Monday, December 7, 2015

Glenburn's Autumn Crescendo - The Embodiment Of A Fall Tea

It's fall here in Colorado, with the official start of winter just around the corner. The "winter" and "fall" harvests just wrapped up in many of the tea growing regions, such as Taiwan for Winter Oolongs and Darjeeling for the Autumn Encore teas. I already talked about this year's Long Feng Xia from the winter harvest that just came in - delicious, refined, clean. The opposite could be said for the fall teas from Darjeeling, including Glenburn Estate's Autumn Crescendo. I've brought this tea into the cafe going on three harvests now, and each time I am reminded why I love this tea. It is, if one understands the land, the environment, and what is happening to the tea plants, the embodiment of fall. Smoother and sweeter than the Second Flush teas, the Autumn harvest exhibits to me the perfect notes of what I would expect from a fall tea. As the nights cool and the sun dips lower on the horizon, the plants begin to pull back their life force into the main branches and roots, leaving behind the glucose and starch in the leaves. Plucking the leaves now, when the glucose, starches, carotenoids, and anthocyanins are more prevalent, while the polyphenols, chlorophyll, and amino acids are reduced results in a slightly sweeter, smoother, more mellow and robust tea, especially when the leaves are allowed to oxidize to around 50%(?) or so.
The Glenburn Estate gardens tumbling down the side of the mountain.

The Glenburn Estate is located on the northern edge of the Darjeeling Hills, backed up against the mighty Himalayas, which rise in the background. The cool air comes down from the Himalayas, pulling cold, moist air from the glaciers and blanketing the tea gardens in the fall.

Looking south at Glenburn, with the town of Darjeeling to the west, and the low, hot plains off in the horizon. The hot air on the plains holds back the colder air from the Himalayas, creating the micro-climate that results in the Darjeeling Hills ability to grow such amazing teas.

As Sanjay Sharma, Glenburn's Manager noted, "only in Autumn did I find those delicate floral notes with very mellow cups and basically fruity undertones - not like fresh fruit but moistened dried apricots, maybe raisins - and, in the dry leaf, hints of chocolate" (Koehler 2015, p. 181). These are the notes found in the Autumn Crescendo and that one would expect from a quality fall tea processed in such a way as to pull out the flavor profile that are being exhibited in the leaves by the plant during this time. Along with the Moonshine First Flush from Glenburn, the Autumn Crescendo might be my other favorite from the Estate.

No real whole leaves as one finds in the other flushes, most likely from the more fragile nature of the fall leaves.
As for my readings, which are starting to provide some interesting baseline data from which I can begin to pose questions and hypothesis from, I got the following numbers:

TDS - 82ppm
PH - 7.41
Temp - 165

Brewed Tea
TDS - 373ppm
PH - 5.61
Temp - 158

TDS - 291ppm
PH - 1.8

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