As 2014’s consignment of First Flush Darjeeling arrives, we take you on a journey to the estates where this most distinctive variety of tea is grown

Each year, at roughly this time, there is a palpable sense of excitement at Cup of Tea HQ. That’s because we take delivery of our annual consignment of First Flush Darjeeling – which is surely one of the world’s most exquisite tea varieties.

To celebrate this momentous occasion, we decided to give you a bit more information about the estates where this year’s varieties of First Flush Darjeeling are grown.

That way, you can enter into the multi-sensory experience offered by this tea. And as you sip the flavoursome liquid from your finest bone china cup, you can dream of the lush mountainous gardens where it has its genesis.


Darjeeling Tumsong First Flush is a deliciously flowery tea, which practically sparkles in the cup. It has a wonderful aromatic character, making it a refreshing and light drink that is perfect for a warm day in spring or early summer.

None of this is surprising when you consider where the tea is grown. Tumsong is a tea garden of world renown, whose admirers revel in its natural beauty and unique history. The estate was established in 1867 by J.A. Wernicke, a German who owned a number of other plantations in the region.

Tumsong grew up around a temple to the Hindu goddess Tamsa Devi, who is said to watch over the landscape to this day. It reaches an altitude of more than 5,000 feet at its highest point and, because it faces the mighty Himalayas, has a constant cool breeze blowing across its hillsides.

This makes for the ideal growing conditions, producing a tea that has a strong scent even while it is still on the bush. As a result, the Tumsong garden carries a powerful aroma, which draws visitors up to its heights and gives the first Darjeeling pickings their distinctive flavour. It is a place of great beauty, combining breath-taking scenery with a tangible sense of history.


On a clear day, it is possible to see the summit of Mount Everest from the Mim tea garden. This gives a sense of the scale of this place, where Darjeeling Mim FF 2014 DJ2 FTGFOP1 is grown. It also explains how this tea develops its distinctive citrusy taste, offset by a surprisingly sweet finish.

Such complex flavours can only come from a tea that has been grown in the best possible conditions. And thanks to the chilly winter breeze that blows over the tea bushes at Mim, coupled with days of uninterrupted sunshine, that’s exactly what Mim offers.

This estate is relatively modest in its size, but it’s a living embodiment of the maxim that small is beautiful. This is a place whose scenery is truly noteworthy for its grandeur, even by Darjeeling’s high standards.

Similarly, the tea that emerges from Mim never fails to surprise and delight, giving tea enthusiasts a novel treat that is all the nicer for being known to only the most discerning First Flush aficionados.


As one of the oldest tea gardens in Darjeeling, Singell has something of a reputation to live up to. Fortunately, if the Darjeeling Singell First Flush 2014 Organic that we’ve just taken delivery of is anything to go by, it’s more than capable of meeting expectations.

The Singell estate was established in 1870 by the famous tea entrepreneur James White. It is located near to the town of Kurseong and stretches across an impressive 500 hectares of rolling Himalayan hillside.

It’s this landscape that gives the tea its renowned purity – Singell First Flush has a floral quality that combines paradoxically with its deep and lasting aroma. Brew it and you’ll be assailed by a fragrance that transports you to the hills of India, while the delicate flavour cleanses the palate with a striking freshness.

In sum, drinking this tea is rather like taking a bracing walk in the cool air of the Himalayas. When you think that Singell is one of the highest estates in Darjeeling, such a sensation is probably only to be expected.

Liza Hill

Liza Hill is the garden where Ronnefeldt Darjeeling 2014 First Flush Primeur Organic is grown. It’s a relatively small estate, stretching for fewer than 300 hectares across a narrow mountain ridge. That makes it a precarious growing ground, but doesn’t in any way dampen the flavour of the tea that sprouts there.

In fact, Liza Hill teas are renowned for their striking tastes and strong aromas. This First Flush has a delicious orangey zing, sweeter than some of our other First Flush Darjeelings but no less pure because of it.

That distinctive flavour is probably due to Liza Hill’s elevation, which ranges from 2,500 to 4,800 feet, as well as its exposed location opposite the Himalayas. The estate is situated to the south east of Darjeeling, and many people regard its First Flush as one of the finest teas to be grown in the whole region.

We’ll leave it for you to decide whether you agree with that assertion. But one thing is certain: whatever First Flush Darjeeling you choose, it has the power to take your taste buds on a journey to the other side of the world.

With any luck, you’ll land up in a place of high altitude, cool breezes, warm sunshine and verdant green hillsides. Best of all, you can go there any time you like, simply by brewing a cup of tea.

30th May 2014

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