Tuesday, January 19, 2010

2009 Giddapahar Estate 2nd Flush Darjeeling FTGFOP1

Winter time is the perfect time for Hong Cha (red tea, black tea). In the winter the bitter flavour of hong cha and its strong, quick rising yang energy is perfect to warm your soul on a cold winter day. According to the theory of five transformations, drinking bitter flavours in winter allows ones energy to descend before it is stored throughout the cold winter.
One always has a few pots of hong cha over the winter especially on the cold days. Today is one of those cold days.

The tea of choice is a second flush from Darjeeling. It is an offering from Giddapahar Estate- one of the gardens visited last March. The dry leaves smell of nice light ferment- a dry, not too grapey muscatel. They make up a mixture of reddish browns and whites in the predominately dark brown-green mix. These leaves are put in a big yixing and hot water follows.

This first infusion shoots off a sharp, brisk taste of light, dry, faint fruitiness that peeks out before ducking away. The saliva from the mouth, lips, and tongue retreats under light dryness. Even fainter sweet fruit tones are left on the breath.

The second infusion is prepared. In it is dry, mainly woody, raisoney notes that peer through a nice juicy bitterness that softly saunters by. The mouth seems void of all saliva, leaving sweet notes way down the throat. The feel in the mouth is valued for its uniqueness.
At this point in the session one succumbs to the hot active chaqi. The head heats first then ones core soon follows- the face flushes. Mind is pushed into alertness. On a blustery cold winter day this affect is wholeheartedly embraced.

The third steeping brings an expected lighter, less sweet, fruity body that is almost completely eclipsed by woody dryness. The mouthfeel reflects the wood in the mouth.
The fourth infusion is a touch salty, mainly woody, with a bit of tang.


Note: Check out this link to the Polish Wine Guide's review of this tea.


Bret said...

Judging by your pics you seem to use the same yixing regardless of the type of tea being brewed. I often do the same, unless it's something really assertive, them smokey shengs. Is this not blasphemy in the eyes of all tea lovers across the globe?

Matt said...


Yes you're right, the same yixing is being used pretty much regardless of the tea. One has 3 pots (actually 4 but the fourth is just a glass pot for herb teas)- a grey ceramic pot, a cheap old small yixing, and this big yixing.

The grey pot is generally used for green, yellow, and ddok cha. The cheap, small yixing almost exclusively sees younger puerh. And the large yixing is for teas that can't undergo as many infusions such as Darjeeling, and Oolong. However the big one is also used for puerh if there are guests.

One decided long ago that one wasn't going to buy a million pots for every variety of tea. One has only bought one- the modest pot, that cheap ol' yixing, a long time ago. Actually, it's kind of amazing that it hasn't broken yet. The other pots were gifts. So, in appreciation they are put to good use.

"Is this not blasphemy in the eyes of all tea lovers across the globe?"

One asks you this:

What is more blasphemous?

The monks who drink many different types of tea in the mountains with only one modest pot


The teamaster in his shop with 100 different pot for every type of tea out there.


Bret said...

Why thats a good question. I often use whatever pot happens to be convienient or which ever pots size suits my purpose for the tea I,m brewing. The online vendors are going to be so mad at us for letting the truth slip. "You only need one yixing" Whats the old saying? Less is more?

Matt said...


Ha ha ha :D

It is worth noting though that if you use a pot for the same kind of tea for a long time the qi of that type of tea gradually accumulates in that pot. For instance, if one always uses the pot for black tea- where the chaqi of black tea (second flush) characteristically ascends quickly, is warming, then descends storing some energy. That general type of black tea qi will then start to accumulate in that pot- essentially enhancing the qi of other black teas steeped in that pot.

This is also true of the flavour (and smell) of the black tea as well- it accumulates in the pot over time and brings the infusions closer to the characteristic black tea taste with every pot.

So because we are using the same pot for any tea, we are effectively taking in the accumulations of different types of tea. One sees this as kind of like an external, physical memory bank of all the tea one has consumed. But the downfall here is that different types of tea have different characteristics of qi (direction of movement, and thermal nature) and taste (and smell) so it can actually subtly confuse the chaqi of the tea that is currently being steeped or subtly affect the taste of the tea.

