Appearance: brown-black, crinkled leaf
Aroma when Dry: fruity, dusty, hints of earthiness
After water is first poured: fruity, sticky, another note… muscatel?
At end of steep: faint fruity sweet
At end of steep: faint green
Time of day preferred: unsure, first tasting
At first: flat, mild, closes with hints of fruit
As it cools? metallic note lessens, slight spicy note surfaces, tea deepens a bit
Additives used (milk, honey, sugar etc)? no
Lingers? Yes, the fruity nature stays, closing with almost a metallic note
Soom Estate 1st Flush
This is a 1st top quality flush darjeeling tea, grown at 5300 feet above sea level. It has a delicate muscatel character with excellent roundness.
1st Flush occurs in Darjeeling from March through to mid April, During this period the tea bushes have once again begun “flushing” (read growing) after the winter dormancy period. Vigorous flushing occurs because the day time temperature has risen 5 to 7 degrees Celsius (from 10/12 C to 20 Celsius); the hours of daylight have increased (the vernal equinox has passed); and despite the fact that the weather is dry there is excellent moisture retention in the soil from the winter rains. All these factors in the rarefied mountain air help produce this stunning tea. The plucking fields of Soom are about 5200 feet above sea level and the terrain is very severe with some of the slopes approaching 45 degrees. The slopes are so steep that the estate still carries the green leaf to the factory by mountain pony. Many of the bushes are over 130 years old but produce remarkable tea; in fact it is not uncommon for some 1st Flush teas to be rushed to Germany in a race similar to the Beaujolais Run.
The factory burned to the ground in 1995 and was out of production for 1 1/2 years. The new factory has all modern equipment, which now produce some of Darjeeling?s best teas. Top tea estates perform a social function and Soom is exemplary in this regard. The estate not only employs 700 people, but provides housing, food and medical needs for the families resulting in about 2000 people living on the estate in full view of the Himalayan Mountains.