2022 Second Flush Goomtee Organic Darjeeling SFTGFOP 1 CH
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Goomtee Estate is a small estate at 1,000 to 1,600 m within the Kurseong distinct of the Darjeeling tea region, located south of the forested and inaccessible Jungpana Estate. Its history is tied to that of Jungpana, both of which were established in 1899 by a British tea plant Henry Montgomery Lennox, and which changed hands to become the property of the Nepal royal family in the aftermath of the Second World War.
The history of Goomtee Estate is an extension of colonial rule, from the powerful and rich and ultimately to the hands of tea craftsman. Since 1956, it is owned by the Das family. When the senior Das took over the estate, he had to learn from scratch how to run a tea estate. Stakes were high, land was huge, and there were many mouths to feed. The current owner is Ashok Das, the son, who has been working in the estate for 40 years. Such a long career was accidental, as he aspired to be an engineer but he realised there were simply too many things to improve at his father’s Goomtee Estate, such that he could not afford the time and energy to do anything else.
The authentic Goomtee has always attracted media attention for landing high prices during auctions. In the International Tea Masters Competition in China in 2017 (which the founder has won 3rd prize in Tea Pairing), the tea brewing champion brewed the Goomtee second flush of that year.
We were worried that the COVID pandemic and the separatist movement in the hills will have a major impact on the quality of Darjeeling this year. However, it proves that our worry was unfounded. 2nd flush Darjeeling is known to be the champagne of teas., because of its characteristic muscatel note, and this year's tea did not disappoint.
This tea is SFTGFOP 1 CH – Super Finest/Fine Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekeo grade 1, meaning it is the finest picking possible, with a high proportion of tips. CH means China bushes, meaning the plants are the original tea saplings brought out of China by Robert Fortune since 1841 and first planted there by Dr Campbell in 1842.
It is important to note that all estates today mark their highest grade tea with grade 1. In fact, SFTGFOP 1, SFTGFOP, FTGFOP 1, FTGFOP now all mean the same thing – the highest grade of the estate, and the varied nomenclature stems from the different naming or marketing traditions of the estates.
We used the Parchmen Tea Evaluation Set, at a ratio of 3 gm to 80 ml of 80°C filtered water for 1 min for a strong flavour and 3 gm to 100 ml of 85°C filtered water for 30 sec for a crisp flavour. It brews a light amber colour and carries the signature aroma of muscatel grapes, ripe fruits and wild flowers on a smooth bright cup. It can brew twice and is one of the most sought-after Darjeeling teas of the world.
We also included this tea in our Oct 2022 tea box. Read about it here.
Packed in loose in tea caddy.