Taste: Condensed milk & mandarin orange
Origin: Darjeeling, Northeastern Indian Himalayas
Tea Maker: Subarna Small Farmers Society & Samabeong Tea Estate
Steep 1 1 Tbsp | 8 oz | 210° F | 4 min
Steep 2 8 oz | 210° F | 5 min
Certifications: USDA Organic
Darjeeling Autumnal is a luscious, well-rounded black tea that marries the bold strength of Assam with the fruity complexity of tea from Ceylon, or Sri Lanka as it’s known today. Made in October just after the monsoons, our Darjeeling Autumnal is created through a unique partnership between one of Darjeeling’s first independent small farmer groups and a well-established tea estate.
Tasting Notes: This organic black tea is delightfully casual and also deeply nuanced. Heady aromas of sweet eucalyptus and chocolate rise off Darjeeling Autumnal’s bright amber liquor. Its thick body carries the creamy quality of condensed milk, which rolls heavy like honey on the tongue. The tea also carries a fruity tartness that at first taste may seem similar to a cappuccino, yet, the tartness never becomes acidic. The tea ends with a clean, citrus finish, reminiscent of mandarian oranges. Given the strength of this tea, its lack of astringency and prominent layers of fruit and chocolate are surprising. Drinking Darjeeling Autumnal is a complete experience that can be savored over a lingering cup or trusted to deliver revitalizing strength in the middle of a busy day.
Production: Darjeeling Autumnal is made in the fourth and final window of Darjeeling’s growing season. Harvested in October after the monsoons, the tea leaf carries a strength and depth not found in the Darjeeling First Flush or Second Flush that precedes it. Thanks to Darjeeling’s phenomenal soils, growing conditions, and the elite clonal tea bushes that are used to make this tea, every leaf carries complex layers of aroma and flavor. To fully bring out the leaf’s strength, tea makers at Samabeong Tea Estate give this black a longer oxidization than most other Darjeeling teas, resulting in a juicy, satisfying cup.
Region: Running along Nepal’s eastern border, the mountainous area of Darjeeling is a confluence of varied ecologies and cultures. The region’s sharp ascent from the plains of West Bengal into the towering Himalayas creates the ideal conditions for tea to flourish. As rain clouds heavy with water from the Bay of Bengal collide into the mountains, the tea bushes receive intense bursts of rainfall followed by strong, unfiltered sunlight. These heavy rains are actually what gives the region its name. “Darjeeling” means “Land of the Rolling Thunder” in Tibetan. Recognizing the potential for high elevation specialty teas, Darjeeling tea makers have focused on quality since they began crafting teas there in the 1850s and have built a tea tradition that fetches some of the highest prices in the world. Darjeeling is also a melting pot of South Asian ethnicities, home to Tibetans, Nepali, and Indians. Under colonialism, the mild mountain temperatures made Darjeeling a perfect retreat for British soldiers, which is why the town was originally built. Today, in the shadows of Mt. Everest and Mt. Kanchenjunga, the world’s third highest peak, Darjeeling remains a destination for tea lovers and trekkers alike.
Tea Makers: This tea is created through partnership between a group of independent tea farmers named Subarna and a well established certified organic tea farm in Darjeeling. Formally known as the Subarna Small Tea Farmer Welfare Society, Subarna came about in the 1990’s when a group of remote Darjeeling farmers, with small-scale operations based in remote corners of the region, decided that their traditional crops of ginger, cardamom, and corn were no longer able to support the community. Transitioning into tea production requires expertise and resources the farmers didn’t have, so in 1997, they partnered with an organic tea producing company based in India for economic and technical assistance.
Impact:The partnership between Subarna Small Farmers and the organic tea company is a rare Darjeeling example of independent farmers and established producers working together. This forward-thinking model of tea cultivation and production is an important step towards a more equitable future for Darjeeling. From intercropping to vocational training workshops, to infrastructure development, this partnership is changing the norms of India’s most prized tea region.
Packaging: Our teas come in resealable standup pouches with strong moisture and oxygen barriers. All our pouches are made with at least 20% post-consumer recycled milk jugs and water bottles. They are infinitely reusable although not recyclable. They are essentially high-end resealable bags. After you have finished your tea, wash and reuse them to store your car snacks, carry your favorite trail-mix on a hike, or even store odds and ends such as art and craft supplies, batteries and toiletries.