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Darjeeling First Flush Arya Estate
Darjeeling First Flush tea is known for its unique combination of floral and fruity flavor and aroma. Grown in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal, India, the Darjeeling teas were created in 1856 by the British East India Company using a varietal of the Assam tea. Different from other British colonized plantations, the Arya Tea Estate was established in 1885 by a group of Buddhist monks who were seeking a way to support their monastery. At an altitude of around 1,800 to 2,000 meters above sea level and covers an area of approximately 125 hectares, they began growing tea on the slopes of the Himalayas, using traditional methods and cultivating high-quality tea plants that were well-suited to the cool and misty climate of the region. Today, the Arya Tea Estate is one of the oldest tea estates in the region, producing some of the most sought-after teas in the world.
One of those teas is the Arya Darjeeling First Flush. First Flush means that the tea is harvested in the spring, usually in late March or early April, and is highly prized for its delicate taste and light, bright liquor. Arya Darjeeling First Flush is typically brewed at a lower temperature and for a shorter period to bring out the delicate flavors and aromas. It is often enjoyed without milk or sugar so as to fully appreciate its nuanced taste. Due to its high quality, Arya Darjeeling First Flush was awarded the FTGFOP1 grade.
FTGFOP1 is a grading term used in the tea industry, and specifically in reference to Darjeeling tea. It stands for "Finest Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe 1" and is used to indicate the highest quality of Darjeeling tea. Each part of the FTGFOP1 grading term has a specific meaning:
- Finest: indicates that the tea leaves are of the highest quality, and have been carefully selected for their appearance and flavor.
- Tippy: refers to the presence of young, tender leaf buds in the tea, which are highly prized for their delicate flavor and aroma.
- Golden: refers to the golden color of the tea leaves, which is a sign of high quality.
- Flowery: refers to the presence of small, unopened tea buds in the tea leaves, which give the tea a floral aroma and flavor.
- Orange Pekoe: refers to the size of the tea leaves, which are long and wiry.
- 1: indicates that the tea is the highest grade of FTGFOP available.
As a FTGFOP1, Arya Darjeeling First Flush is considered to be one of the highest quality grades of tea. In 2022 when our usual favorite, Jungpana Upper Darjeeling, plummeted in quality due to unfavorable weather conditions, we set out to find an equal if not better replacement. After 2 weeks of testing and tasting many varieties of first flush darjeeling, our staff and customers had their picks of top 4 favorites. Arya, Ringtong, Singbulli, and Temi Estate were tasted again and resulted in Arya as the best of all. Just to be sure, we waited another few days and blind taste tested another round. Each time, Arya came back as the clear winner, as it became our newest addition to our collection.