Jungpana: An Exceptional Garden & Unique Lot
Jungpana remains one of Darjeeling’s most prized tea gardens. For a long time, it was one of the most difficult to access. Before the road was built last year, visitors had to climb 800 steps to the factory, the only way in to this isolated garden. To send the newly harvested leaves from the fields to the factory below, ropeways are still used to carry the loaded bags down the slopes. In Darjeeling, Jungpana hardly needs an introduction. The garden has been consistently present in our lists for over a decade and its teas loved by amateurs all over the World. However, this year we have a different kind of lot to present. Something a little special.
At the very early stages of the First flush season, before the whole garden is pushing fresh leaves, some sections give small amounts of material that can be harvested.
As they are processed through the factory, these very early leaves end up in small heaps in the sorting room. They are called “Ghannis” and are some of the finest, most aromatic leaves of the entire year. But at just a few kilos each, they don’t amount to the quantities an average client would buy. So these micro lots are very carefully blended together to make up the first, very prestigious invoices of the season.
As Kevin passes from garden to garden each spring to buy for our catalogue, he always samples the previous day’s manufacture and a selection of these fresh ghanni. This gives him the opportunity to taste these special ‘moments’ separately, before they are blended. Once in a while, a special ghanni really captures his attention. Decision has to be made quickly for the lot to be grabbed and kept in its pure form.
The EX 6 ghanni we are presenting this year is one of these rare teas: a tiny 6kg batch, pure AV2 clonal plants, perfectly showcasing the flavour from the Mahalderam section of Jungpana. This upper section of Jungpana (known as Mahalderam) used to be a separate tea garden and was actually planted before Jungpana. While unique in profile, Mahalderam still bears the clear signature of Jungpana.
Made from such young and precious shoots,the EX 6 ghanni is extremely aromatic. Nose of bitter citrus and muscatel, hazelnut and sourdough, it explodes with scents. In the mouth it is expansive and full. Soft, sweet, warm… like brioche bread with very complex flavours. Almost everything’s in there: woody and fruity aromas alongside spicy tones and floral nuances. The ultimate young plant Darjeeling experience. And a leaf that good easily lasts a full tea session.
For our hard-core Darjeeling clients, here’s a quick profile of the Mahalderam section of Jungpana Tea Garden.
- Valley: Kurseong South
- Average elevation: 1200-1800m
- Year of establishment: 1860 to 1864
- Annual Production Quantity: 30 000 kilograms
- Number of Employees: 151
- Certified Organic
- 68 hectares cultivated tea fields. China hybrid and clonal cultivars.
- The garden is mainly southeast facing.
- In Nepali language, Jungpana means the “Fountain Head” or “Source of Mahaldi”, a name given to the ridge near Kurseong because that river rises below it.
This is some of the very best tea that First Flush Darjeeling has to offer. Enjoy!
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