- Arya Estate Background
- Arya Darjeeling Preparation
Every year I wait anxiously for my shipment of Darjeeling tea from the Arya Estate, and this year was no different. When I opened the bag I was overwhelmed with the aroma of fresh ripe oranges with a complex mixture of floral and nutty characteristics. Underlying that was a slight hint of dark chocolate and caramel. To say the aroma of this exquisite tea is intoxicating is an understatement!
Arya's Spring Diamond is made in very limited quantities and only by demand so our supply is extremely limited in the best of years. This year’s first flush was off to a slow start due to climatic conditions. There was a severe lack of rain early in the season and when it finally did rain the temperature dropped to winter-like conditions. It wasn’t until the first week of April that the tea leaves started to appear in the high elevation gardens and production was started.
Spring Diamond is carefully hand-plucked solely from the prized AV2 cultivar from the highest section of the estate where the slow growth concentrates the juices and nutrients in the leaf resulting in the most complex flavors and aromas. The first round of plucking each year is dedicated to Diamond which is Arya’s most prized production. Arya typically produces its tea with a chocolate brown appearance regardless of the flush. Other tea gardens tend to produce their first flush teas with a greener appearance. Arya did that once before in 2014 with astounding results. We’ve hoped they would do it again in subsequent years but due to climatic conditions they were unable to do so until now. Arya’s Spring Diamond once again has the coveted green appearance and has surpassed previous year’s Arya Spring Diamond tea by a long shot. If you are a first flush Darjeeling tea lover, this is a tea you must not miss!
The Arya Estate names all of their teas after precious jewels. It goes without saying that their Spring Diamond is the cream of the crop, the best of the best. The dry leaf is a bit longer than the normal classic graded Darjeeling first flush leaf. The dry leaves are elongated and wiry, well rolled and twisted in various shades of green and brown. The profusion of silver buds and tips gives this tea a very attractive bloom and is evidence of the remarkable care in handling during processing. The rich aroma of the dry leaf is a complex mixture of ripe oranges laced with floral and nutty undertones and a hint of dark chocolate and caramel.
The infused leaf opens beautifully to reveal the original size of the tea leaf. It has a lively green and brown color with an abundance of silver tips turning a pale yellow. The leaf set of two leaves and a bud is fully intact--once again, evidence of the superior handling during processing. The infused leaf has a sweet aroma with a hint of citrus and mint together with complex nutty, floral, and fruity nuances.
First flush Darjeeling teas are prized for their light brisk flavor that is ever so delicate, yet mildly intense. They are highly aromatic and rich in complexity and on this score Arya’s Spring Diamond does not disappoint. Diamond has a light and bright greenish infusion that is brisk and mildly astringent with a buttery mouthfeel. It is instantly sweet and minty with notes of caramel and citrus together with nutty undertones. It has a long lingering finish that is sweet and minty. All in all, this is definitely a tea to be savored!
Ingredients: Artisan Black Tea
Origin: Darjeeling, India
Located in the foothills of the Himalayas of northeastern India, Darjeeling is renowned for producing the "Champagne of Black Teas". It is one of the four main tea growing regions in India and, at 6,000 feet, the highest in elevation. Formerly called Sidrabong the Arya Estate (which means “respectable” or “best” in the Indian language) is a relatively small tea garden that was established in the eighteenth century by a group of Buddhist monks, whose original dwelling is preserved on the property to this day. It is fully certified bio-organic and is strongly committed to environmental sustainability. The Estate actually has the distinction of having the first private hydro-power generator in Asia! As a small organic tea garden, Arya’s focus has always been on producing artisan teas of exceptional quality.
Water Temperature: Just off the Boil (205 degrees)
Water Quality: Best with Spring Water
Amount of Leaf: (per 6 fl oz water): 1--2 Tbl.(2.5 grams)
Steep Time: 2-4 minutes
Number of Infusions: 2
When measuring it is best to weigh your tea. (I use a small pocket scale. We have a few or you can get good inexpensive scales at Old Will Knotts) Measuring volume with a teaspoon or tablespoon is not accurate because whole leaf teas take up much more space than broken, graded teas.
We highly recommend brewing your tea in a teapot or mug with a removable infuser so that you can remove the leaves at the end of the steeping time. Whole leaf teas of this quality need room to unfurl and expand in the water in order to perform their "magic." However, leaving the tea leaves in the water will result in an over-infused, bitter tea. If you want a stronger cup of tea increase the amount of leaf rather than the steeping time. If you don't have a removable infuser, you can brew the loose leaves directly in the pot. At the end of the steeping time, pour all of the tea into a warm serving pitcher or pot.