World renowned Jungpana Tea Estate was first owned by the Nepalese royal family before being sold to the current Kejriwal family in 1956. Legend says that a gorkha named Jung Bahadur was mauled by a leopard when hunting with his British master. The hunter carried Jung to a stream but he died after taking his last drink of water (pana) there. Ever since, the area is known as Jungpana.
To access Jungpana today, one has to first reach Goomtee Estate that has a road that ends abruptly at a steam called Changey Khola, then walk 638 uneven, slippery steps to the estate. This is the daily route to send teas out and bring supplies in. Situated deep in the Himalayas forest with rich biodiversity, Jungpana is blessed with a microclimate that produces the best Darjeeling teas the world has ever known. A constant winner in global tea competitions, many experts called Jungpana the best tea estate in Darjeeling. Beside supplying to all the boutiques tea houses around the world, it also fills the cups of British and Japanese royalties.
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 FTGFOP 1 – Finest/Fine Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekeo grade 1, meaning it is the finest picking possible, with a high proportion of tips. CL means China Clones, meaning the plants are clones of 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 3 gm to 100 ml (2/3 of cup), at 85°C filtered water for 30 seconds, repeated at 35 seconds. Experience the classic notes of sweet muscatel, roasted grapes, baked peach and dried dates, on a bright and smooth mouthfeel. This is indeed one of the best Darjeeling teas the world has seen.
We also included this tea in our Oct 2022 tea box. Read about it here.
Packed in loose in tea caddy.