Monday, 15 August 2011

an entirely new sense of both taste and smell

It's been interesting to go back and look at some of my earliest blogposts and see not only how different my method was then but also the dramatic difference in content. I reported on some relatively early experiences with Darjeeling when I wrote Getting my brain around Darjeeling.

I mentioned an interview with a tea grower called Ashok Kumar Lohia and his attempt to explain what makes Darjeeling tea different from all others. I liked his musings so much that I'll actually quote what I said about it way back then:

The last thing I want to mention is how the interview began. He was asked why Darjeeling tea was so special. So different from other teas. His answer was that because the tea was grown so high in the mountains in the shadow of the Himalayas that there was something mystical about it. That the soil and the air was certainly crucial, but that the god Shiva lived there and his spirit affected the tea. It's easy for me to dismiss that part, but then he said that the people who actually tend to the tea have an important impact on the way every cup of tea turns out. That growing tea takes a patience and dedication that has been honed for generations.

I'm sitting here on a very humid rainy day drinking a cup of Darjeeling Singbulli and I'm contemplating how my tastes have changed. This very delicious second flush is rather good, but it's quite strong and possibly a little overbearing. Early on, I'd have veered away from a first flush because to my taste there simply wasn't enough there to taste. That was then. It's as if I've grown an entirely new sense of both taste and smell.

Don't get me wrong. This has both a floral and citrus taste that I love in good Darjeelings. The muskatel is bold and tasty. But I'm smiling to myself that there was a time I'd want more boldness. Maybe a hammer blow of it. My tongue is begging me to brew a light and delicate first flush Darjeeling next to balance all of this power.

I might just do that.

Here's a blogpost where I went into more detail about Darjeeling first or second flush?


  1. I can well understand that. There was a time when nothing but a good strong cuppa would do for me. Happily enlightened now mainly thanks to tea people like yourself. Thank you.

  2. That's exactly what I'm going for with this blog. There are plenty of teablogs that're written with the serious tea aficionado in mind.

    Although I like that sort of blog, I've purposely written this with the tea newcomer in mind. Or even the tea curious.

    Please tell me in the comments or on twitter if there's something you're curious about. Want to know more of something I've mentioned? Just let me know.

  3. What is first flush? If you've covered this topic before, just direct me to it. Thanks!

  4. Happily Moira.

    Here's how I talked about it long ago, but I may revisit the topic again soon.

    Please let me know if there's anything else.