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Darjeeling Orange Valley 2012 1st Flush

These tea leaves come from a garden very close to Darjeeling town which has the only original small-leaved Chinese variety of bushes planted by the British over 100 years ago. This means relatively low yields but exceptional flavour.

The infused tea has a light amber colour, with a little more strength and less greenness than many First Flush teas. It has some dryness on the palate and good muscatel flavour, with a subtle sweetness in the aftertaste.

The place we now know as Darjeeling, translated from Tibetan literally means “the land of the thunderbolt”. It was also once known as the “Queen of the Hills.”

It is said there was a mighty god, who controlled nature. He coaxed the flowers to grow and allowed the rain to fall. But he was fickle and he often punished villages according to his mood.  The place we now know as Darjeeling was then a humble village, which often faced the wrath of this angry god. He would bring his clouds and rain and dull weather with him and throw thunderbolts in frustration. One day a young local girl travelled to the foot of the mountains that lay to the east and prayed to this god. She prayed that he would leave their town alone to thrive of its own accord. She thought him a cruel god and accused him of abusing the power he held, when he should have been using it to help his people.

The god heard her prayers and on seeing her, was struck by her beauty. Her words cut deep and he spent the night alone in the mountains, thinking over his mistakes. The next day, when the villagers awoke to a dull orange sun emerging, painting the sky with brilliant strokes of magenta, gold, terracotta and fuchsia. The snow-capped Everest, Kabru, Kanchenjunga, Jannu and other peaks slowly became visible. The village folk gasped at the magnificent sight. As the fog lifted, the village gradually came alive. Flowers opened to the sun, grass grew green and fresh and the tea bushes flourished.

The god looked on the village and claimed it to be the “Queen of the Hills”.