Either way, one agrees with what you said...

Less is more.


Big Red Robe Oolong said...

Nice blog! Drop me a line when you get a chance. I've got a tea question for you.

Matt said...

Red Robe,




Petr said...

Matt and Bret,

sometimes I have different point of view to this. Because I am in love with pots as well as in love with tea, sometime I am looking not for "which teapot should I use for this tea " but "which tea will be go for this teapot I would like to spend time with".

And energy of each pot itself is different- because of clay, hands which were making it, fire...

As it is not blasphemy if one use one pot for hundred of teas It is also no blasphemy if one use hundred of pots for one tea.

Matt said...


You make a good point there Petr. We weren't really taking into account the qi of the pot (there is also the qi of the water to factor in as well). Although the pot does have qi, because the pot isn't a "living" thing its qi is remarkably different than the qi of the tea (and the qi of water is somewhere closer to the qi in food than the qi in a tea pot).

Your comment really speaks to potters. It really comes down to what do you have more of- tea pots or tea? Someone with more tea but a few pots will likely choose a pot for the tea and someone with many pots but not as much tea will likely choose tea for their pots (being that they have many pots that will make the tea taste optimally).

Really this conversation is about intent. Is the person with 100 pots attached to those possessions? or Is the person with only one pot always wanting and craving another pot?

Thanks so much for your insight Petr.


Nerval said...

Yes, black tea and winter... a good match.

However your post had me wonder (as has my tea consumption over this winter) whether Darjeeling is really the type of black tea that is best fitted to the wintertime yang energy requirement.
We have -15C temperatures here in Poland at the moment, and I've notices the Darjeelings are just not doing the job. Insufficient yang? They were great in the cool damp days of November but with the current frosts, it is amazing how different the effect of a super-oxidised Assam or a high-fired Keemun is on the body (for the better).
So I'll be saving whatever Darj I have left for February and March.

Matt said...


Your right- an highly oxidied Assam is probably one of the best black teas which move energy in this way. It is the high oxidization and strong bitter flavour that are the main indicators for qi that moves in typical 'black tea' patterns, perhaps a high fired Keemun would also be good.

Living here on balmy Vancouver Island the winter rarely pushes past freezing, this winter has been extrodinarily warm as well. Darjeeling seems to be doing the trick. ;)

Other teas that are good for the winter are of course aged shang, and shu. But their energy movement is a totally different story than that of black tea.

One linked your review of this tea to the bottom of the post, something that one must have forgot when initally posting.

As always, thanks for swinging by.


Petr said...

Nerval... I you are from Poland, I can recoment you to order this
tea:http://www.darjeeling.cz/cz/cerne-caje/-nepal-jun-chiyabari-himalayan-imperial-black-241 or I can send you saple from my reserves

It is colorful in taste like DJteas and really good energy for this wether(today -12 here)

Nerval said...

Matt, great thanks for adding a link. Google Statistics show I get a lot of readers through your blog, and I deeply appreciate it.
Petr, I've tasted a very similar tea from Jun Chiyabari (see here), and it is indeed very good. Thanks for the link, too - looks like an exciting shop. I'll sure give it a try when I'm the region. The ceramic stuff also looks exciting.

Cyril C. said...

Hi Matt. I discover your blog.
What are the differents parameters (temperature & time) of your brewings? I'm curious...;)

Matt said...


Usually with Darjeeling second flush, the temperature is just a few seconds off boiling, mid high pour. Keep the yixing hot with boiling water rinses.

The tea dictates the time not one making the tea. But basically with Darjeeling second flush its something around, 1st infusion- 30-40sec, 2nd-40-50sec, 3rd 60-120, 4th- 90-2-3 minutes.

One always uses lots of leaf of course, ;)


MichaelWazowski said...

Four infusions? For a Darjeeling?!.
In a yixing?.. ??!

Matt said...


Your comment makes it seem so crazy.