Sunday, 9 January 2011

'flown tea' nine months too late

While going through my tea over the holidays, I came upon something I'm a bit embarrassed about. I was in Hamburg last spring, and visited (and blogged about) a wide assortment of tea shops ( One of the places I was most impressed with was Teehaus Shila. They were incredibly friendly and knowledgable, and after I asked a thousand questions, the young guy behind the counter handed me a sample of their Flugtee, which translates as 'flown tea' or 'air tea'.

The way the story was explained to me: the owner of the shop flies to Darjeeling when the initial first flush is ready and comes back with suitcases full of the stuff. As fresh as it can possibly be. He's not the only guy in Germany that does this. Apparently, there are a few shops in Germany that get this tea several weeks before everyone else and promote it accordingly.

Do they do this anywhere else in the world? I went back to Teehaus Shila's website, and it seems they're selling the Flugtee for the same price. Maybe it's different from the other first flush Darjeelings that you can get later.

Why was I embarrassed? Because I saved the little packet for a special occasion, and then promptly forgot about it. Until I cleaned out my tea cabinet recently, and there it was.

I have no idea how much better it would've been back in April, but it was pretty good when I finally brewed it today. Am not sure I would've even appreciated it back then. I was still very new to Darjeeling first flushes, and not that impressed. Since then, I've had many different first, second and autumnal flushes, and my palate has definitely improved.

Now that I've tried the most recent teas that Darjeeling Tea Express has on offer, I truly cannot wait until they are able to send the many first flush teas of 2011. Am salivating just thinking of it.

Will happily drink the second and Autumnal flushes until then, but I'm waiting impatiently for the next batch of Flugtee, whether it's flown in or not.


  1. Don't be ashamed, forgetting about things happens sometimes.

  2. That's amusing.

    I've found that there are some first flush Darjeelings that keep their flavor for a very long time if stored properly. I think that it's likely that tea retailers over-emphasize the degree to which tea loses its flavor, perhaps in order to promote their own interests of selling more tea. But I have definitely had some teas that lost their best qualities rather quickly.