I enjoyed another Saturday afternoon this past weekend discussing literature and writing with a good friend at my local tea shop. It's an ordinary thing, (the tea ritual, not the fantastic conversation!) and not usually something most people would care to read about, but this time I veered from my usual order of Gyokuro and opted for the house Darjeeling blend.
This particular shop offers the usual Margaret's Hope 1st flush as well as 1st and 2nd flush single-estate Darjeelings, Assams, and Nilgiris. Their blend is touted as a medium-bodied, smooth TGFOP (Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe). Orange Pekoe is traditionally used in Lipton brand teas that many tea newbies are familiar with, but it is essential to experience it in loose-leaf. A classic, drink-it-down type of tea that paired well with the Triple Berry Mousse Cake.
In a strange co-incidence, I learned of today's earthquake that hit the Darjeeling region, and my heart sank. Nearly six months have passed since the Japan quake, and now another precious tea-growing region is affected by nature's fickleness, but there are details that as of yet remain unreported.
I thought I'd compile some internet resources, found via a simple Google search - these links have no relation to my own content, I simply put them here in one spot for those of you who'd like to know more, including an article that, ironically, discusses the impact of the Japan quake on the consumption of Darjeeling tea in Japan. I join my fellow tea bloggers on the internet and via Twitter in sending thoughts of appreciation and concern to the region.
Thunderbolt Tea's Blog - first-hand experience of the earthquake from the region
The Financial Express.com - "Quake-hit Japan retains flavor for Darjeeling"
HindustanTimes - mainstream news report, 2 confirmed deaths in Darjeeling region
To learn more about tea production in Darjeeling and Sikkim/East India:
Wikipedia - a place to start
The Hindu - "Darjeeling Tea Production at Record Low" - discusses early 2011 being a tough yr
Previous reviews of Darjeeling-related teas from LatteTeaDah archives:
Shanti Tea's Darjeeling Green - Jewel of a Brew
Indigo's Darjeeling Blend was so smooth and satisfying that I asked for a refill of hot water for my teapot and steeped the leaves again - something I don't normally do unless I'm at home.
The Triple Berry Mousse Cake - it isn't always offered at this shoppe, but it was heavenly! Perfect for a brisk fall afternoon!
Darjeeling leaves post-steep
A beautiful scene, made possible by the men and women who work the fields in what seems to be a far-removed corner of the world from the tea shoppe. Here's hoping that everyone in the affected region stays safe and that the 2012 season brings better luck.