling teas has been to procure more variety and less depth than we formerly offered ‘back in the old days’. The weather has been cooperative and has helped to produce many delicious teas. We will have Darjeeling teas with a softer, less astringent flavor profile, and also ones in the brisk, more modern ‘European’ (green) style.


So whatever style you prefer – or if you enjoy them all – this is a great year for tea, and Darjeeling in particular. The more normal amount of rainfall has increased the moisture in the leaf which leads to less breakage and a deeper flavor and better keeping potential. Also the teas will likely ‘age’ well and increase in flavor rather than diminish over the next 10-15 months.


Our 2021 Early Wonder 1st Flush tea is from the earliest picking, of the first period of the spring pluck at Giddapahar Tea Estate this year. However, it has a richness that normally would only be possible after a longer growing season. It is a spectacular ‘Early Wonder’ harvest.

We think that this exceptionally flavorful early growth is partially the result of last year’s reduced picking due to the pandemic. Mother Nature has also provided a glorious spring, weather-wise, so that has helped too!

The leaf is classically beautiful and modestly mottled, with a nice proportion of the modern-style, ‘green’, long-withered leaf. The leaf is mid-length and well-cut, very even in composition, and has the rich classic color of a modern 1st Flush Darjeeling

It is for those who prefer that their Darjeeling 1st Flush tea has a snappy and bright, while mouth-filling (this year extremely so), smooth-around-the-edges, ‘modern’ china bush style. This style, in which the wither is long and the oxidation short, is often referred to as the ‘Russian’ or ‘German’ style now, and is clearly different than the classic style of 1st Flush Darjeeling that has no green-ish coloration to it at all.

The dry leaf is slightly larger than most year’s crop due to the plentiful rains this spring. This predominately china bush leaf has the classic 1st Flush aroma in its dry leaf: pure, brisk and straightforward. The considerable aroma that is contained in the leaf then releases readily upon application of the steeping water, and will vary in intensity depending on the temperature of the hot water. Very pleasant and highly desirable aromatic qualities are released by the wet leaf during steeping. While the dry leaf has hints of stone fruit and dry wood bark in its aroma, the wet leaf releases these aromatics in restrained abundance. Cacao and the classic aroma of a high quality china bush black tea are the primary elements of this enticing tea – .

The base flavor of this Darjeeling, the Giddapahar Tea Estate ‘Early Wonder’ 2021 1st Flush, is that of a classic 1st Flush Darjeeling tea in the ‘Wonder‘ style. Actually, this taste could serve as the model for its genre. Brisk, but deeply-flavored, and with a nicely-balanced astringency, it possesses some of the raisin-y taste that high quality Darjeelings rarely show. There is a layer of ‘biscuit’ in the mix too, without its becoming overly dry. Layered on top of this traditional Darjeeling 1st Flush flavor is the influence of the china bush taste, which offers the cacao and dry, wood-bark attributes. This tea is quite well-balanced and smooth, especially for a 1st Flush Darjeeling, and the core Darjeeling flavor keeps it firmly in the Darjeeling camp. Full-bodied, the bright, nuanced flavor is in perfect balance with the body and aroma throughout the drinking experience.

The leaf is medium in color and is well manufactured. It has a broadly-cut style that is unusual for a Darjeeling manufacture, but is perfect for this tea, given that this is a china bush planting. The leaf has a nice length and even cut.

Showing beautiful liquor color of deep claret-amber, this tea is a stunner.

We are recommending a moderately short steep for this tea. I have been steeping it for about two and a half minutes. The leaf is large for a Darjeeling, so use a generous measure. We have been quite successful re-steeping the leaf, often for quite a long steeping time – even 4 minutes. Conversely, this leaf will tolerate one long steeping, perhaps even 5 or 6 minutes in the water.

Giddapahar Tea Estate is located in the most prestigious heart of the Kurseong Valley. (Giddapahar is translated from Nepali to mean Eagles’ Cliff). Giddapahar Estate is owned by fourth generation Surendra Nath Singh and his brother, and is a relatively small area of 109 hectares. The gardens are poised at an average altitude of 4,800 feet and their orientation offers an incredible view of the Himalaya. The garden was first developed in 1881 and has been producing fine tea continuously.

Giddapahar is one of the few remaining tea estates with gardens that still produces tea from older plantings of China bush tea varietals. We feel that leaf from these tea bushes adds body and richness to the mouth-feel of a fine Darjeeling, so we always look for these ‘gems’ from the few gardens that still maintain their long-lived China bush stock.