A first flush Darjeeling with a slightly darker than typical mix of leaf colors (greyish yellow tips, with moderate olive brown to olive brown leaf pieces) that produce a strong orange yellow liquor. Amazingly good quality/price ratio. It's smooth and round, complex, sweet, and very fruity. In terms of oxidation, it falls somewhere between green and black tea but we can hardly call it an Oolong tea.
Giddapahar Wonder Oolong from Darjeeling is made from leaves from the AV 2 (Ambari Vegetative 2) varietal plant. It is hand crafted with exquisite love and care and produced only in micro lots to take care of the taste and fragrance. A long oxidation process produces a nice and round malty flavour that makes you fall in love with its honey tones. This Oolong works perfectly to wake you up from a drowsy mood.
Giddapahar is a small family-owned plantation, just 94.7 hectares, owned by the Shaw family ever since its inception in 1881. The tea manager, Mr Sharma has been working at Giddapahar for over 40 years and is immensely proud of the distinctive Darjeeling teas they produce. This is a small-scale tea estate and in the main season each worker picks only 5-6 kg per day, and as little as 1.5-2 kg per day at the start of the season. The historic factory feels unchanged for ages.
If you step into the factory perched on the steep mountainside overlooking the misty Kurseong Valley, you will be startlet by the Victorian-era machinery with wooden tea chests still in use. In the withering room you will see that day’s freshly picked green leaf laid out in the long troughs. During the withering process up to 65% of the moisture in the leaf is removed, and the leaves turn almost leathery in feel. From the withering troughs the leaves are placed in the rolling machines to develop their flavour. Different rolling machines are used for different varietals of tea bushes. For example a small brass machine reserved for leaves of the AV2 cultivar, as it responds best to a gentler rolling. Our tea was rolled twice, and broken up on a small conveyor belt in between. After rolling the leaves are laid out and left to oxidise for up to 4 hours. The manager will keep checking the progress of the leaves, smelling the leaves for the all-important ‘nose’, a burst of aroma that signifies the leaves are ready to be dried. Giddapahar is known for firing their teas a little deeper than other Darjeeling estates, intensifying the natural caramel sweetness of the China tea bushes and developing a slight toasted note. The dried leaves are then sorted and graded*, ready to be packed.
- Darjeeling, Giddapahar Tea Estate
- Clonal AV2
- loose tea