- Sold Out for 2020 - Darjeeling Sourenee 1st flush black tea

Darjeeling 2020 1st Flush Sourenee Tea Estate


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Black Tea


Darjeeling Sourenee Tea Estate
2020 1st Flush (April, May)




Grade: SFTGFOP 1 Special
Cultivar: China tea bush varietal leaf
Oxidation: very long, fully-oxidized black tea
Wither: short wither


Appearance: Orthodox manufacture, traditional 1st Flush Darjeeling leaf with a nicely variegated coloration and significant tippiness
Flavor: brisk but smooth, deep flavor with little astringency
Aroma: cacao, netted melon, and dried wood bark aroma
Liquor: medium copper-amber liquor


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

2020 1st Flush (March, April)


1st Flush Darjeeling – February/March and April 2019
2nd Flush Darjeeling – May (in 2019 it was primarily 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 traditionally among our most prized teas.


Use 1 Tablespoon (2-3 grams) per 6 oz water
Steep 1 infusion at 3-4  minutes*
Water temperature should be 185°F-195° F


*Steeping Tips:

When steeped with a slightly generous measure (as we prefer to do) the liquor develops into a stunning copper/amber colour that we find mesmerizing. Because the leaf is hand-rolled and large, we are often tempted to steep a second and/or third cup from the same leaf, and although lighter overall, we find those particularly enjoyable (in the style of Chinese and Nepal large-leaf black teas) and well worth the effort.

Please Note:
This 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.


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 seemed to agree and has helped to produce many delicious teas for 2020. 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.

Bob selected several of Tea Trekker’s 1st Flush Darjeeling teas for 2020 at pretty much the normal time in the early spring; however in many cases delivery of those shipments could not be made by air courier until the travel restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic were lifted by the Indian govt. Then in most regions the monsoonal floods came in before the lockdown was lifted, so the tea ‘sat’ in various locations in India until it could be shipped, in a few instances being caught up again in yet another pandemic lock-down before finally being released. But they finally were able to be en route in late July and started to arrive in Aug … and we expect more deliveries to continue through Sept, about as late as we have ever seen in 40 years of sourcing Darjeeling tea.

The good news is that the 2nd Flush teas this year should be exquisite and ‘keep’ really well! They will just be very late to arrive…

Sourenee Tea Estate, in West Bengal, India has been in operation producing highest-quality Darjeeling tea for more than 100 years.

We love the name Sourenee – it is a combination of the named, local hybrid tea bush (pron. ‘ser’) and the dialectic term for ‘queen of the valley’ (pron. ‘renny’). Grown in the steeply-sloped and dramatically-scenic Mirik Valley region, this tea will transport you to the exotic Himalaya … right in your chair, wherever you are!

I think that this Darjeeling is my current favorite 1st Flush from the 2020 harvest. The size of the leaf is outstanding – and shows the type of hand-rolling that brings to mind technique rarely seen outside of China or Nepal. This requires that the proper amount of leaf is used, which by volume seems to be a lot, but is correct by weight; and the leaf re-steeps two or even three times, which I like. rjh Dec 31, 2020

During our sample tasting, we found the flavor of this 1st Flush Sourenee tea to be a classic – fresh, straightforward, and smooth, without any harshness and with almost perfect astringency. Having an intense aroma that demands further investigation (and then well-deserved appreciation) and a concentrated flavor that is reliable, familiar and complex, this 1st Flush tea is stunning in its straightforward way, with the right amount of complexity to keep the most enthusiastic tea drinker interested. It is very mouth-filling and full of wonderful, deep flavour notes, while at the same time offering the fresh tea flavor that one expects from a 1st Flush Darjeeling tea. When steeped with a slightly generous measure (as we prefer to do) the liquor develops into a stunning copper/amber colour that we find delightful. We are often tempted to steep a second cup too, and although lighter overall, we find it enjoyable and worth the effort.

This 1st Flush tea from Sourenee is smooth, flavorful, and non-aggressive. We liked it so much that we purchased a sizeable lot of this tea, knowing that organic 1st Flush Darjeeling tea that is as good as this one is can be hard to come by. A current goal of the owners of this tea estate is to further their established reputation for manufacturing world-class, delicious tea by the addition of organic certification (since April 2009). We celebrate their decade of success with that!

Excellent drunk cool or iced (it is an excellent tea for blending into an ‘Arnold Palmer’™)  – and when enjoyed hot it can be drunk with milk, or any addition(s) that you choose, and of course, plain.